Michelle Finn, Irelands national cross-country champion has sights set on Paris 2024

Michelle Finn, Irelands national cross-country champion has sights set on Paris 2024

MICHELLE FINN, the recent Irish national cross-country champion has said that due to the Covid style change to the running calendar, a third Olympic Games is something that she is currently deliberating. 

Finn will be running in Sunday’s women’s race at the Spar European Cross-Country Championships in Fingal. She mentioned her good run of form could carry into the next games.

She recently ran in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2016 Rio Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and with the ongoing pandemic it's changed her mindset.

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: Belen Casetta of Team Argentina and Michelle Finn of Team Ireland (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

She also set a lifetime best 3,000m steeplechase at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland in June. Her previous best was to finish in 9:29.25. Róisín McGettigan’s long-standing Irish record of 9:28.29 set back in 2007 in the Netherlands is still the record.

The Leevale AC runner is 32 next week and had planned to bow out after the Tokyo Games last summer and while Paris 2024 is a bit away, she isn't looking at it yet

"I think I’m more thinking about this year, Worlds and Europeans on the track, going one year at a time," she said.

"Before Tokyo, in 2019, I was thinking I’d make Tokyo and then I’m absolutely retiring. Then it turned out to be 2021, I’m actually getting faster, so I’m not retiring.

It’s three years to Paris and I don’t see myself retiring before that but I’m definitely more focused on the summer coming, rather than 2024."

Finn finished ninth place in her heat in a time of 9:36.26 in Tokyo and revealed that she required treatment for a kidney infection in the days after that run.

"I got a kidney infection, ended up taking an antibiotic, but I wasn’t thinking that on the line, it was just how quickly it progressed after.

"Even warming up with Feidhlim [Kelly, her coach], I knew I had half an infection on the day, even though I didn’t feel sick."

Dublin , Ireland - 26 June 2021; Michelle Finn of Leevale AC, Cork,  (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The 32-year-old has cemented her spot on the Irish team for the European cross-country event at Abbottstown after performing well at Nationals at Santry Demesne last month and Sunday should put her in good stead for a similar result

Finn has 12 seconds to spare at the finish.

"I’ll have to talk to Feidhlim and look through the entries and see what I can do, but hopefully we’ll get a good team result. The highest I ever finished was 23rd so I’d like to finish higher than that anyway, definitely."

"People will definitely come up and watch, I’ve lots of friends coming up and I’d say there’ll be good support, the National Cross had loads of support. There’s always loads of good Irish support even when it’s not on in Ireland so I imagine it’ll be really good when it is in Ireland."

She’s  also hoping for a strong home performance this weekend and more from big events

"I think maybe one of the reasons I was so consistent is that I wasn’t performing at my very best.

"Like I’ve made so many different championships, and I’m always disappointed. I feel it’s easy to be consistent when you’re running 80% of your ability, or something like that. I kind of feel I was making these championships, but not really doing anything good.

"I’m not injury prone, and feel I’ve a good idea when to push hard, when to ease back, not tip over the line. That’s one of my better strengths as a runner, just staying in one piece, which is one of the main things in staying consistent.

"But I also think in order to get better I do need to push on a bit, and hopefully I can do that this year."

This is Finn’s first chance to make amends and she is delighted to have the opportunity after what's gone in the pandemic

"I think I had made five European cross-country teams in a row and missed out in 2019 and I think I was fitter in 2019 than any of the previous five years so I knew what it felt like to miss out on a Euro Cross team and to be that disappointed so I was like, nothing I do on this day is going to make me more disappointed," she said of her mindset for the Nationals.

"Obviously, I want to really run European cross-country but I wanted to run well and I was like, I’m going to take a risk because if I die and miss out again, I’ve been there before. I was confident I was fit enough. It made me prepared to take the risk."