IF THERE is such a thing at the moment in sport, Arlene Crossan might well be entitled to regard herself as among the lucky ones.
The 20-year-old Finn Valley AC athlete has been absent from track since the Covid-19 lockdown in March, but her aims and goals haven’t altered.
Crossan, since returning from a spell in America, has been targeting the 2021 European Under-23 Championships, due to be held in Bergen, Norway, in 14 months’ time.
“I haven’t lost much competition,” Crossan says.
“My plan when I came back from America was the Under-23s next year. I was kind of just working towards those anyway.
“My competitions this year weren’t a big deal as they might be for other athletes. They were to see where I was at and to see if my training was improving me.”
Crossan has worn the Irish vest on multiple occasions across the 400m, 400m hurdles and the long jump.
Having competed at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival. the 2016 European Youth championships and the 2017 European Junior Championships, she’s already well versed on the international stage.
As the 2017 summer became autumn, Crossan made her biggest jump yet. After completing her Leaving Certificate at Loreto Secondary School, Crossan took up a scholarship at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.
Crossan enjoyed her year in the Lone Star State, but she returned home after a year.
“It didn’t work for me,” she says, “and hat’s why I’m back. I wasn’t home sick and I loved being away. That part didn’t bother me. I was in contact all the time with my family and friends.
“America was a really good experience. It works for some people and it doesn’t for others. It just didn’t for me.
“It was different training and a different lifestyle. The food was different and the gym sessions were very heavy.
“I’d have had heavy track sessions on the same day and that just didn’t work for my body.
“I couldn’t understand why, when my training was going good, I wasn’t running fast. I felt like I could run ten races, but I’d only have one good one instead of having consistency.
“I came back and we’re working together aiming for those under-23s.”
Crossan is coached by Shauna Carlin at Finn Valley AC and kept herself busy during the track shutdown by doing home gym sessions and following a programme set out by her coach.
She says: “I have the hill at Lurgybrack and the back roads near the house. I have a few grass areas in my surroundings too. It has been two months since I’ve been on the track and I can’t wait to get back on again.”
It is nearing three years since Crossan’s spikes were last laced for a competitive outing in Ireland.
Athletics, like other sports, is unsure as to its ability to resume competition, what guise those competitions can return or indeed when. Provisionally, there are hopes of Championships in mid-September and Crossan is keen to gauge her form as her build-up to Norway gathers pace.
She says: “I wanted to come back to Ireland and make a big impact. I didn’t just want to come in and people would be like: ‘Oh, she’s back’. I wanted to come back strong, come out in a race and have people looking at the time. I put pressure on myself a lot like that.”