Published in Club News on 21st June 2023
Mark is a stalwart of the club, a long-time member who organizes the Connemara Run each year in Spring. (If you haven't participated, try to make it in the coming years, it's a lot of fun and a great day out). His wife is Carmel Mitchell who is a swimmer. His kids are Ethan, 15 years old, and Nicole, 13. He works at Alcon Pharmaceuticals (formerly Aerie Pharmaceuticals) in Athlone as a Packaging Technician.
1. How long have you been an Athenry AC member?
I remember calling into the Fields gift shop when we bought our house in 2003 to ask were there any running clubs around. I was told to contact Peter Delmer or Mick Rice. So I guess since 2003 on and off. I did join Craughwell Ac for a year or two, I didn't look good in green and white !
2. Briefly, what started you running?
I have always run, since primary school. I won athlete of the year twice in Primary my first real running awards...I wont say what years !
I love running. I feel guilty if I miss a run unless it's a rest day. Get out there, even if it's just 1 mile.
3. What shoes do you train/race in?
Asics Novablast or Nimbus. I'm flat footed (low arches) so Asics are a great fit for orthotics too.
4. What piece of running gear/apparel is your most prized possession?
I would have to say my orthotics, I don't think I would be still running without them.
5. What is your favourite event/race of the year?
Is this a trick question ?...The Fields of Athenry 10k !?
6. What event/race that you haven’t done would you most like to compete in?
Boston Marathon or the Barkley Marathons !
7. What performance/race do you take most pride in?
I would have to say Belfast Marathon 2014, I ran 3:12 mins, it still remains my Marathon PB. I brought the whole family to the Marathon and stayed in a small hotel room in Jurys Belfast.
I slept for no more than 2 hours, in a hot room where the windows did not open.The kids having pillow fights in the early hours of the morning. Don't know how I ran so well that day, maybe the hills and views over Belfast gave me a hit.
8. Is there any performance/race that you would rather forget?
Cork Marathon 2015, I crashed and burned big time. I thought I was in prime condition mentally and physically for this one and had trained really hard. My set plan was a 3:09 finish. I finished in 3:27.
On the bus on the way hope I felt so disappointed and upset. How did this happen? what did I do wrong? What happened me? and many more questions I had wrote down and tried to answer them over the next few days. I took 3 days off bought a new pair of runners and got myself back out the door.
9. Where is your favourite place to train?
I work in Athlone so after work I love to run up to Coosan point, stop for a minute at 5 miles and look out onto Lough Ree, a lovely 10 miler round trip with hills and turns. I also love running along Salthill, early in the morning before it gets busy. Really anywhere alongside water I guess.
In Athenry, down by Esker the beautiful tree lined road with wooden fence just after Esker Concrete to the monastery, feels like I'm running in Canada or Northern California without the risk of a bear jumping out!
10. What type of training is your “favourite”? (Speed,Tempo,Short,Long Run,Slow?)
Speed and Long, where us runners get our low resting heart rates from !
11. Do you prefer solo or group training?
Solo mostly. As I just get out when I can. Saturday Athenry club group sessions are great when I can make it.
12. What’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve seen or heard on a run?
"Run like you stole something" Belfast 2014
13. If you were to give one piece of advice to a newcomer to running what would it be?
Get yourself a nice pair of flashy runners, you'll look fast 🙂. And start with the basics. Listen to your body, us runners are disciplined but can be stubborn, if you're tired, rest.
14. What injury has caused you the most problems since you started running?
I had knee injuries, and was told I should stop running. Achilles tendonitis also was a long injury going into the Dublin Marathon 2010. Other than that, not bad considering the years I am running.
15. Do you cross train? If yes what type?
Yes, I have a range of exercise tools in the garage.
16. What is your most embarrassing running-related incident?
A wet T-shirt, bleeding nipples, diarrhea run to a bush
17. Which club member would you most like to beat in a sprint to the line?
Anyone who's ahead of me wearing an Athenry singlet, watch out !
18. Do you have a favourite current or past athlete that inspires you?
Sonia O'Sullivan, Paula Radcliffe, Usain Bolt (big fan )
19. Which PB would you most like to break this year?
Keep on running
20. Can you share the following PBs with us?
Jaysus, these is a hard ones to remember, especially when I dont have all times on my phone. If I go searching Philip will have to wait another month for these 20 Qs. Here goes...
Distance Time Where When
5k 18:55 Dublin 2016
8k 30:10 Donegal 2021
10k 37:05 min Denver, Colorado 2006
10 mile 1hr 09 min Craughwell 10 2017
Half Marathon 1hr 27min Dublin Half /
Adidas series 2007
Full Marathon 3 hr 12 min Belfast 2014