Full Name: Deirdre McGing

When did you join Sportsworld? April 2019

Where do you work? I work for Janssen Sciences Ireland as an Omnichannel Manager

What is your favourite club session? The Tuesday session in Bushy Park during the summer months.

What is your favourite race distance? Having tried almost every distance over the last couple of years, I think my favourite distance is the half marathon. The training isn’t quite as intense as the full marathon and the pace isn’t as fast as the shorter distances.  

What is your favourite meal before a big race? Keep it simple with a wholemeal bagel and maybe a banana.

My Favourite place to train: The Phoenix Park. I can hardly believe how little time I spent there before I took up running but now, I love to run there every Sunday. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, rain or shine, it’s a great place to run. The coffee, scones and chats after the long run make the effort worthwhile. 

What’s your favourite race? I’m not sure that I have a favourite but the races that stand out for me are the Tom Brennan 5K, Irish Runner 10 Mile, and the Antrim Coast Half Marathon.

What is your target for the next year? I focused a lot of time and energy over the last couple of years on the marathon so with that in mind, I would like to get my 5K time closer to 21 minutes (or maybe even below). It’s a while since I ran a 5 mile race so it would be interesting to see if I could lower that as well in the summer. I hope that if I can get a good spring block of training in then I can target a couple of races in the summer. 

What international events have you ran? The highlight of my running “journey” to date has definitely been completing the Berlin Marathon in 2022. What a city and what an event – I would recommend it to anyone to try. Running through the Brandenburg Gate as I approached the finish line was a special moment and I hope to do it all again one day.  

I also took part in the Salzburg Half Marathon in 2022 with a great group from the club and we plan to run the Florence Half Marathon in April of this year. Who knew that half marathons were a great excuse for long weekend breaks? 

As a Parkrun fanatic, I take my barcode everywhere with me and have clocked up a few events overseas including in the UK, Austria, Australia and Japan. I even held a female course record in Osaka as I ended up being there on the very first running of an event. I’m not sure what it says about the standard, but I’ll take my records where I can. 

Where’s the most interesting place you have run? Probably Japan. Parkrun over there is very different – everyone is early (no mad scrambles to get to the start while the briefing is happening) and I have never encountered so many volunteers as I did at the events over there. 

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve been? (Doesn’t have to be running related).  Again, I would probably say Japan. It’s a truly unique country and fantastic place to spend a few weeks. As a Spanish student at undergraduate level, I spent a year living and working in Argentina which was an amazing experience as well. 

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

Honestly, I don’t have many activities outside of running at the moment. It seems to have taken over my life between the various groups that I am involved in. I do enjoy going to live events though (mainly sports) and I try to go to something every few weeks. While I love to incorporate running into my travels, I also love travelling to watch the professionals do their thing. I have been to a few major tennis and athletics events and will be heading over to Budapest in the summer for the World Athletics Championships. 

How/When did you start your adventure with running? May 2017 with Cabinteely Parkrun. I had signed up for the Women’s Mini Marathon with a group of friends and a few of us decided we didn’t want to walk the whole thing. We got word that if you submitted a time from Parkrun that you could move from the walker’s category to joggers, so I found myself rocking up to Cabinteely Parkrun with the aim of running it once and never again. I walked/ran my first parkrun in 32 minutes and while it was hard going, I wasn’t as deterred as I thought I might be. Sure enough, I thought “I’ll give it another go before the mini marathon” and then I kept it up after that. While I didn’t attend every week during the first few months, it didn’t take long before it became a weekly habit. I’ve now completed over 175 parkruns and volunteered 40 times.  

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

5K: 00:21:51 (Tom Brennan 5K 2023)

5 Mile: 00:39:41 (Raheny 5 Mile 2020)

10K: 00:44:44 (Women’s Mini Marathon 2022)

10 Mile: 1:17:58 (Irish Runner 2022)

Half Marathon: 1:42:54 (Wexford 2022)

Marathon: 3:47:02 (Berlin 2022)

Without a doubt, my biggest achievement is completing 3 marathons in just over 12 months between Oct 2021 and Oct 2022. Before I joined the club, I never thought I would complete a marathon. It was such a mad idea that I never gave it any thought but it’s amazing how you can be influenced by those around you and seeing the training and results of those that ran in 2019 inspired me to sign up.  


What is your biggest non-running related achievement? I completed a Masters in 2018 while also working full time. 

How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage? 5 times a week usually. On a standard (non-marathon training) week, I usually cover 45-50km.

What motivates you? Running or otherwise. Having a clear goal. I love the discipline required for hitting targets, especially with the marathon which requires a lifestyle overhaul of sorts over a number of months. It’s hard work but truly rewarding to see the progress that one can make.  

What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club? There is no doubt that being in a group pushes you on to greater levels – often without even realising it. 

Another benefit to joining the club is that it has opened my mind beyond the standard road races. During the summer of 2020 when all road races were cancelled, I was persuaded to give IMRA a go. While I only managed one race before further lockdown restrictions were imposed, the seeds of interest had been planted and I returned in 2021 for more. I’ve now completed __ events and am looking forward to the summer league starting up again soon.

If anyone is interested in mountain or trail running, I would really recommend joining IMRA (and the WhatsApp group). The events are low-cost, run by volunteers, incorporate stunning views and usually followed by pints – what more could you want?

What made you join a Running Club? After two years of rocking up to the Parkrun on a Saturday and doing absolutely no other running during the week my times had stalled at around 27 minutes which was fine, but I wondered if I could get more out of myself. I played badminton at the time which takes a break from leagues and cups during the summer months. As my Tuesday and Thursday nights were suddenly free, I thought I might as well try joining a running club instead and see could I improve my 5K times before the badminton resumed in the Autumn. I used to pass by Bushy Park on my commute from work so that’s why I opted for Sportsworld as I could hop off the bus, go to training, and then hop on the bus again and go home. Little did I know what was ahead of me! 

Why is running important to you? It keeps me fit and healthy and gives me a space to unwind and destress. Never was this clearer than during Covid when we couldn’t train together. It was a great outlet for me at a stressful time. All you need is a pair of runners and away you go! 

Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club? More stretching

Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better? The club is full of people who really inspire me and push me to run faster and better – almost too many to name! That said, there are a few who truly dedicate so much of their time and energy to the club and make it the wonderful place that it is – special shout-out goes to Emily, Myles, Paul and Michael. 

Also, as someone who really struggled to run 3 marathons in just over a year, I take my hat off to Irene who seems complete marathons every couple of weeks. I’m hoping she’ll share her secrets to success soon. 

Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis? Gym twice a week.