Deirdre Mai O’Connell, Milltown, Dublin.
When did you join Sportsworld?
Officially, January 2017, though I’d a few sessions under my belt the previous October and November. I got away without paying until January, but I won’t tell anyone that.
Where do you work?
I work for a golf management agency, Carr Golf, amongst many golf related things we manage golf clubs. I do the marketing. I’ve done sports marketing and PR for all my years. If anyone owns a golf club that needs managing, please call me.
What is your favourite club session?
Easily, Hills and Sprints, though it’s not easy at all. I like how quickly it goes, and I like seeing everyone doing their thing from the top of the hill. To the passer-by, we must look like some strange army of ants.
What is your favorite race distance?
I can’t quite decide. I like 10ks. I like 5ks. I think I might like half marathons. Having done one marathon, I don’t think I like them but something in me says I might do another.
What is your favourite meal before a big race?
I never get this right. Once, before a Docklands 10K, I had spaghetti hoops on toast! This race did not go well. Nor did someone’s poor doorway.
My Favourite place to train is?
I have travelled a bit and I run everywhere I go. It’s a great way of exploring. Don’t run around the mountains of Kerry late afternoon without knowing you’ll be back before dark. I got caught out one day and had a dodgy enough route home. Though I live in Dublin, I’m from Naas and I like getting out when I’m home. There’s a lovely canal run in Naas, where we used to drink, as teenagers, al fresco with cans and naggins of vod. “Down the ‘nal”, it was called. We’d have to sprint when the cops came. The start of the athletics eh! Good times.
What’s your favourite race?
Probably a 10K or a half. I got shoved onto a cross country team lately. That is not my favourite race.
What is your target for the next year?
A 42 minute 10K and a 90m half. Still haven’t signed up to the half mind.
What is your best Sportsworld memory?
My mother and I very much enjoyed stewarding the Tenenure 5 Mile last year with Noel. Thankfully, the police were at our station with us. We watched them nearly get into fisticuffs with some passers-by, irate of a Sunday morning that they couldn’t take the left turn. It was fun!
What international events have you ran?
The marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. Signed up Christmas Day, and ran it 12 weeks later. It was torture. Why is a race route the figure of eight so you cross the finish line when you’re only half way around? Plus it was a lovely sunny April day and the Rotterdamsters were all out having BBQs, drinking bubbley, and chucking pieces of orange straight at my face. Eh, thanks!. Oh I was also in La Santa last November. That 13k trail run with the sun, wind, dust, sand and hills was unforgettable, the stuff of nightmares.
How/When did you start your adventure with running?
I’ve always run a bit on my own and I enjoy it immensely. My brother Paul O’Connell (pictured above in the Dublin Rock n Roll, where it’s very obvious I’m beating him) is a very keen, very good runner and he was always banging on about Sportsworld. I thought it was a clothes shop. I moved back to Dublin Summer 2016 and he told me to join. His wife Aoife Quigley, also a very keen, brilliant runner is a Crusaders Club Member. She told me to join there as they are all very good looking. I stuck with Sportsworld as it suited me location-wise for work and home. I can say now Sportworld members are all very attractive and they are a bunch I am happy to be associated with.
How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?
3/4/5 times a week. Maybe 30k/45k a week depending. If I’m doing my club tasks as member of the ‘Email Support’ team I would run 0k that week.
What was your first day at the Club like?
I was very nervous the first day, first month, first year! No sign of my brother Paul for support, and sure even if he was there he’d be too busy chatting up/ to other ladies. I remained relatively unknown until Emily Dowling found out I was Paul O’Connell’s sister and apparently that made me some kind of “ledg.” I was very proud to learn of Paul’s list of club records. He also holds various family records for drinking pints! I joined in Winter when everyone was wrapped up in Winter woollies, so it was really hard to recognise anyone. I went to the Christmas Party, on my own like a total spare, to see all the runners in their finest. Suddenly I realised runners look just like other people, normal, and in fact are very good looking! I sat with John F and Mark the Vet, oh and Jose, and it was fun. I have enjoyed getting to know my friend Olive Fogarty, who like to say she’s injured when she isn’t.
Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?
Yoga weekly. Couldn’t live without it. Ideally I’d do a gym session a week too, but I rarely fit it in.
Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club?
Is there any way of finding out who else is signed up to races? Is there any way I can leave the ‘Email Support’ taskforce?
Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?
Eoin O’Brien is very funny on the email and the social “medja”. And Michael is a wonderful person too. It goes without saying, Emily and Myles too. Even when I’m out running on my own, I can hear Myles shouting, Come On Deirdre!
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