So, I finally got fed up of Pat McDonagh and Tomas Ruane talking about running. Couldn't meet for a social pint but the conversation would always turn to race times, training plans, beating this lad and that lad in recent races, will I ever be able to run a half marathon etc etc.. And for a non-runner such as myself I really couldn't see the attraction. But their persistence paid off and they finally wore me down. I bought a cheap pair of Asics and took to the road.
I started running for fun back in 2009. After a few weeks of solo training my first race was the Streets & a couple of weeks after that I did Gaelforce West. Like many others I foolishly thought I was naturally fit & would be fine. At 65k long with Croagh Patrick thrown in the middle of it, it nearly killed me. It was an eye opener.
Our first joint questionnaire: Mr Otto himself and his wife Anne.
We moved to Athenry about 15 years ago. We are both originally from Athlone, although we never knew each other there we met while working in France and sure the rest is history. We have 2 children Grace and Jack who in their younger years were great supporters at any races that we took part in but, as they got older not as much. We both joined Athenry AC in 2008 and have to say that it is a great club.
I started running five years ago. After I finally gave up the GAA my weight soared so it was a suggestion by my wife Claire to see if I liked it. Well I loved it and haven't looked back. I joined Athenry AC a year later and am proud to be part of the best club in Ireland!
I've ran in Prague and Rome and in London and its wonderful to hear "Go on Athenry" where ever you are. With the farm and working evenings, I train mostly in the mornings around Dunsandle and generally have set plans leading up to big races. People don't wonder at this once regular lad now running around the woods in a pair of black tights, funny shoes, an orange top and wearing sunglasses in the rain, although they took a while! Its easy be conscious of what people think at first but you have to get over it. Biggest event so far was the recent Ultra Marathon [Connemara] which I completed in 6.20.
Peadar, along with Martin Keane, is a Life President of our club. A native of West Clare, he moved to Galway in November 2004, having worked for 35 years in Dublin. He has a long and distinguished career in athletics, winning a silver medal at the NACA national championships back in the early 1970s in the Triple Jump. Now 69, Peadar still does this event and won a Masters silver at the Galway T&F Champs this year. He also competed in the 100m and ran a fine 16.2. Peadar has run the Dublin Marathon every year since its inauguration in 1980. In 2011, he ran it in 4:22:07.
For those who've been off the planet for the past six years, Paul is a member of our club and competes in the 200m at the upcoming London Olympics. His races are on Tuesday the 7th, and then the 8th, and 9th August. Paul was born and bred in Athenry (see http://www.paulhession.co/biography.html). He's not yet aware of it but our runners have renamed the road where his parents' live, as in "Will we go up by Hession's road?"; negotiations for a formal name change are ongoing with the county council.
Of Irish parentage, Kellie moved to Ireland from England in her early twenties. She commutes to...Ballina three days a week and, yeah, that's the Ballina in County Mayo. Let no one else complain about not having time to train. She's married to Damien Burke who treats sports injuries and has two small kids. Currently she is accompanying Assumpta, Michelle Tooher, and Ann Hunter in their Dublin Marathon training but has not yet signed up for the race. My money is on her running it and doing well.
Frank joined Athenry AC in 2008 and applied himself steadily to the difficult task we've all experienced of getting back to real exercise in adulthood. Unfortunately, he suffered a series of injuries, including falling off a ladder, which kept him out for two years. He's back now and has recently competed in the Galway 5k Series and the Headford 8k. The Dublin Marathon is his main goal in 2012. In case you were wondering, and some do, Frank is a brother of Maeve Noone and a brother-in-law of Frank Burke.