When did you join Sportsworld?

A few years back after meeting club Member Helen Dixon (who is now my wife!). I was looking out for an athletics club to join at the time, so the choice became easy.

Where do you work?

I work in the I.T. department of the R.C.S.I.

What is your favourite club session?

Very long speed intervals on the grass at bushy park on a lovely summers evening. Just the right mix of enjoyment and pain (no pain, no gain).

What is your favorite race distance?

Favourite is a tricky question to answer. My most successful event is probably 6 day racing (A fixed time event rather than fixed distance), but the event intimidates me like no other. My favourite races would be the likes of Tor De Geants, The Spine Race, or the Barkley marathons… and those really aren’t about a particular distance per se. So the broad answer would be multi-day non-stop off-road races.

What is your favourite meal before a big race?

Rib eye steak, Sweet potatoes and plenty of vegetables.

My Favourite place to train is?

The hills/mountains in sunny heat. Location doesn’t matter too much, and variety is good.

What’s your favourite race?

Until this year I would have said the Tor De Geants, but the Barkley Marathons really is something special so it probably wins at the moment.

What is your target for the next year?

I don’t usually plan much beyond the current year, and there are one or two event still left (such as UTMB).

What international events have you ran?                                 

A lot! I usually race abroad a few times every year… that’s how most of my holiday time gets used up. As well as interesting races I target for my own enjoyment I have also represented Ireland in a few European and World championship events around the world.

Where’s the most interesting place you have run?

Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee (Home of the Barkley Marathons), The course of Primal Quest Utah (Multi-sports, including running).

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve been?  (Doesn’t have to be running related)                                              

Probably the same answer as above, with the addition of a few more adventure race courses (British Columbia, Badlands of South Dakota, The Maritime Alps. Also hanging onto the side of a few mountains, such as the Matterhorn, in my mountaineering days.

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

Cycling, Adventure racing. Catching up on current affairs. Eating!

How/When did you start your adventure with running?

I fell in with a bad crowd in my hillwalking / mountaineering days! A few of them were planning to run the DCM, so I decided I would join in, as I had a suspicion I would be better at endurance running than sprinting. I realised on my last long training run before the marathon that I was going well, so adjusted my targets. A resultant 2:57 let me know that I could actually run quite well, much to my surprise.

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

I’d count breaking the record for running Mizen head to Malin head as my biggest achievement (3 days, 3 hours, 47 minutes). It was like the culmination of all my years of training. I never expected to be so relaxed and pain free whilst running fluidly to the finish.

It’s always a big honour to put on an Irish vest and run for my country. Putting in a strong performance in the national colours, especially as part of an Irish team is hugely rewarding.

My shortest PB is for 5 miles (27:30, I think), which I only one ran once in Raheny years ago (After running a hill race earlier in the morning). Next up would be 55:30 for 10 miles at Ballycotton.

1:17 for half marathon at Omagh (I tend not to run half anything and that was the only half I ever ran, but that was back in foot and mouth times when racing shut down in the Republic, so we had to venture north to get any fun)

2:41 for Marathon in Dublin in 2002. But I count 2:52 in the Snowdon Marathon as my best marathon performance, given the nature of the course.

My good PBs are all at ultra distances (There’s a surprise!).

100km – 7:45 (I think). 24 hours – 248.4km (Irish record).  6 days – 816 km (Irish record)

Also a few other notable records such as:

Wicklow Way record (12:25)

Spine Race record (95 hours or so)

Fastest Irish UTMB time (24:44)

What is your biggest non-running related achievement?

Marrying Helen!

How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?

By default I run every day. The breaks find themselves due to life. I try to mix in a cycle day here in there as well for all sorts of reasons. Most weekday evenings I’d run 2 to 3 hours (obviously less if it’s a speed session with Sportworld). Most weekends I’d run 5-7 hours back to back long runs (or occasionally equivalent timed cycles).

What motivates you? Running or otherwise

If I didn’t intrinsically enjoy running I wouldn’t do it. I’m always motivated to see how well I can do, be it racing for position or running against the clock. The escape from the urban jungle into the freedom of the hills when training and racing is something I always value.

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

Having fun with like minded people. Training as a group raising the standards of everyone collectively and individually.

What made you join a Running Club?

The narrow answer would be that I wanted to do structured speed training with runners who were a little faster than me.

Why is running important to you?

At this stage I’d regard as a lifestyle! The benefits are literally life altering in multiple positive ways.

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

I’d like to see myself turn up more consistently… specific race preparations and a few broken bones have gotten in the way in the last while. I think the club engages in a great range of activities, both running and social.

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

I always love to hear about older runners not letting age be an excuse, who continue to train and race competitively. It’s also great to see people take on new challenges and excel.

Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?

Cycling (commute that way), but I should do more. I used to kayak a fair bit too, but that has fallen away (can’t do everything!).  I’m always planning to do more S&C work some day soon!

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

Given that my wife is in the club that’s a pretty big ask!