Last Saturday in Dublin was a very special day for several members of the club. Firstly, a large number of our highly talented young men were invited to the National Youth and Junior Endurance Squad in DCU. And secondly, we had the privilege of meeting 2 iconic figures in the sport – Brother Colm O’Connell and superstar athlete, Olympic 800m champion and World Record holder David Rudisha. Rudisha not only holds the world record but has run the 3 fastest 800m times ever and 6 of the fastest 8 and 10 of the fastest 20.
Anyone who was watching the Olympic final will know that next to Bolt, this man was the big star of the Olympics. Frank Greally, editor of the Irish Runner magazine, when introducing Brother Colm and Rudisha to the squad last Saturday noted that it is highly unusual for a world record to be broken in a distance race at the Olympics. The last time it happened was back in the 1970’s. Normally when these records are broken, the athletes have the benefit of 1 or 2 pacers in the race who set the target pace from the gun and drop out when they have their part done.
Brother Colm then made a highly inspirational speech to the spellbound audience for 15 or so minutes, telling how he had coached Rudisha from the age of 14 upwards and how David had suffered disappointments on the way, including missing out on selection to the World Youth Championships. He spoke of how David’s major strength was his focus on being the best. He described how when young, athletes have a passion for running and run with their heart. But as they get older, this has to travel from their heart to their head and that this is the hardest distance of them all – from the heart to the head.
Brother Colm coaches about 40 athletes from age 14 upwards and coaches only 2 or 3 elite seniors including David. Over his 36 years in Kenya, he has coached 5 Olympic gold medallists and 25 world champions. He must surely be the best coach to ever have graced the sport. We were privileged to have the opportunity to meet both men and a big thanks to Teresa McDaid, head coach and coordinator of the National Endurance Squad for organising it.
Check out the link below if you want to hear Brother Colm's speech:-