Local athletes star at world games in Belgium

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Local athletes star at world games in Belgium thumbnailTrevor McGlynn in action on the track.

Local athletes Mark McBrearty and Trevor McGlynn both put in fantastic performances at the recent World Championships for Double Decathlon in Belgium to each finish in the world's top ten.

Newtownstewart man Mark placed tenth in the senior category, while Strabane athlete Trevor finished sixth in the over-35 class. Overall, along with Geraldine Finnegan from Newry, the Ireland team finished sixth overall.

"The two of us are ecstatic," said 30 year-old Mark. "Personally to his finish as tenth in the world is a great achievement", and he also made history by becoming the first Irish man to finish a double decathlon at senior level.

"In doing it, I've also set a new Irish record, so that's something that will always be there as being the first."

Trevor made it a second sterling display inside a calender year after winning gold in the European games in September 2016. For Mark though it was his first time at a multi-event games.

Normally an 800m runner, he took 18 months out of athletics to care for his mother, Philomena, who had motor neurone disease. Philomena sadly passed away in July 2016, and Mark was convinced to return to the sport by Trevor and his wife, Ann-Marie. After Trevor's European success in September, he wanted to challenge himself in the world competition, and together the pair began training at the start of the year for the Belgium games.

"I said it would be a great experience, and Trevor said he would train me up in the field events, so I only really started training around January and February."

The duo's training was rigorous - six days a week, twice a day - and Trevor had Mark well coached to take on the field disciplines of a daunting double decathlon.

"I would have found it difficult with the likes of pole vault and javelin, so it was about trying to get your head around the technical aspect of it," said Mark. "Trevor is a really good coach and had me well prepared. I wouldn't have been able to do this without his knowledge.

"In the track events I was a lot stronger naturally, so that's were I made my mark. Other senior athletes were asking me of advice as running is my speciality. The hurdles events I found I took to very well."

The challenge was especially gruelling, with 20 events taking place over two days of stiff competition in Turnhout, Belgium. There was only around a half an hour break between each event, and Mark believes he wouldn't have finished the competition were it not for the help of Cookstown chiropractor Andrea McCormack. She travelled out to Belgium with the team along with Trevor's wife Ann-Marie, who herself is well-known in the running circuit, and they aided in the athletes' recovery and preparation.

"We had to run tactical races as we were competing in 35 degree heat. It was difficult for everyone, not just Trevor and myself. Ann Marie kept us right on the technical aspect of the events, so we had a really good team behind us. If it wasn't for the two girls, there is no way we would have finished."

Mark's motivation for the event remained his late mother and the motor neurone disease cause.

"Really I wanted to push myself to my limits. I had the motor neurone charity vest on in the last race, the 10,000m.

"From caring for my mum, I knew how much they had hurt, so that was a great motivation for me. Coming across the line with the jersey on and the crowd cheering was emotional.

"To get the motor neurone name on the scene was another ambition for me. Mum always believed in my athletic ability, so wearing the vest and representing the charity in a worldwide event was special."


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete