It was great to meet up with everyone at Irishtown Stadium again. Crusaders are going great guns and there’s some very good work going on in that part of the world. Mike McGovern, head coach of the adult runners, tells me that Crusaders are now the second largest club in Dublin, second only (I’m guessing) to DSD. He recalls not so long ago when, in his words, there was only tumbleweed on the track!

Yesterday (Tuesday) there were about 30-40 runners training under Mike and the coaches, looking as if they were doing a baseline time trial of 3000m or so. These didn’t include a number of Crusaders elite track and hill runners but did feature Sharon, mum of juniors Kevin and James, who has only recently taken up running and who has been doing really well.

Happily many of the original junior Cru, recruited in late summer 2008, are still around. All around 10 feet taller than when I last saw them they are testament to the very good work being done by Maria Hetherington and Paul Francis, brother of ex-Irish rugby international Neil. Moira, the fellow coach with whom I worked in those formative days, has struggled with illness recently but was back in harness yesterday and it was good to meet her again.

On Saturday I led a shot session and yesterday evening both discus and shot with Alix, Beth and Rhona. Alix is our star thrower and has medalled at age group level in the All-Irelands. I am fretting somewhat that she is not presently throwing to her considerable potential. However I’m assured that Olympian Phil Conway (and new WR holder for M60 shot) and top coach Dave Sweeney have their beady eyes on her. I have high hopes for Beth, a strong young athlete who yesterday took to throwing like a duck to water.

Elsewhere a group of 15-20 were getting stuck in to various activities – even high jump for the smallies, the weather remaining very kind. The hard winter work will soon start.

So, sad goodbyes once again but what else is there to do?

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