Sport must adapt quickly if it is to thrive in this new era

Mike Carmody


Mike Carmody


Sport must adapt quickly if it is to thrive in this new era

Paul Costelloe, of Emerald AC, Limerick, right, competing in the 100m at the Summer Games Athletics Meet at Moyne AC in Tipperary last weekend

AS we all begin to tentatively emerge from the lockdown, we, in the running community, face into possibly the biggest set of challenges that we have ever faced.

Some of these are unique and nuanced, others are general and are shared with other sections of society. As an athlete, and a running and S&C coach, I can see first-hand the difficulties that lie ahead.

Above all, it is imperative to continually remember that the virus has not gone away. As we get back on our feet, each of us shares a collective responsibility to abide by all requisite medical guidance for the benefit of all of our fellow members of society.

Throughout the 15 weeks in which my business had to be suspended, I established two specific WhatsApp groups, which between them had almost 200 members. The first was a run/circuit/turbo group for “well-seasoned” runners and fitness enthusiasts of all levels.

The second group revolved around an 11 week Couch to 5k programme, with the participants tackling their 5k this week. While the former had a relatively normal feel about it (apart from having to give video demos in the rain), the dynamic of the latter presented a number of interesting challenges.

Chief of which lay with having to pitch a specific programme, without being able to gauge how it was taking shape in person.

Like every business, I now have to adapt and diversify in order to counter the challenges which the new environment presents. Many of the services which I would have offered in March cannot be offered at the present time.

Some of these are unlikely to return but such is life. I am fortunate that as a sole trader and a very small-scale enterprise within a particular type of industry, I possess very few overheads.

In the past four weeks I have re-commenced individual plans, one-to-one sessions, S&C classes with medium-sized groups, and run sessions with small groups.

All of these take place in accordance with a detailed pre-prepared Covid plan. S&C classes now take place outdoors, with a maximum of 14 participants, without any equipment, and with all participants remaining within their own designated area for the duration of the session.

In the coming weeks I plan to start a socially distanced run technique session on Thursday evenings. For the time being it’s a case of one week at a time.

When we think back to where we were two months ago, it is amazing to think that track and field meets have already re-commenced, along with other similar events such as cycling time trials.

National track and field championships are due to be held in late August/early September. Cross country events may take place soon after this.

However, it is essential to remember that such events will only cater for a very small minority of athletes. The “new normal” may very well mean that mass participant events will remain a non-runner within the short and medium term.

Like everything else, the sport must adapt quickly if it is to thrive going forward. Brainstorming and group discussion must continue in earnest. We need to be creative and devise new ways of facilitating participation, while strictly adhering to the guidelines and our collective responsibilities.

Perhaps one way forward may be for clubs to pool together and host small-scale inter-club competition for all levels, under the auspices of Athletics Ireland.

*Mike Carmody is a running and S&C coach, and owner of MYP Coaching

Moyne Valley AC Summer Games

THURLES was the focal point of Irish Athletics Saturday afternoon, when hosted by Moyne Valley AC, action tentatively resumed. Dooneen’s Cathal Locke was second in his Senior 400m heat and second overall in a time of 49:07.

An Brú’s Mark Carmody won his 400m heat in 52:.47. Emeralds Paul Costello (Emerald) was also second in his Senior 100m heat and too took Silver overall in 10.83.

Senior Training has resumed for Dooneen A.C and An Brú AC plus Tuesday night for all club members at the UL track. In light of the Corona virus pandemic and contact tracing pre-booking is essential.

In the Grange Fermoy Invitational 4 Mile Niall Shanahan was 10th in 19:50, Declan Guinan (West Limerick) was 28th in 21:04 with Jessica Coyne (Dooneen) 7th woman in 24:52.