RIO WAS MEANT to go so much better.
Dubliner Mick Clohisey was in the form of his life, having already hit the qualification standard for the Olympic Games in Berlin, he raced into a top-10 spot in Seville.
However, as the Olympics approached, the warning signs were there — a sluggish half-marathon in the Netherlands in July — that he wasn’t quite physically and mentally right.
Then he travelled to a holding camp ahead of Rio and picked up a virus before, in the days leading up to the marathon, a blister on his foot meant his training was limited.
The result, a time of 2:26.34 and a 103rd place finish; one of the toughest marathons of his career.
However, that hasn’t put him off the event. Far from it, he already has Tokyo 2020 in mind.
“Obviously, Rio didn’t go to plan last year with sickness,” Clohisey told The42 this week.
“But I definitely feel with the marathon that, if you stay injury free, you can still run it well into your late 30s. The nature of the event is that you build up your endurance.
“And I’d love to have a crack at another Olympics and make amends for what happened last time.
“It’s just nice to have targets and 2018 means the Europeans in Berlin in August, so that will be my main focus for the next while.”
If 2016 was the year that got away from the 31-year-old, he ensured 2017 would go some way towards making up for it with a 22nd place finish at the World Championship in August.
“It definitely felt like a redemption run,” he says.
“It gave me confidence again that the marathon is for me.
“I was actually quite cautious a lot of the way through that race because I ran the London marathon in April and I felt a bit sick again and it totally knocked me. That race [London in April] was probably an even worse finish than Rio, I was just in bits in the end.
“So, at the Worlds, it was nice just to get that feeling of returning to form. Looking back, I probably could have done even more in the race, but the main thing was to come out of it feeling positive. It was nice to finish strong.
“The support there was unbelievable too. There were loads of Irish people there and so a lot of my family as my sister lives in London. The buzz was brilliant.”
The plan for 2018 is simple enough.
Apart from the Europeans, Clohisey will be taking part in the newly-formed Kia Race Series, giving himself the chance to race against Ireland’s other elite distance runners, something he says doesn’t happen often enough.
First though, there’s a Seville marathon early in the year that means a slightly different Christmas. But will he feel like he’s missing out on all the trimmings?
“I think that’s something that really only concerns you when you’re in your mid-20s and I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing anything now.
“I’ve the Seville marathon in February so that means I’ll be training right through Christmas this year. I don’t actually mind though because I’ve been injured this year and I’m only getting back into it now.
“I generally go down to Athenry on St. Stephen’s Day as there’s a 10k there. It’s a local road race, kind of a low-key event but I’ve gone down the last five or six years and my dad runs as well.
“It’s actually something I really look forward to as there’s an awful lot of hanging around over Christmas so it’s good to get out and stretch the legs and keep yourself ticking over.
“It’s also great to just get out and clear the head. That’s the beauty of running. There are a few lads I can meet for runs and it’s brilliant because it’s just the same as meeting someone for a coffee or a pint, you just throw on the runners and catch-up.”
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