By Brendan O’Brien
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
If anyone is accustomed to overcoming obstacles it is Ireland’s sprint hurdler Derval O’Rourke but there are times when something as basic as finding a track on which to train can be problematic for the Cork athlete and her fellow Olympic hopefuls.
O’Rourke was faced with just such a situation last weekend when she attempted to work off the jetlag from a holiday in the USA and Caribbean with a workout at the ALSAA complex near Dublin Airport.
The problem is that ALSAA is a private complex and a member of staff was quick to inform her of that fact
"Initially, he said I just couldn’t run at all and then I tried to persuade him that I’m into the running. I tried to tell him about the Olympics but he told me he didn’t care. In the end, he brought his manager out and he told me as well that I wasn’t a member. But there was only one other person on the whole track — jogging. Then I had to pay a tenner. I’d my spikes on and, because I didn’t want to go inside and walk on the concrete, I said ‘okay, I’ll pay the tenner, I’m just going to do my session’.’’
Two days later and she was able to see the funny side of it but the scene was not unique.
"People don’t realise it probably happens us all about six times a year. (Paul) Hession’s been kicked off tracks. You’ll stumble upon a track and they’ll try to kick you off it but generally I only go kicking and screaming. I think in Ireland it’s probably an insurance thing but I just wish there was a situation that every track was a public park where everyone could run there all the time. In France and Spain we just go to a public track and run."
O’Rourke may yet compete at the European Championships in Helsinki in June, having initially decided to give it a miss prior to the London Games.
Updated on May 23, 2013, 2:46pm