This week we have a great chat with Joe Byrne. Joe is running with Sportsworld for 20 years now and still going strong as one of our most committed and faster Masters runners.

His original battle hardened singlet (as seen in the photo above) was officially retired by Emily in 2014; it had so many holes in the front someone once remarked Joe was like a junkie trying to find a vein as he attempted to pin his race number to it!

When did you join Sportsworld?

Summer 1995

Where do you work?

I’m a self-employed Quantity Surveyor.

What is your favourite club session?

That would be whatever or wherever it is happening on a Saturday morning. Because of my scheduling it is the only opportunity I get in the week to train with a group. Most sessions are done on my own and those midweek speed sessions of 1k’s on my tobler are hard going when you’ve no one to help pull you around, ( help build character according to Myles).

 What is your favorite race distance?

Initially when I did have speed in my legs I loved the short sharp races up to 5m but as the years have lapsed I have tended to target the longer distances (10m up) where endurance rather than speed is the optimum requirement. Although I follow the club sessions and run all the championship races at various distances my real passion is now the marathon and trying to get a couple more sub 3 hour ones in before I totally cease up. Gets harder every year though!!

What is your favorite meal before a big race?

Not a fan of eating before a race. A banana is as far as it goes. But I definitely make up for it after the race!

My Favourite place to train/compete is?

Waterworks 7.30am on a bright Summer Sunday morning. As close to heaven as a runner can get!!

What is your target for the next year?

As mentioned above, a sub 3hr marathon somewhere, if only I can stay injury free, get the training right, peaking at the right time, choose a fast course on a perfect day. Not too much to ask for, is it? Also to get my 21st season out of the famous club vest I wear. Like myself its looking a bit shook and hence I use it sparingly, however its still good for a few more pin holes and race numbers!

What is your best Sportsworld memory?

Winning a decent collection of  championship medals at County, Provincial and National level  on many Sportsworld teams down through the years. Always enjoyed the trips to Club La Santa too. Racing was competitive but plenty of chill out time too. Winning individual gold in Leinster 10m road race championships this year was also a nice feeling.

What international events have you ran?   

Ran Empire state Building stair climbing championships (all 87 floors) in 1991, 1992 & 1994. Finished 9th in ,94.

La Santa challenge from 2002-2008.

Derry marathon 2014. (is that International?)

 What do you like doing when you don’t run?

Some reading, going to energy centres with my 2 boys to help them run off a bit of steam and my trips to RDS to support Irelands foremost rugby team (3 European Cups to date) play!! Take that Will & Jim!!

How/When did you start your adventure with running?

I always placed a huge emphasis on my fitness from rugby in my early days to basketball and then into the running.

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

5k  15.52, 4m 21.07, 5m 26.56, 10m 55.37, half marathon 76.55. All these times were set pre 2000, then in 2009 I became a born again runner and ran 2.55 in Dublin in 2010. Biggest regret was not tackling the 26.2m in stage 1 of my career. Breaking 3hrs in Dublin Marathon in 2010 & 2012 is a good memory.

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

Summer, probably 40-50m per week. Winter probably only 20m.

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

Being in an equally matched group on a hard speed session with everyone pushing one another to their limit.  Also, have met some great people and characters down through the years in the club, many who have come and gone and many who are still there. In addition, the great feeling at the end of a race and the mutual respect you have for other runners who have been through the same hell as you. Despite how you might feel in the lead up to, and at the start of a race, I,ve never been sorry for taking part in any competition I,ve entered.

What made you join a Running Club?

To improve my P.B,s

 What was your first day at the Club like?

Was a lovely summer evening in Bushy Pk. The session was 8x200m. I remember thinking afterwards, this is pretty short and easy. Probably the shortest Sportsworld session I’ve ever done.

Why is running important to you?

Running is a drug and I’m an addict. That feeling of fatigue/ exhaustion/ release of endorphins we get after a hard session/race /run is fantastic!!

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

Would love if we could get a club session on the indoor track in Athlone some Saturday morning in the summer. I know it has been mentioned before but we,ve never got it together. Maybe 2016 could change that one??

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

I’m inspired and driven by any runner who gets out on a club session on a cold winters evening or weekend morning to do what they do when obviously there are far easier options available to all. Particularly, I’m inspired by those that put the club shirt on and compete against the very best runners of other clubs, at County, Provincial or National level. We are privileged in our sport to be able to test yourself against the best runners. I am full of gratitude for Myles and Emily standing out in cold winter mornings in places like Kiltipper watching people like me plod around. We’ve been honored in the club down thru the years to have had many members who represented the country at international level. Its also pretty cool having the BHAA Div D 1200m Trinity Track Champion in the Club!

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

I’ve been doing pilates for about 8 years now on a weekly basis. Also in the past year I go to a weekly  spinning /circuit class. I would recommend some form of cross training to all runners in order to prevent injury. This is particularly the case as you get older.