"I am thinking, can I break that record? Can I make that jump up in performance? There’s no reason that I can’t."
By Ian O'Riordan, The Irish Times
It’s Dream Mile night, Oslo, Norway, and at the bell Ray Flynn is right on the heels of John Walker and Steve Scott, all three running somewhere around world record pace.
Down the backstretch, the Bislett Stadium heaving, Scott moves in front, and with that Flynn gives chase in second, all three still flying. The time they have to beat is Seb Coe’s 3:47.33, set the year before, and it’s close.
Into the homestretch and Scott now has a 5 meter lead, which the American extends to the line in 3:47.69, just missing the world record, still the second fastest Mile in history. Walker comes back to take second in 3:49.08, Flynn two strides back in 3:49.77 – all three setting national Mile records.
The year is 1982, and the fact two of those records still stand 38 years later – this past Tuesday, to be exact – is both a measure and reminder of their greatness: Scott eventually lost his American record to Alan Webb, who ran 3:46.91 in 2007, Flynn’s 3:49.77, the first sub-3:50 by an Irish athlete, is still the Irish Mile record; Walker’s 3:49.08 also still unbeaten in New Zealand.
Better still for Flynn, he was clocked at 3:33.5 at 1500 meters, in the same race, which also still stands as the Irish record at that distance, the then 25-year-old from Longford hardly once imagining those times would hold up for so long.
“One of the main reasons I ran so fast was from racing so much at that level,” Flynn later recalled in this newspaper. Between 1981 and 1983, he ran 44 sub-4 minute Mile races. “That’s what it’s all about. The more races you get at that level the faster you start believing you can go. And I always thought secretly that I was going to break 3:50 that day.”
In the 38 years since, several generations of Irish athletes have presented themselves as record contenders, Ciarán Ó Lionáird’s 3:34.46 (a 3:51.5 Mile, in old money), run in 2011, the closest of the last decade.
Now into that line steps Andrew Coscoran, just turned 24, and who believes he has time and determination on his side.
“Definitely not,” says Coscoran when asked if that 3:33.5, and 3:49.77, set long before he was born, remain dream-like times. “Of course, looking back at the times Eamonn Coghlan, Ray Flynn, ran back in the day, they are unbelievable.
“I don’t know if our training is better, we probably do a lot of the same training, but our technology, our track surfaces, our recovery methods, we have the capability of running that fast. At the moment we’re not, but it’s something that we’re definitely targeting.”
Coscoran emphasises the “we” and has previously credited his 2020 breakthrough to the group-training philosophy of the Dublin Track Club (DTC), set up by his coach Feidhlim Kelly.
Continue reading at: irishtimes.com