Ballymun Athletics Club Launches with Community Spirit and Ambition

November 15, 2023

Dublin’s newest athletics club was officially launched last week with the arrival of the club’s smart new training tops and vests.

Ballymun Athletics Club, based in the Trinity Comprehensive School, sees three running groups in the area coming together.

“We had a juvenile club, an Up the Flats running group going back to 2016 and Ger Prendergast’s training group all going strong and in 2022 we all came together informally. Now we’re officially registered with Athletics Ireland, ” says Dean Hayden, the club PRO.

Sponsoring the club’s official outfits is local firm Duff Cycles, with Calvin Alexander representing the 110-year old company at the club’s launch.

Registration fee for the club is kept low for senior members, with children paying nothing. “We charge every adult €35 which covers their Athletics Ireland registration fee as well as the fee of one child, ” says Hayden.

Already the club has a membership of 154 with 49 of them juveniles and on Sunday last, around fifty members of all ages turned out the annual Clonliffe 2-Mile road race in nearby Glasnevin. The club can call on six experienced coaches. As well as Ger Prendergast, who looks after strength and conditioning, and Hayden, there’s Kenneth Coakley, Jonathan Piggott, Eamon Carthy and Kevin Kelly, who are all also members of the club committee. Club chairperson is Aisling Coakley while other committee members are Emma Kinsella, Miriam Lematy, Des O’Neill and Jason Thompson.

“We’re also really lucky to able to call on Tommy Griffin from our neighbouring club Clonliffe Harriers, who is physio and happy to pass on his knowledge and experience,” says Hayden.

Oldest member of the club is 72-year old Colette Shannon who began running at the Poppintree Parkrun in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. “I love it for the fitness, but also for the social aspect,” she says.

Weekday training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings takes place at Trinity Comprehensive. “We train on the 500m marked loop around the school grounds – used by the school for the Daily Mile – which is perfect for tempo and interval work. Plus the school yard is sheltered enough for warming up and cooling down,” says coach Kenneth ‘Coco’ Coakley. Longer runs take place on the roads. “We’d go out as far as IKEA and back.”

Use of the school grounds costs the club a token fee of €1 a year.

In a busy few weeks for the fledgling club, thirty members will run in Sunday’s Irish Life Dublin Marathon, while on the following Sunday (November 5) , juvenile teams will compete in the Dublin uneven ages cross-country championships at Santry.

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