Marcus Lawlor out to defend sprint titles at Irish schools’ championships

Schoolboy cites Usain Bolt among his inspirations

Marcus Lawlor (National Junior Record Holder at 100m & Leinster Schools Champion)

Marcus Lawlor (National Junior Record Holder at 100m & Leinster Schools Champion)


It’s no surprise that Marcus Lawlor cites Usain Bolt among his inspirations, and as Ireland’s fastest schoolboy, Lawlor is already rewriting some sprint records of his own – the 10.38 seconds he ran in the 100 metres earlier this month breaking, at last, the national junior record which had stood for 30 years.

It’s no surprise either that Lawlor cites his mother as the source of his talent: Patricia Amond was herself once Ireland’s fastest schoolgirl, and also won an Irish senior title in the 100 metres, back in 1981. Indeed her sister, Mary Amond, was also Irish sprint champion, so there’s clearly a genetic factor in there somewhere.

Same schedule
What is surprising is that Lawlor trains almost exclusively off the same schedule his mother did, over 30 years ago, which means he’s never been to the gym in the life, and wouldn’t know what a bar bell was if it hit him over the head. “Not many people believe me when I tell them that,” he says, “and I would only train four times a week, max.”

For Lawlor, this week is all about easing down for the Aviva Irish Schools’ Championships in Tullamore, on Saturday, where barring any false starts, he will defend both the senior 100m and 200m – while also hoping to anchor his school, Carlow CBS, to the sprint relay title. After that there is the Leaving Cert.

“Yeah, and I’m dreading chemistry,” he says. “I’m dreading them all, really. I’ve had to cut back on training the last few weeks, focus more on studying. But all the hard work was done early on in the season, anyway.”

That hard work has already paid off: in defending both Leinster Schools’ sprint titles, last Saturday week, Lawlor clocked his 10.38 seconds – bettering the national junior record of 10.61 (which has stood to Derek O’Connor since 1983), and moving Lawlor to number six on the all-time Irish list.

At 18, he’s closing in fast on Paul Hession’s senior record of 10.18, set in 2007, not that his aspirations end there.

Break 10 seconds
“Well I’d run 10.48 last summer, wind-assisted, and I suppose some people overlooked that, and were shocked when I ran 10.38 (His legal best, before that, was 10.72.) Of course, some day, I would love to break 10 seconds. It’s not something I really think about. But there’s no reason why not. Although right now I probably prefer the 200m a little more.”

While his father Tom Lawlor boasts a modest Gaelic football background, and plays an equally supportive role, his mother takes care of all of the business on the track.

Lawlor doesn’t even have a proper track to train on, in Carlow, all of which suggests Ireland’s fastest schoolboy is still only coming out of the starting blocks.