When did you join?
Around September 2016. I was preparing for a sprint duathlon in Westport that November and my training had consisted of cycling to work all summer. I hoped a few weeks in a running club would magically improve my running speed. I thought I’d only stay for a few weeks but I was hooked right away.
Where do you work?
I’m an accountant in the IFSC. It’s some craic.
What is your favourite club session?
I briefly loved hills and sprints – nothing like throwing your all into the hill – but I quickly realised that Deirdre O’ Connell’s 80% effort was about equal to my 120% so I came up with an obscure injury to save face and I can’t really do those sessions anymore. I finally did my first “long” run in the phoenix park about 2 months ago and that’s my new favourite. It was beautiful, muck and all. I love that you get to have great chats or just companionable (if gaspy) silences on the longer runs.
What is your favourite race distance?
I haven’t really done enough races to know but maybe 5km. Prior to joining I did a few sprint duathlons around Westport and definitely prefer being out in the wilds surrounded by nature than the noise and fuss of road races. I did some 10k events before joining but now 10k feels like a long time for me to be on my feet and rushing.
What is your favourite meal before a race?
When I ran the Raheny 5 mile it was my first race with the club and I was quite nervous for some reason. I think it went something like…Egg sandwich at 8pm, granola at 3am, slice of cheese at 5 am, porridge at 8am, protein bar on the way….I’ve matured a lot since then and in my second 5 mile race with the club last weekend I just had half a bowl of porridge.
What is your target for next year?
I’d just like to find a formula for coping with my knee problems that would allow me to run consistently. If I find that formula I guess I’d aim for a sub 50 10k and a sub 24 minute 5k, and I might try a 10 miler just to see if I can stay going for that long. Sometime, before I’m 80, I’d like to do a sprint triathlon, time irrelevant.
What is your best sportsworld memory?
I kind of enjoy every session so it’s hard to pick a best memory. A recent last place finish in the 1500 metres in Tallaght was great fun on a Wednesday night. My performance on track is fairly tragic but nonetheless any visit out there seems to make me mildly delirious. This year I’ve had some lovely longer spring runs and even longer brunches this year with a certain group of rather easy going runners.
What international events have you done?
None. I once played an impromptu soccer match in a village school on Lake Titicaca. I don’t think that is in any way relevant but I wanted to say it anyhow to sound like I’ve done stuff.
What is the most interesting place you have run?
While on a year out around Australia jogging was great way of exploring every new city. My favourite place to run was along the shore of St. Kilda, Melbourne every evening and watching sunsets before hitting the cake shops of Acland Street.
What do you do when you don’t run?
I like hiking, cycling and any kind of moderately active holiday if it’s not too hot. A lot of that has been off limits for the last 15 months so now so I’m trying to reinvent my splash- and- panic swim technique and studying computing. I also discovered an alarmingly premature love of digging the garden a few years ago.
Oh and I’m on whatsapp a lot. Any day now I’m going to tackle that social media addiction.
When did you start your adventure with running?
When I was 19 I came back from an Erasmus college experience in France about two stone overweight from living on frites and mayonnaise sandwiches and decided I needed to take the situation in hand. I’m not competitively minded but finding running ( “ jogging” as it was called in those days), just heading out on the roads or fields by myself and clearing the head was a real gift.
What is your PB/achievement?
In the two years I’ve been with the club I’ve run just 3 races.
I did the Raheny 5 mile 2017 in 39 minutes (38:54 ish, I think, roughly) which is the fastest I’ve ever run over distance. And I think that was largely thanks to Grainne Lynch pacing me around the course as I’m still new to the concept of pacing.
My best 5 k was a 24.03 in a Marlay parkrun. It was gutting to run over 27 minutes in the same distance this new year’s day in the Tom Brennan.
My happiest race was a sprint duathlon in Westport in November 2016 (20 K cycle, 10K run, hike half way up Croagh Patrick) where I knocked 10 minutes of my time of the previous attempt to get home in 2hours 33 minutes.
How often do you run?
At the moment 5-10k a week over one or two sessions a week if the body holds up. Every few weeks I try to push it a bit and do different sessions or faster sessions. One week I think I hit the grand total of 30km but then I needed 3 weeks off.
What is the best thing about being in a running club?
There’s loads I love about the club and hardly any of them are to do with running. To list a few…Eoin O’ Brien’s warm and funny and inclusive emails (before he retired), the shouts of encouragement you get from Emily, Myles and everyone else if you’re only panting up a hill on a Tuesday evening, Michael Cunningham’s selfless workrate. The general kindness and inclusiveness of the club. When I got injured Grainne Lynch showed the patience of the saint (who’d a thunk it!?) to keep me in touch with what was going on in the club and nudge me into non-running ways of staying involved such as stewarding (cheap labour I was) and nights out. At the Christmas party 2017 I by chance ended up sitting with, then stranger, Alison Mackey who kindly co-opted me into the easy-going runners gang. It’s been a gift to be able to drop in and out of training and brunch with this group and not (as yet) get left behind. Conor Kenny and Ellen Lavin have both, separately and in different ways, been great sources of advice and encouragement. The email support group are great (even Deirdre O’Connell, though she bullies me a lot cos I don’t run as well as the others).
What was your first day like in the club?
I don’t remember exactly. I think we might have been doing 200 metres over by the edge of bushy park. I’d never sprinted before so it was a great opportunity to release the inner child. Woohoo!
Why is running important to you?
It’s simple and liberating, it costs almost nothing and you can do it anywhere. Good times or bad, running is a release and a joy and I don’t like to contemplate life without it.
Who inspires you to run better?
Usain Bolt and Irene O’Connor. Admittedly, I don’t know Usain all that well but, speed aside, I’m inspired by how he really seems/ed to cherish the joy of running. For similar reasons, I love how Irene just decides to do a marathon on a whim during any given week, on the way to an Ultra at the weekend. If I had the energy and the strength I think that’s a great way to interact with the earth.
Tell us one thing that no one knows about you?
I was so shy when I was younger I was afraid of telephones. (Now I keep one strapped to me always as a reminder of the battle and the journey).