This week we have one of the best meet the runner interviews yet with Shona Keane. Shona has an impressive 5 marathons to her name and a great story about her first experience running through Terenure with the Sportsworld supporters shouting loud. She is one of a small group ladies in the club to have gone under 40 minutes for 10K in recent years.
When did you join Sportsworld?
I joined Sportsworld in January 2012 having moved back to Dublin from London. I think I ran my first Meet & Train cross country race in Raheny a few weeks later….and yes of course I was a rookie and ran it in runners!
Where do you work?
I work for AIB
What is your favourite club session?
I like the Winter cross country sessions in either the Phoenix park or Myles’ famous field. There is a huge sense of achievement in completing those sessions on a Saturday morning and you really feel the benefit of them during the Winter season. I always feel fresher running first thing in the morning rather than evening sessions after work so I like the weekends and getting out there early.
What is your favorite race distance?
I have ran 5 marathons and love the test of endurance that comes with distance running. I also enjoy very short races like the Road Relays last year was a race I really enjoyed and got a great buzz from the speed out there. The 10k is probably my least favourite distance.
What is your favorite meal before a big race?
I dont have the best stomach in the world so the plainer the better. Ideally if its a long race, porridge, plain bread or maybe a banana. Before a short race I would eat less.
My Favourite place to train/compete is?
I think we all love Bushy Park when the clocks go forward and we get back on the grass and have bright evenings from April to October. We are blessed in Dublin with beautiful venues like the 10 mile Phoenix park lap, the Waterworks and the Hellfire club. My hometown is Limerick and I think the finish of the Great Limerick Run is one of the best around and definitely one of my favourites. The Club La Santa 4th race (in 4 days!) is up there as well.
What is your target for the next year?
Firstly I would like to get back training consistently now and to manage weaknesses and stay injury free. The appetite for another marathon is starting to come back so I would love to get back to a good half marathon time and then do another marathon in the next year or two.
What is your best Sportsworld memory?
Just before I joined Sportsworld I ran the Dublin marathon that October and I remember running near 2 girls who appeared to be cruising along. I was more chasing than cruising!! I remember as we ran through Fortfield Road and all the way to Terenure village, these two girls received tremendous cheers and incredible support! I remember thinking that must be their club in the park and I looked at their singlets for the name of the club and saw Sportsworld. I thought to myself I’ll join that club in the new year. The following October I ran the Dublin marathon in a Sportsworld singlet and along with Orla Jordan and Lucy Darcy we won the womens team silver in the national marathon championships. It is one of the medals I am most proud of.
What international events have you ran?
I did the Paris marathon in 2011 and the Edinburgh Marathon (relay) and Brighton half marathon while I was in the UK. I think the popularity of club events away like the Frankfurt marathon 2014, New York marathon 2014 and Berlin half marathon 2015 speak for themselves and it is a very enjoyable to go somewhere new for an event.
How/When did you start your adventure with running?
I ran my first marathon in 2008 for fun for the Irish Cancer Society in 3:36. The next marathon was not until 2011 and with very little running in between those 3 years the time turned out to be exactly the same again!
Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievement?
We achieved alot of team success in 2012 and 2013 and that was the most rewarding time for me. Along with Ruth Kelly, Maura Ginty, Catriona Higgins,Erin O’Connell,Stephanie Bergin and Orna Dilworth we had a really strong team and won team medals in the Meet and Trains, Dublin novices and intermediates in cross country and on the road. I loved the team spirit in training and then racing together. My best marathon is 3:05, best half is 1:27, best 10k is 38:50.
How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?
Currently I am getting back to doing 2 sessions a week and running 2 other days along with 2 cycles a week. I hope to get back to a good level of running fitness over the next few months.
What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?
When we train with others we naturally find our training group and then we start to improve and feed off the runners around us. In Sportworld there is a great sense of inclusion and you meet people from all walks of life. I have made great friends in Sportsworld that I will have forever. For the 30th Anniversary Ball Gareth Murran made a slideshow to music with 30 years of Sportsworld photos. When you watch this you see the running memories that are ingrained by friendships in Sportsworld. (I think its still on youtube and well worth a watch)
What made you join a Running Club?
I played camogie and always had a club involvement. I had dabbled in a bit of running and on moving back to Dublin I decided to join a running club.
What was your first day at the Club like?
It was January and dark and miserable! Paddy welcomed me at the door and showed me where to go. A few weeks later he was showing me the route around Raheny meet & train.
Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club?
It is great to see new talent coming on now with Tara, Margaret Crowley, Catherine Mulleady, Catherine Bambrick and Andrea McNamara. I hope this season we will have a strong girls team again and stick together for the season. There is strength in unity…particularly for cross country!
Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?
Our coaches Emily and Myles’ commitment and never ending enthusiasm for nurturing sport in others is just an incredible gift. There are several.others so I will concentrate on a few representing the ladies. Ruth Kelly – for her work ethic and determination. She never lets up and is such a reliable training partner. Sandra Gowran – for her outstanding achievements and her wonderful modesty. Lucy Darcy – for her words of encouragement. Lucy took me under her wing in 2012 and really showed me the marathon ropes.
Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?
I love to cycle and was lucky enough to do some of the best Irish sportives this Summer.