As a teenager I was a member of Lucan Harriers for a few years, played basketball with a local team and was a very active junior member of Emerald Stewarts Triathlon club so I always enjoyed keeping fit. After several years playing 5 a side soccer with ex school pals and the ripe old age of 28, I decided to join up with a running club to improve my health and fitness. I found that our 5 a side soccer games were getting slower and I wanted a bigger challenge. I signed up with Liffey Valley Athletics Club in 2003 and within a few months of coaching from Jim Davis I quickly graduated and became a part of the clubs racing squad.
2 Why do you run?
Running is my passion. I run to keep fit, keep my mind and body healthy and sometimes to be alone with my thoughts. Running provides me with great headspace to sort out all the challenges of work and life and at different stages in my life running has been like a good therapy session. I love the feeling of completing a hard group session and the sense of achievement afterwards. I have also met and made some great friends through running and for that I am truly grateful.
3 Did you try different events or were you always a distance runner?
In Liffey Valley once you are part of the racing squad you get to try your hand at all events. I have run cross country (novice, intermediate, senior, masters), indoor track 3000m, outdoor track 800m / 1500m / 3000m / relays and multiple road events. My own preference is road racing events.
4 Can you give a brief synopsis of your running career to date?
My early years with Liffey Valley were all about cross country team running. I was lucky enough to be part of club cross teams that medalled in novice, intermediate and masters. I have also picked up a few county medals along the way in these events. I managed to make the Liffey Valley Raheny road relay team on three occasions and the field in this race is amongst the very best in the country. Sadly, there are no Raheny road medals to speak about but making the race squad for your club is an honour that does not come around very often. Moving away from cross country, I have picked up some club team road race medals over the years along with some Nenagh indoor track medals, anyone that knows this track will know it is colder inside than it is outside the track, it’s really quite an experience. I was also lucky enough to win the Liffey Valley AC Winter League (6 x handicap races over the season) on two occasions, something few club athletes have managed to achieve. Since joining up with TT Racers I have picked up PB’s in almost every distance and I still have hope there are future PB’s to come. In the last few years I have been running as a non-club runner mainly due to family commitments but in the knowledge that I was part of the TT Racers group. I know we all miss the group sessions and hopefully they will return some time in 2021.
5. What would you consider to be your main highlight?
Meeting Jim Davis and learning how to race from great LVAC athletes like Tom O’Connor and John Cullen. I took a break from club running in 2012 but returned in 2013. My return to club running coincides with joining up with TT Racers. 2013 and 2014 were my best years as an individual athlete with PB’s in almost every distance along with posting a sub 2:49 marathon in the 2013 Dublin City Marathon under the guidance of Terry and as part of a super TT Racers training group. For recent joiners to TT Racers, the group was a lot smaller in 2013 with almost everyone on first name terms across all groups.
6. When did you hook up with TT Racers and what was the reason for doing so?
I hooked up with TT Racers in the spring of 2013. I’d seen the group training in Trinity for several years and I was trying to get an introduction into the group. With young kids at home I was finding it very challenging to make club evening sessions so I was hoping Terry and TT Racers could become my new training ground. I had worked with Dan O’ Carroll and Peter Gray for a number of years so I asked Dan if he would introduce me to Terry. Dan introduced me to Terry and after two Tuesday sessions I was hooked.
What would be in your eyes the main advantage of being part of TT Racers?
Terry’s coaching, the team spirit and the group structures for training. There is no other running group like it in the country, the quality of athletes on display is truly excellent and you can always find a group to work with and improve your ability. If you feel like challenging yourself, there is always a group to take your training up to the next level. There is a real sense of team at training, at races and post racing and that is what makes TT Racers a very special group.
What’s the best running advice you’ve been given which has helped you to become a better runner?
“No guts, no glory” – this means put your body on the line when it comes to race day, every place counts as an individual and for the club team. Never be afraid to pass or beat someone who you train with or who typically always beats you in a race. As we all know in races sometimes people have off days so run your own race to the very best of your ability and then you can look back afterwards with no regrets. “Celebrate your successes” – too often we forget to celebrate a strong run, a new PB, an individual prize / medal or a team medal. Take time to celebrate your successes as they don’t happen very often.
What’s your running ambition going forward?
I’d like to break 35 minutes for a 10k, break 57mins for a 10 miler and ideally get close to another sub 2:50 marathon. I have unfinished business with Rotterdam marathon after a disastrous last 10k in 2014. I still believe all of these goals are achievable despite recently moving in the O45 age category.