Cullen treads carefully ahead of medal hunt

Mary Cullen is planning to skip the indoor season in a bid to win a medal at the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich this summer.

Speaking at the launch of the Aviva Irish Schools Cross Country Championships, Cullen said her main aim will be to stay injury-free for the next few months.

“I just want to stay healthy,” said Cullen who has had a litany of injuries since winning a bronze medal over 3,000m at the European indoors in 2009. “I’m 31 now and I just have to be more sensible. My immediate goal is racing in Armagh [5km] on February 20. I’m going to stay away from indoors this year to focus on Zurich.

“The plan then is to race either The Great Ireland Run [April 6] or maybe the 5k the day before the Boston Marathon. I’ll head to America to train with my coach Ray Treacy and his group, then travel to Stanford and race a track 5k.” Cullen credits her introduction to athletics in school as the stepping stone to a career in running.

“Schools athletics is very important for me personally,” said Cullen, who went to Mercy College, Sligo. “Schools competition was fun because you had more than just ‘runners’ there. Some very talented people had the potential to be recognised and could get into the sport through schools competition. There is also the chance to run at international level and that can open up big opportunities like being offered a scholarship to America which, again for me personally [Providence], was a really positive experience and came about because of my schools performances.”


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