This week we chat to our most successful men’s senior athlete of recent years Karol Cronin.

When did you join Sportsworld?

I joined Sportsworld in January 2010

Where do you work?

I’m a primary school teacher in St Damian’s Perrystown.

What is your favourite club session?

I like the Saturday sessions as I love running in the mornings (not too early) and they are usually the hardest ones where you can push yourself especially track season. 400m sessions are good healthy ones.

What is your favourite race distance?

At the beginning it was marathons but now I like doing 5ks. 1500m on the track is also a bit of fun.

What is your favourite meal before a big race?

I don’t really like eating before a race so I don’t really have a favourite meal but I have something light like a banana or a bit of bread. It’s best to have a good meal the night before I find.

My Favourite place to train/compete is?

Other than the club sessions, the place you would probably find me training is St Enda’s Park in Rathfarnham. It’s a really nice park, not too big with good terrain and history. Running up the mountains is also very nice through the woods.

What is your target for the next year?

I am hoping to improve on the track and get some new pbs. I am hoping as well to do a good 10 mile race and win something with the team.

What is your best Sportsworld memory?

First of all coming second in the Dublin Novice CC which was my first ever medal to win. It was a really exciting race and gave me a real boost after coming back from a year long injury. Then down in Adamstown in 2013 coming first in the Leinster Intermediate CC and winning the team event. It was a great day for the club.

What international events have you ran?

I ran the Boston marathon twice in 2010 and 2011. I recommend everyone to do Boston where the entire city turns up and lines the full route the whole way and gets behind you. It’s a great atmosphere throughout and helps when you’re climbing heartbreak hill at mile 20. My brother who lives over there does it every year. I also did the New York marathon in 2011 and The James Joyce 10k in Boston where they give out free beer afterwards and read Ulysses throughout the race.

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

I like going up to the Dublin Mountains and Wicklow for cycles with my friends. There are really amazing scenery and pubs to visit and it’s a great escape from Dublin.

How/When did you start your adventure with running?

I played hurling and gaelic with Ballyboden St Enda’s for all my life before I got into running. I had sprained my ankle in 2009 playing gaelic and it took a while to heal.  Around this time a few of my friends were doing Gaelforce West, an adventure race in Mayo with running, cycling and a bit of kayaking so I decided to do it with them to get fit again. I really enjoyed the competitive nature to it and did really well in it. So I looked to see if there were any races I could do next and it was the Dublin half marathon. I did it in 1hr 23min and people said that was really good. It was the longest I’d ever run but I decided to do the full marathon six weeks later. I realised I had a talent for running and most of all I really enjoyed it. I remember buying a pair of runners in Mick Dowlings shop and asking him advice to prepare for the marathon and he told me about Sportsworld Running Club in Bushy Park. I ran the marathon in 3hr 17 min and felt disappointed as I blew up after mile 16 so I was determined to join the club and improve on my time. I was hooked after that with running.

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

Running 14.58 for the Rathfarnham 5k and running 8.57 for 3k on the track are ones I’m proud of and winning a Leinster Star award back in 2013 was a nice reward.

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

When I’m fit and healthy, I’d run six times a week, averaging 50 miles a week.

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

There are some really good characters down in the club that make it fun and build a good club spirit. It is a very welcoming club and I like that everyone has a love for running and they can achieve their own personal goals with the help of others.

What was your first day at the Club like?

I picked a good day as it was the annual Christmas cake sale in December 2009. I went up with a friend of mine Cian just after the marathon and we did the Terenure lap. We were given a free cup of tea and biscuits and met Emily and a few other members from the club. The affable Packie Enright was there who filled me in on the club and asked me every question under the sun.

Why is running important to you?

I like keeping fit and running is great for the mind and find it very therapeutic. Since joining the running club, it has introduced me to a life of road races, cross country and track competitions which make running all the more enjoyable.

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

If we had other places to train in the summer as Bushy gets quite crowded. Attracting more runners to the club as we’re a small club in relative terms and it can leave groups stretched at times when competing and more runners will improve competitiveness and times.

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

Myles and Emily are a great help to offer sound advice even though they’ll have a healthy disagreement with each on occasion 🙂 They give up their own time for the club to train us, to help us improve and achieve our goals and always encourage new members.

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

I do a bit of cycling for fun up the mountains and the odd bit of 5 a side football.