And in the second of our Q&A articles James Sullivan has a chin wag with Ireland’s Olympic hopeful David Gillick…
David Gillick is a 400m runner from Dublin, Ireland and is a two time European Indoor Champion over the distance. In 2009 he ran sub 45 seconds for the first time setting an Irish record of 44.77. At the 2009 World Championships in Berlin he qualified for his first global outdoor track final finishing in 6th place. Gillick currently trains in Orlando and is coached by Lance Brauman.
David: No problem James, nothing to hard I hope!
James: We’ll start easy then! How did you first get involved in athletics?
David: I grew up in Ballinteer, with Dundrum athletics club just at the end of my road. My brothers and sister went and my parents sent me off with them to give them peace in the evenings I think! My family are all big into sport, so my parents did their best to get us involved in a number of sports.
James: What has been your career highlight to date?
David: It has to be being ranked 5th in the world at the end of 2009. The ranking takes in all aspect of the season; your times, places and consistency. I had a good season, running under 45 seconds for the first time breaking the Irish National record and also coming 6th in the World Championships in Berlin.
James: You have recently made the move to Orlando to join up with top sprinting coach Lance Brauman after four years based at Loughborough. What were your main reasons behind this decision?
David: I really enjoyed my time in Loughborough with Nick Dakin. He brought me to a place in athletics I dreamed of as a kid and I have a lot of respect for Nick as a coach. But the time came I felt I needed a change. In order to get the best out of myself in the coming years it was time to change a few things. A great opportunity arose to move out to Orlando to Coach Brauman. Coach B has a great record as a coach and the training group is made up of some of the best athletes in the world.
James: How has your training differed from your time at Loughborough?
David: Different coach will always have a different philosophy. It’s similar in some ways and not in others. But I’m enjoying it. I’m getting on with what I’m asked to do. I’m a grafter and like to keep my head down and work hard.
James: What are your goals for the coming year?
David: To improve as an athlete and my overall performance and challenge at the championships.
James: Since your major breakthrough in 2009 when setting a new Irish record of 44.77 you have run sub 45 seconds on a regular basis. How fast do you believe you are capable of running over the next few years? Do you feel the European Record of 44.33 is within your ability?
David: As an athlete you always aim to achieve the highest goal and standard and yes to get the European record would be something to aim for. You have to believe in yourself and your ability if you’re ever going to perform at your best. I have my own goals and times I’d like to achieve and will work hard to ensure I reach them.
James: Like the majority of top Irish athletes past and present you have based yourself abroad. In the future what improvements need to be made to ensure that the next generation of talented athletes have the opportunity to train to a high level at home?
David: That’s a tough question and there’s no simple answer because it is not just one or two things to improve or change, it’s a collection of changes that need to be made which all have a knock on effect. By keeping young talented kids in the sport of athletics, we have to work with coaches and educate them on up to date and modern training techniques. Athletics has become more technical and in order to compete at a high level you need to train at a high level. Make sure there is a clear system to bring talented young athletes through the ranks to eventually progress onto competing on the world stage.
James: Which current sports-person do you admire the most?
David: It has to be the golfer, Graeme McDowell
James: Away from the track what are your biggest interests?
David: While training you tend to lead a fairly boring life of just recovering for the next session but being in Florida has made me want to do more with my down time. The weather is so nice and it’s so easy to do things, from just going to the shops to going for walk or chilling by the pool. I have some business opportunities out here and back home that I’m also working on so that keeps me busy. I have been learning the guitar for a while but I’m no Christy Moore just yet! I’m going to take advantage of the theme parks here at some point too and go meet Mickey Mouse!
James: Well I would hate for this to turn into a Mickey Mouse interview so maybe we better leave it at that! Good luck with the upcoming season.
David: That’s a great plan, thanks for the chat and the good wishes.