Here’s is another one and below are before and after pictures of Rob. I have to say I didn’t recoginise him in the first one. when he said “Fat Rob ” I thought he meant Robbie Keane.
1. How did you get into athletics ?
I had my first taste of athletics when I was in first year in school. My secondary school was putting on trials for the cross country championships. I ran the trial around the school football fields on a cold, wet, windy day. The ground was soft and the terrain was tough. I loved it. I got picked to run with the team – I think most of us did – but it clashed with GAA training and coming from a GAA family I stuck to that sport for the next 11 years. It wasn’t until 2004 when I decided to run more frequently. I had spent a lot of my college years studying hard and playing hard – drinking, eating and enjoying life. After two J-1s in the States and four years of enjoyable college life in DCU I started full time work a little overweight. There’s a picture of me with Robbie Keane (we’re the same age) before the World Cup in 2002 where he’s in his prime and I look like I ate way too many pies.
Anyway, after one too many breathless walks up stairs in my office I decided to train for the Great Ireland 10k. I jogged it and finished in around 60 minutes. The following year a few mates from work were training for the Barcelona marathon and invited me to join them. I went for it and stuck to a 12 week training plan. I ran it, loved it and the rest is history…
2. Why do you run?
I run for because I love what it gives me. I find it a great tool to get stuff done. It’s good for me physically and it’s good for me mentally. It brings me to some of the coolest places on the planet. Over the years it has helped me push myself to places I never thought possible. It has shown me what can be done when you put your mind to it and work for it. I love the competitive nature of it but I also love the camaraderie and friendships I have found through running, including through TT Racers. Some of my fiercest running rivals are also really good friends.
3. Did you try different events or where you always a distance runner ?
I guess distance is relative. I have tried everything from 400m to 100 miles. I find the shorter stuff the hardest as I typically train for marathons but the last few weeks has enabled me to focus a bit more on strength and speed work. But that’s still for a 5k, 10k or an IMRA trail race.
4. Can you give a brief synopsis of your running career to date ?
I started running in earnest 2005 and finished my first marathon in Barcelona in 2006. Since then I have run over 30 marathons and 20 ultra marathons in three continents. I have run hundreds of road races from 5k to half marathon, over 100 IMRA races and a pile of BHAA and XC races! I’ve been a member of Rathfarnham WSAF, Sydney Striders, the Bondi Brats, Drogheda & District AC, Greystones AC and now Kilcoole AC. But more importantly I have run with two of the best running groups around, TT Racers and Hurt Squad. I have also won one race, a charity trail race in Bray in 2014. I’ll take it.
5. What would you consider to be your main highlight ?
It has to be finishing my first sub 3 marathon in Dublin in 2012, on a visit home two Ireland three months after my first son was born. After years of training and a few failed attempts it finally came together on the day. But it nearly didn’t back then the race took a lonely route along Townsend street behind Trinity and looping back up to Merrion Square. With less than 1km to go, and on the bubble of 3 hours, my legs started to cramp. It slowed me down but I fought the pain to keep going through gritted teeth. As I passed the hallowed Trinity Track I had about 200 metres to go. I looked up to see the clock ticking over into 2:59 and I knew I had to put the hammer down to cross the line under the holy grail. I ran what felt like Usain Bolt pace but what was probably close to tempo pace to finish in 2:59:51, close call, huge relief, and a few happy tears with my family at the finish.
6. When did you hook up with TTracers and what was the reason for doing so?
I hooked up with TT in May 2013, not long after I got back from Sydney. In Australia I was a member of Hurt Squad, a group of runners from a variety of levels and backgrounds (road runners, trail runner, triathletes) who trained in the Sydney city centre (near Circular Quay) every Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime and in Centennial Park on Saturdays and Sundays. Basically an Australian TT. So when I came back I was keen to join a similar group in Dublin. I searched online and asked around and finally got a tip off about a group of like minded runners who met at Trinity Track every Tuesday and Thursday. So one day I rocked down, met Terry, jumped in and the rest is history.
7. what would be in your eyes the main advantage of being part of TTracers ?
The leadership and dedication of Terry and the people in the group.
8. What’s the best running advice you’ve been given which has helped you to become a better runner?
I was once told ‘you never regret a run but you may regret not running’ and if I have had a busy day or I’m not feeling motivated I remind myself of this, throw on the gear and head out the door never regretting it.
9. What’s your running ambition going forward?
A 2:48 marathon, complete the Western States and some new and exciting ultra challenges.
One thing I’m really looking forward to more than any of these is racing Caoimhin MacMaolain in an IMRA race again.