When did you join Sportsworld?
I joined in 2005. My first ever race was the 21st anniversary of the Sportsworld 5 mile classic in 2005 (got a medal and all….ahem, cough, a participation medal). I joined the club and two weeks later Martin Keenan brought me to the BHAA Intel 5 mile where I knocked 3 minutes off my time. I was pretty much hooked then.
Where do you work?
I work for Jacobs, not the biscuit crowd. It’s an American engineering company; I design the plant layouts and piping systems for pharmaceutical plants. Basically I work in the drugs trade.
What is your favourite club session?
Hills and Sprints during the winter. It’s short and sharp and I really feel it puts some much needed zip in my legs.
What is your favorite race distance?
5 miles or 10 miles. They are always the classic distances to me and were all the rage back in 2005! I still gauge my fitness based on those race times. The Rahney 5 mile at the end of January is a solid barometer on the untold damage one does to ones self over Christmas. Ballycotten 10 is a gem of a race to.
What is your favorite meal before a big race?
I usually just have a banana in the car driving to the race. So I suppose that must be my favourite. I’d rather the extra few minutes in bed then get up for a breakfast. I’m one step away from wearing a race singlet to bed these days to get that extra couple of min sleep to be honest. Although before a marathon I’ll get a bowl of cereal but I really don’t like running after eating. Or getting up early at weekends.
My Favourite place to train/compete is?
The Waterworks, I’ve always used the 10 mile loop as my staple for long distance training with the logic that no race is as tough as the waterworks hills. I love running in the Dublin Mountains too, Ticknock & Tibradden mainly just in the summer. And it’s always a great feeling when the club move from the roads back into Bushy Park in Spring.
What is your target for the next year?
I broke 42min and got a PB in the Dunshaughlin 10k this year. So I’d love to break 40min for 10k in 2016…39:59 will do, I’m not greedy. I also want to break 90min for the half marathon next year. Getting the 10k time down will (hopefully) help bring my half marathon time down. I think they are both achievable and realistic goals with a bit more work. I’d also like to beat Crona Brady in a race just once, I’m not sure if that is as realistic. She has won the GDP of a small country off me at this stage making bets on the start line of races.
Oh and out doing Michael Cunningham at next year’s cake sale…actually make that my first goal for next year.
What is your best Sportsworld memory?
Hands down the Lanzarote Running Challenge trip in 2007. I’ve never laughed as much on a week away with that plane load of characters. Got to know some of my best friends in the club on that trip and see Joe Byrne dance.
What international events have you ran?
I’ve been on the club trip to Lanzarote four times now. I was also over to the Edinburgh half and Berlin half marathons on Sportsworld trips although I could only watch in Berlin due to injury. I’ve run the Rome, Barcelona, Munich and Berlin marathons.
I also ran the Calgary, Toronto and Madrid half marathons (FYI Madrid is NOT flat!). I’ve entered and gone to the Liverpool half marathon three times but only managed to run it once…Sunday morning is not a good time for a race in Liverpool.
I once got smoked by a kid from the under 10 age category over the last 400 meters in a 5k race in downtown Toronto. That pitter patter of little feet rapidly approaching to the cheering crowds still gives me nightmares.
What do you like doing when you don’t run?
Chasing people up for race reports for the website. No seriously chasing people up for race reports for the website.
How/When did you start your adventure with running?
I went to Australia in 2001 for a year and lost a good bit of weight and quit smoking. I joined a gym when I came back but wasn’t really into it so started jogging eventually. I liked the idea of being able to go from your door step, do a jog, shower and be done within an hour. Don’t ever ask me to play a round of golf, the thoughts being out there all day!
Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievement?
You might not have heard but I won a race this year. I’m the 2015 BHAA Division D Trinity Track 1200m Champion. I held my nerve for 1000m and smoked the field over the last 200m. I don’t like to talk about it though (commemorative t-shirts printed by Will Greensmyth are still available in the clubhouse).
Biggest achievement was running 3.19 in the Dublin marathon in 2008. I stuck religiously to the clubs 3 month training program and took 20min off my previous marathon PB. I actually broke it by 30 sec this year in Berlin but 2008 was still the standout day. The following Spring in 2009 I took that fitness into the Balycotton 10 and ran 66min for 10 miles which I’m still chuffed with.
How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?
I’ve been very hit and miss over the years with training due to working away. I was also back in college in recent years so running took a back seat. But all things being equal I’ll get out 4-5 times a week when I’m running well and hitting 30 to 40 miles. I never run on Fridays and rarely on Mondays now. I make a point now of trying to get to all three of the clubs training sessions each week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?
The cake sale.
The cake sale
The cake sale.
Also as most say, training with the group and being pushed. As you get fitter and train consistently you can see tangible improvements as your move up through the different groups on training nights. There is also the social side of things being with a club and the Saturday morning well earned post training coffees. Sportsworld is also the best club to be around on race days, there is no craic being had in those other clubs at all!
What made you join a Running Club?
I joined after a year of prompting from Dave Clarke. Like most beginners I thought you needed to be fit enough to run a marathon to join a running club. Whereas once you can jog from one end of the field to another that’s enough, the club will build you into it, that’s why it’s called training I discovered!
What was your first day at the Club like?
I actually genuinely don’t remember, I wish I did. However I do remember in those early days Dave Clarke earnestly introducing me to everyone as the future of Irish Athletics and holding a straight face.
Why is running important to you?
Health, it’s the only sport I like really like doing. It’s a great way to clear the head so it has many benefits on many levels. I never leave the house in the morning without training gear, sure you can run anywhere.
Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club?
I’d like to see even more people out on Saturday morning training. I’m only a recent convert to this due to being too busy or feeling I wasn’t fit enough for the sessions. This year was the first time I consistently went to the Saturday track sessions and did the three clubs sessions a week. I definitely saw the uplift in race times, the Dunshaughlin 10k this summer was my first PB in 6 years. You’ll really only improve by pushing yourself, trust me I’m 10 years running around Bushy Park like a baby elephant.
Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?
Emily without a doubt. Rain, hail or shine she is there every day coaching us. I was going to turn around and go home one night driving to training in torrential rain till I thought ‘sure if Emily is making the effort so should I’. And sure enough she took in the session in the pouring rain with only a handful of us. Myles too has been a great help for advice, particular for the marathons.
The top runners at the club over the years I’ve been there have always had great humility such as Phil, Aoife, Crona, Eanna, Paul, Lucy to name just a very few. Thats not a phrase one would use to describe me after I won that BHAA Division D Trinity Track 1200m this summer, I was ringing the RTE sports department that night. Did I mention commemorative t-shirts still available in the clubhouse?
Also Joe Byrne and Martin Keenan, who while you don’t see down the club to much anymore, continue to push themselves by training hard when they can and clocking impressive race times (regular sub 3 hour marathons & track medals). Although they can both feck off if they think I’ll ever join them for a run in the Waterworks at 7.30am on a Sunday morning.
Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?
I try and get to the gym at least once or twice a week. I jump in and out of strength and conditioning classes with Mick Dowling too.