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'I was using the race as a distraction from Jerry’s passing. On the Saturday morning, it got to me'

Loss of his father-figure and coach Kiernan hit hard but he will funnel all his energy into European Indoors

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John Travers of Donore Harriers competing in the Men's 1,500m during day two of the Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. (Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)

John Travers of Donore Harriers competing in the Men's 1,500m during day two of the Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. (Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)

John Travers of Donore Harriers competing in the Men's 1,500m during day two of the Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. (Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile)

It’s the simple things that catch him: the phone call that doesn’t come, the pre-race pep talk he no longer hears – the absence of a coach, a friend, he will forever miss.

Pushing through the various stages of grief is a 12-round bout against a flurry of firsts, never quite sure which new experience of a life recalibrated is the one that’ll leave you flattened. For John Travers, the first race following the death of Jerry Kiernan was always going to be the toughest.


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