This week we have Sean Donegan who works in the music industry, prefers vinyl, has comfortably broken 90min for a half marathon and has the remarkable ability to run a full marathon without getting a single hair out of place!

When did you join Sportsworld?
November 2012

Where do you work?
I work in town, for a non-profit that represents songwriters, composers & music publishers. My job is to sort out music licences with broadcasters, advertisers and online services.

What is your favourite club session?
I enjoy the Mount Carmel lap sessions in Winter – hard fast laps with a small hill at the start and a nice decline at the end (and places to hide if struggling) and the Bushy Park Fartlek in the summer – it really works the reflexes dodging kids, dogs, crossfit groups and random footballs, travelling at high speed through the trails.

What is your favorite race distance?
Probably the 10 mile – it’s long enough to be a decent challenge without needing a long recovery. The Frank Duffy 10 mile every August is my favourite race of the year.

What is your favorite meal before a big race?
This is a hot topic for me at the moment as I am experimenting with my pre-race meals to try avoid the regular stitches I get towards the end of short distance races. Right now I try to eat as little as possible, maybe a little toast.

My Favourite place to train/compete is?
I am a big fan of the Dublin Mountains, you will often find me on meandering long runs around Three Rock, Masseys, Tibradden, Cruagh and the Waterworks.

What is your target for the next year?
I have a 2-year plan in mind to train for a Sub 3 marathon in 2018. I also want to get stuck into the IMRA Summer mountain races of a Wednesday evening.

What is your best Sportsworld memory?
The support you get competing is fantastic. I recall the Dublin Marathon in 2013, almost at every point I started to struggle, someone would shout out..”Go on Sportsworld”….Myles in particularly seemed to be at every key point on the course….Phoenix Park…Dolphin’s Barn….Ballsbridge…. all had Myles (or at least a convincing Myles look-a-like) telling me to catch the guy in front of me. Great stuff.

What do you like doing when you don’t run?
Arguing with people about football, explaining why vinyl sounds better than digital music files, or slagging off bands I use to like but are now too popular.

How/When did you start your adventure with running?
I’ve always been fond of hiking and going on long walks listening to music…one day on a long walk up the mountains I found myself halfway to Glendalough without realising it and so resolved that running these routes would be much more time efficient!

Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievement?
5k – 19:17
10k – 39:52
5m – 31:45
10m – 66.45
Half marathon – 1:28
Marathon – 3:15

Biggest achievement & most treasured memory will always be my first marathon – Connemara in 2012. I’d only been running regularly a few months and thought there was no way I could complete a marathon. However, by following a training plan combined with doing the clubs Thursday tempo sessions, I did enough work to ensure I was ready.

If anyone knows the Connemara course, you will be aware of the “Hell of the West”, a real nasty incline (read mountain) at Mile 23 / 24. I’ll never forget the rush I got once I eventually got to top, with 2 “easy” miles downhill left to enjoy, taking in the scenery and the accomplishment. A definitive “Runners High” moment.

How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?
When marathon training I max out about 55 miles a week and during the rest of the year its about 30 miles a week. I reckon I need to move up to about 70 miles a week to give myself a good shot at a sub 3.

What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?
As someone who has a competitive streak the best thing for me is trying to keep up with the faster folk in group sessions, which then spurs me on to improve my own training & races….For example, in the irish ¾ Marathon last October I ran well and really thought I was about to be the first Sportsworld athlete home, when with 2 miles to go one of the faster lads (who shall rename nameless, the scamp) sauntered by me casually while I was busting a gut…He is now on my hitlist in training….(although I never get near him…one day….)

What made you join a Running Club?
I happened to be running a lot on my own around Bushy Park in the Summer of 2012 and noticed the organised sessions going on and thought, hey, that looks fun. Took me a few months to get the courage to come down though.

What was your first day at the Club like?
It was in the middle of winter and I turned up with a friend hilariously overdressed……hat, gloves, leggings, shorts over the leggings, big soccer socks, long sleeve shirt, Nike air max runners, jacket, big red face and a phone on my arm with a stupid app shouting out mile splits which I couldn’t figure out how to turn off. By the time we got down to Mount Carmel I was sweating buckets.

After that experience I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how overdressed an unfamiliar face is arriving down to the Club and how new they are to running, so I always try and say hello and put them at ease.

Why is running important to you?
Running is my way to clear the head and de-stress. It’s a big part of my life and I couldn’t imagine not running regularly. On non- session days, I often try to run into work first thing in the morning which really sets you up well for the day, or else an easy jog last thing at night to wind down. I do a small bit of travel with work and always pack the gear with me. It’s a great way to explore a new city.

Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club?
Yes, less faster folk so I can feel better….(joking…)..I’ve noticed a really big improvement on the communications/information side of things over the last 18 months compared to when I first joined, so well done to the Committee members who’ve organised that.

As someone who can’t get down to the sessions every week, I wouldn’t mind if the Tuesday/Thursday sessions were posted on the website/weekly email in advance which would help plan to make sure I make the key sessions, but apart from that I’ve no complaints. The club is run really well and there is great sense of community amongst the members.

Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?
The guy from the Irish 3/4 Marathon. (See answer above). He knows who he is. Also Myles; my biggest fear is to turn a corner at a race to have Myles spot me heaving at the side of the road in a heap. Nearly happened in the recent Raheny 5 mile.

Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?
I’m doing a runner’s specific weekly core/ strength session at the moment. I’m hoping this will help my posture & strength to close out races stronger.