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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Irish star ends extended break from athletics following disastrous injury run

Ciarán Ó Lionáird is taking a different approach to running these days.

HIS PRIORITIES MAY have changed but the fact Ciarán Ó Lionáird is competing again is surely a victory for the Corkonian.

The 28-year-old felt he had reached a cul-de-sac last year after his ongoing Achilles issues shelved his dreams of competing at the Rio Olympics.

Harbouring hopes of making the start line in Brazil, and putting to bed the disappointment of London 2012, Ó Lionáird’s dreams were shattered once again by injury.

Despite undergoing two extensive surgeries on his troublesome left heel, and running just over five seconds outside the Olympic qualifying time early in 2016, Ó Lionáird’s devilish Achilles problems reared their head once more to end his chances of qualification.

That led Ó Lionáird, who has been Stateside for 10 years, to put his running career on the long finger in July last year as he reassessed his options. It was an extended break, not quite a declaration of retirement.

These days Ó Lionáird is working full-time for Nike in Oregon, with a bit of running on the side.

And the 2013 European 3,000m indoor bronze medallist returned to the track last weekend in the men’s mile at the 2017 UW (University of Washington) Indoor Preview in Seattle.

While his time of 4.14 was more than 20 seconds outside his personal best, Ó Lionáird admitted afterwards that it was just nice to be competing again.

“The time on paper for the mile was probably not what you would look at and think ‘that was a really good race’.

“But for me I think coming where I’ve come from, working full-time now, stepping back into training in December, it’s just been a short build-up.

“I’m healthy and this was kind of my first time running at that pace. I definitely wasn’t used to it so I think it’s a start.”

Source: FloTrack/YouTube

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