Gerard Neenan

When did you join Sportsworld?

I think it was August or September of 2016. I recall being totally bemused during a Fartlek session. Not much has changed….

Where do you work?

I work for IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation). Nicely located just off Baggot Street.

What is your favourite club session?

Despite the expression on my face or the intermittent expletives emanating from it during our all too brief recovery periods, I enjoy all the sessions. The speedy 400m, 800m, 1000m dashes around the park are great during the Summer and the hills & sprints in the depths of Winter are challenging, rewarding….and sometimes even a little bit enjoyable…

What is your favourite race distance?

It has to be the 42,195m!

The training is hard and time consuming, but the big day makes it all worthwhile.

What is your favourite meal before a big race?

The night before a race, I’d usually have something like pasta, chopped tomatoes, mixed beans and perhaps some meat like ham, chorizo, salami, etc.

Very simple, even I couldn’t mess that one up! And I’ve been known to burn water…

My Favourite place to train is?

It’s hard to beat the Sunday long runs in the Phoenix Park & The Waterworks.

What’s your favourite race?

The Dublin City Marathon last year was incredible, aside from that I really enjoy the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Dublin every August, Docklands 5k every June, the Raheny 5 mile every January and of course, the Terenure 5 mile in May!!!

What is your target for the next year?

I aim to keep fit, avoid injury and record some PBs.

There’s a few PBs that are starting to gather cobwebs…..5k & 10K…

The sub-20 minute 5k is something that’s evaded me for far too long!

What is your best Sportsworld memory?

No individual race or moment but the long runs in the Phoenix Park over the blistering hot Summer of 2018 will live long in the memory.

What international events have you ran?

Paris marathon 2018. My first marathon. Suffered badly in the last 10k as I went out way too fast at the start. Infamously left not one but two Garmin watches in my hotel room….

This contributed to my pacing issues on the day!!!

Where’s the most interesting place you have run?

It was a pleasure to run along the Lisbon waterfront earlier this year, beautiful weather and scenery.

I’ll have to nominate the “Dan Paddy Andy Festival Lyreacrompane 5K/10K” in Kerry also, as it’s totally different to any other 10k I’ve ever done. A looped course. Uphill for first k, downhill for next 7k and then a slow uphill to the finish that seems to take forever….

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

I enjoy music, podcasts, sport (season ticket holder for Kerry GAA & Irish soccer team) and travelling with my girlfriend Katia. Next destination is Berlin for this year’s marathon!

How/When did you start your adventure with running?

I decided in early 2016 that I needed to lose some weight and get fit. So, I cut out the beer and the bad food and threw myself into the Swan Leisure gym in Rathmines and did a million classes…. spinning, TRX, HiiT, etc…

This was going very well until I went home to Tralee for a week in May of that year and as I didn’t have a gym to go to, I thought that I’d give running a shot.

Downloaded a “Couch to 5K” app and got stuck in. A few weeks later I ran a Parkrun and have been running ever since!

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

According to Strava, my PBs are as follows:

5k – 20:06

10k – 43.24

Half-Marathon – 1:36:15

Marathon – 3:34:05

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

It depends on the time of year, at the moment I am doing 50k+ each week.

What motivates you? Running or otherwise

With racing, I want to leave everything out there. Do my absolute best.

There is great reward and satisfaction in feeling completely shattered after a race.

“Perhaps I didn’t record a new PB but I tried my hardest.”

The opposite of that is feeling that you only gave it 85%….

I did ok at Docklands 5k this year but deep down I know that I could’ve done better if I really pushed myself.

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

Hanging out with people that don’t laugh at the word ‘Fartlek’….

People that have a focus but also like a bit of a laugh, all in our own little running bubble.

There is a great kinship in our club, we all enjoy pushing ourselves round-and-round parks, tracks and roads all over the country, non-running people just wouldn’t understand!

But the big advantage about the club is the training sessions.

There is NO WAY that I’d do a Tuesday or Thursday session on my own.

Not a chance…..I’d settle in for a nice, relaxed 10k run instead!

What made you join a Running Club?

Initially I started running on my own but as soon as I started doing Parkruns, I realised that running with other people was far better fun that running on my own!

I’ve since been able to learn to appreciate the value of a long solo run too.

Also, once you start to be noticed somewhere, your absence is also noticed….

“Keep turning up and you’ll keep turning up…”

That’s my new mantra!

Why is running important to you?

Running and the various annual events on the calendar has kept me disciplined and motived for the last three years. So much so that I cannot picture my life without running.

I’m never going to trouble the podium at any event but running has been a hugely positive force in my life. I continue to evangelise about the merits of running to any poor sod within earshot!

Proud to say that I’ve inspired my girlfriend take up running and she’s done almost 30 Parkruns and two 10k races!

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

Aside from our coaches Myles & Emily, I am inspired and driven by my peers at the club.

I think everyone in the club finds themselves in a group of familiar faces during training every week.

I know that people that I need to keep up with every Tuesday/Thursday.

I won’t name any names but if you hear me desperately gasping for breath as we hare around Bushy Park, then you are one of my motivators!!!

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

Not really.

I attend some yoga classes with Katia, play the very occasional game of 5/7-a-side football and the odd visit to a gym class.