Category: Archive

Track twins

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

It’s a pretty full calendar, and it doesn’t stop at January. Given that the final week of the month crosses over into February it also lists events for the first three days of the year’s second month.
The Feb. 2 listing for “Winter Track” is, to say the least, a bit of a standout.
It states that track athletes will be on call from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., not in the school gym or, as is the case in some high schools, in the corridors.
No, the winter runners are required to turn up at the world’s most famous indoor sports arena, Madison Square Garden.
Chaminade is taking a night out for the Millrose Games and two of the school’s star middle distance runners, twins Charlie and Stephen Donnelly, are leading the charge from Mineola to Manhattan.
The Donnellys have been running track for years and have reached a point where college considerations weigh heavily on what track program is on offer.
But before all of this comes a night on the boards made famous by Irish middle distance legends such as Eamonn Coghlan and Marcus O’Sullivan.
Coghlan, as it turns out, will be on hand for Charlie and Stephen’s big night.
Many other stars of yesteryear are also expected at Garden as the Millrose marks its own landmark — its 100th anniversary meet.
The Donnellys will be running for their high school in a 4 x 800 meter relay.
Looking on from the sidelines will be proud parents Derek, a Dublin native, and Mary, who is from County Clare. Family members, including grandmother Barbara, will be flying in from Ireland for the race.
The Donnelly twins turned 17 just a few days ago, though Charlie is two minutes older than Stephen. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he will run ahead of his brother in the relay team order.
“We won’t know what order we will run in until the night itself,” Charlie told the Echo.
While the twins are running the same distance at the Millrose, they do have their respective strengths.
While he is two minutes younger than his brother, Stephen, with a best time of one minute, fifty eight seconds for the 800 meter distance is currently a second faster than his brother’s best.
“Stephen tends to run more 800 meter races while I am more of a miler or two miler,” Charlie explained.
The young Donnellys will be making the journey in from Long Island by train. In addition to the twins, the school team is being rounded out by the two other relay runners and a fifth runner who will be competing in the evening’s high school mile.
Will the brothers be nervous in front of what is expected to be a big 100th anniversary Millrose crowd?
“Yes,” said Charlie, “but not so nervous than we would be running just ourselves. It’s a little easier when you’re on a team.”
For Stephen Donnelly, a year is the price of a second.
“Last year I missed out on running in the Millrose Games by just a second so this year I am obviously very excited about getting the chance to run,” the younger twin explained.
He said that he and his brother felt very comfortable running with each other, even in what will be a hard fought race on the world’s best known indoor boards.
“We feel very confident in each other,” he said.
There will be six teams in the high school 4 x 800 and that will mean six runners jostling for the inside lane on each leg.
“They are all in our league and currently we’re the third fastest of the six,” said Stephen of Chaminade’s Friday night rivals.
Charlie and Stephen have only just started to look seriously at college prospects.
With the Millrose Games under their spikes, it’s a sure thing that some colleges will now be taking their own serious looks at this most singular of track duos.

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