When did you join Sportsworld?

It was October 2016.   I had joined a couple of couch to 5K and 5K improver groups but found after a while they became expensive when you had to pay subscriptions every 8 weeks.  I felt I was improved and brave enough to consider joining a running club – that illusion was soon knocked out of me on my first night!   I nearly didn’t come back but someone mentioned to me not to make my decision based on the first night, so I came back and got in with a great group who were at a similar level to me. 

Where do you work?

I work for Mastercard in Human Resources.  (Guess the other club member who works for Mastercard?)

What is your favourite club session?

I’m not sure I have one.  I know it’s not a popular choice but I prefer the winter sessions and I’d give the nod to the Ballyboden Lap.   Whilst Bushy Park in the summer is lovely, I’m not a fan of running in the heat and the laps of Bushy do get tedious.

What is favourite race distance?

100m.  Short and fast.   I like to watch relay races. particularly 400m relays.  (You didn’t ask what is my favourite race distance is to run!)

What is your target for next year?

I had been planning on completing a half marathon in Madrid at the end of March but due to COVID19 that got postponed until later this year.   I haven’t made any commitments to tackle the new date yet but I’d like to try a half marathon before the year is out.   It is hard to make any plans in the current environment though.   The first target post COVID will be to get back to full fitness.  I’ve found I’ve lost the motivation for getting out for a regular run.   I was never great for solo running, even though I’m at the back of the pack it is always nice to have company for the beginning and the end of a session.

What international events have you run?

Does parkruns in Gorky Park in Moscow count?   When I lived in Moscow in 2018, due to language barrier it took me a while to find the park run location.  Once I found it, I made it a regular Saturday morning activity.   When club member Helen McGrath came out to visit me,  it was great to do the parkrun together and we wore our Sportsworld club vest for prosperity!   (We should run a check to see how far the Sportsworld vest has travelled).

What do you like doing when you don’t run? (hobbies/past times)

My job is fairly busy and I get to travel quite a lot with work.   So running is really the only hobby I have invested in.   I’m a member of UCD gym and I like to get a swim in every so often in their 50m pool. 

How/ When did you start your adventure with running?

Believe it or not, I was a member of my local Harold’s Cross Athletic Club.  I joined the club when I was about 16 and participated in many events across multiple athletic disciplines e.g. sprints, relays, long jump, discus, and even shot putt!!   I also looked after the juveniles and helped to train them every week.   I loved being part of that club and still have friends that I met there through to this day.   We used to do our long runs in and around Terenure and I remember seeing Emily and the ladies meeting at the tree in Bushy Park.    I gave it all up for the ‘good life’ in my 20’s and then found my grá for it again in Sydney when I lived there for a short period of time about five years ago.   I remember being in the Botanic Gardens overlooking Sydney Opera house and seeing a group of runners and thinking that if I was ever to run again this was the place to do it.   So I put the runners on and off I went and I have not looked back since!

Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievements?

I was particularly pleased with the St. Patricks 5K.  last year, Mary Colclough paced me as she was returning from injury and she helped me knock over 2 minutes off my previous best time.   To be honest it’s not about the PBs for me, I’m just happy to be fit and well enough to be able to run.   I had a good year last year in terms of achievements, completing my first 10K in over 20 years, my first ever 10 mile and half marathon.  I also completed the Tri Athy (bucket list item) in June and an open water swim in Glendalough Lake in September. 

 I remember Mark Hogan saying to me after the half in the Phoenix Park that for my first half I picked a tough course, if I had of known that before I signed up I probably would never have done it!

What is your biggest non-running related achievement?

Does winning a debating competition in work last year on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) count?  I don’t know much about AI but its all in the delivery!!

How often do you run?

Not often enough especially these days unfortunately. In normal circumstances, I like to get out 3 – 4 times a week if I can and I do enjoy the long Sunday run.   I mix it up by meeting with club members in Phoenix Park or the original Sportsworld ladies who continue to meet by the tree in Bushy every Sunday.   They were kind enough to invite me along to their session and I’ve really enjoyed their company.

What motivates you?  Running or otherwise.

Doing a good job always motivates me to do better.   The people that surround me in the club also motivate me.  When you think you don’t have it in you to complete a session or go the longer distance they are the ones that continue to drive me on.   

What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?

Most definitely it is the friendships made and the connection of a love of running between all club members.   Running can be considered an individual sport but with being a member of a running club, you can have that competitive edge to enable you to do better.   The meet and train events have been a great way of including all female members no matter ability, these events are not about any one individual but is more focussed on the team which makes it more inclusive. 

Why is running important to you?

Running has become very important to me over the past five years as it keeps me fit and healthy.  I never, ever want to go training but I have never regretted a session.   I always feel so good afterwards, so for me it is great for my mental wellbeing and in today’s environment this has become more important than ever.

Who is the person in the club who inspires/ drives to run better?

There are a number of people but for me top of the list would be Judith & Trevor.   They amaze me and always inspire me to run better during training sessions.   To do what they do at their age and still have the competitive edge is phenomenal!  

A shout out to Mary Colclough for pushing me to do my best for above mentioned 5K PB and Deirdre Steadman for always offering me words of encouragement when I need it most. 

Oh and the ‘moving on up runners’ what’s app gang, a group originally formed to encourage newbies or those returning from injury to feel included.   It’s moved on to a close-knit bunch who continue to motivate and encourage each other.

Tell us something that no one in the club knows about you?

I received a Leinster Championship silver medal for my long jumping skills!

New for 2020! What club member would you like to see answering these questions?

I’ll nominate Maria Varley ????