Runner Profile:  Aislinn Crossey

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This year, Aislinn Crossey has picked up Ulster School’s 400m and 800m titles and more recently the AAI National 800m title, amongst other accolades.  The up and coming star, coached by Francis ‘Kookie’ O’Hagan has impressed on a regular basis and has been rewarded for her commitment and hard work with a place on the Ireland team for the upcoming European Junior Championships in Italy, after she (Aislinn) ran 2:06.43 for 800m (which fell within the required qualification standard) at the MPT International two weeks ago (Tuesday 25th June 2013).

Aislinn has an incredibly bright future ahead of her, let’s see what the 17 year old lady has to say about her training, racing and future in our latest ‘Runner Profile’.

Full Name:  Aislinn Crossey

Current Category:  Female U-20

Associated Club:  Newry AC

Personal Bests:  400m – 56.07secs, 600m – 1:31.29, 800m – 2:05.50, 1500m (Indoor) – 4:38.81

When did you start running?  I started running at the age of 12, I competed in a schools cross country and it was there that my coach, Francis O’Hagan spotted me.  He asked would I be interested in joining a running club.  It just has progressed from there and we found that the speed on the track suited me much more than cross country.

Why do you run?  I run for the enjoyment of it and the self-achievement that you feel, not only racing but being able to push yourself physically and mentally towards a goal.  Training can provide challenges and requires a lot of hard work and dedication but when you really enjoy doing something it never seems just so bad.  Running also provides friendships and relationships with people who share a common love for the sport.

In the past few months you have impressed a lot of people especially with your European Junior Championship qualifying time at the MPT International; then your gold medal at the AAI National Junior Championships.  What would you put this success down too?  The season so far has been going really well, I have started working with SINI this year and they have provided me with great support and guidance moving forward.  Brendan Murphy also works with me in the gym and does my strength and conditioning programmes, this has increased my overall strength and power which plays a big part in my running.  I have also had solid blocks of training and this is all thanks to my coach Francis.  He dedicates so much time into my training and provides training programmes that may cause a bit of suffering on the track but lead to us getting the results we need.

What is your next race and what do you want from it?  Im not 100% sure what my next race will be, we had another race route planned out before I got selected for the European Junior Championships.  I think I have a 400m race and then get some good training sessions in before heading to Italy.

That brings me onto my next question, the European Junior Championships in Italy this month (July 2013); are you looking forward to it?  Yes, I am delighted to have been selected to go, this is my first international event so I’m really excited and looking forward to it.

What are your hopes and expectations for the event?  My hopes are really to soak up the experience and learn from it.  Travelling along with a team of athletes and coaches will be new to me but I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know new people.  As for competing, I want to go out and run the best that I can.  My coach always says ‘It’s only a bad day on the track if you don’t learn something’.  The experience should help me to learn and grow as an athlete.

Is the 800m your favourite event? Can you see yourself racing over other distances in the future?  Yes, the 800m just seems to suit me, I love the speed, it makes the race interesting and requires me to dig really deep over the last 200m. It’s also a very tactical event, the amount of thought and race planning for something that only lasts for a short period of time is crazy.  I have also run a few 400m races this year and I think they have really helped to develop my 8’s, so I will probably race a few more 4’s in the future.

What is your favourite training ‘session’?  My favourite training session is probably when I get to run fast, at either race pace or faster.  Although these sessions are usually the hardest, when they go well they help me to feel confident in my running.

What is your favourite pre-race and post-race meals?   My favourite pre-race meal is mostly my breakfast in the morning which is usually a bowl of porridge and a yogurt, and before the race I have two jaffa cakes.  Post-race I never really want to eat so I take a recovery shake and then after a while have a full dinner, that might be rice or pasta.

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement in running?  I would say it is probably getting the opportunity to go to the European Juniors, but also any Ulster title that I have won, the Irish medals also mean a lot to me.  It makes all the hard work worth it and PBs are always nice :o)

What is your running ambition?  The aim is to keep getting stronger and working on different areas of training that I can improve on and hopefully continue to gradually lower my 800m time.  Then I will see where it goes from there.

What other sports do you like?  I was an Irish Dancer from the age of 4 so it has always been an interest of mine and I think that it really helped with my running technique.  With other sports that I watch on TV, I always end up paying more attention to how they run than the game or event itself.