20 Questions for Yvonne Dowling

Published in Members on 14th February 2013


I am originally from Roscommon.  I always played sport at school with my club, Oran.  In fact I have an under-14 All Ireland camogie medal with my club which ironicaly I won here in Athenry at a Feile na nGael . I also played gaelic football for Michael Cusacks Club in Sydney Australia.  I have always been involved in sport, but unfortunately for various reasons lost my way with it in the last 10 years.

One day I was fundraising for my daughter's school with a 5 k run.  I remember sitting there collecting the money from the runners for the race and I was thinking I'd love to be able to run 5k.  I must have said it out loud because it caught the ear of none other than Deirdre Quinn who told me I would be well able. I remember thinking she is mad.  But before Deirdre left she got my e-mail address and the rest is history.  I joined the Fit4Life  in May 2011, began to take it seriously in October, and trained properly for the Fields 10k that Christmas. Ten months later, I ran the Dublin City Marathon.  This is not me boasting: it's more to let any one thinking about joining this club that the support is wonderful, the people are the best, and before you know it you will be running miles and miles and enjoying it. 

My running motto is "It's great to be Alive" . My special thanks to the Fit4Life for getting me started and to all the unbelievable people that were in that group.  To all the wonderful advice and support from all the experienced runners.  Don't want to mention names in case I forget anyone, but you know who you are.  A very special thanks to Caroline, Claire, Marie, and Shirley, my running buddies,  Thanks for the ears you gave me, the laughs, and most of all your wonderful friendships and unconditional support.  Thanks for encouraging me to press the button and register for the Dublin City Marathon; a "dream I never thought I had" come true.  Thank you to everyone in the club.  I think that covers it. 


1. What running shoes do you train in?


2. How many miles did you run last week?

    20 miles

3. What’s your favourite racing distance?

   10 miles

4. Where’s your favourite place to train?

    The Esker route

5. What’s your favourite event or race each year?

    10 mile in Craughwell

6. What annoys you most at races?

    When there are long queue's for toilets and when the start line is too crowded

7. What race, that you haven’t yet run, would you most like to take part in?

   The New York Marathon and failing this the Connemara Half Marathon

8. What was your best-ever running performance?

10k Great Galway Race June 2012 .  Time 55:56.

9. What was your worst-ever running performance?

Athenry Fields 10k 2012

10. What’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen on a training run?

I think the morning of the 10th Anniversary run and everyone slipping and sliding on the icy roads but everyone still carrying on running chatting and laughing away as if the roads were clear and it like a summer morning event.

11. Favourite piece of running gear?

     My Athenry AC running Singlet

12. Who would you most enjoy beating in a sprint for the line?

Jane Ann Meehan and Mick Rice.  I Would love to see their faces as I look back when I pass them out with 50 meters to go (and then I woke up)

13. What was the best bit of training advice you were ever given?

The Best advice I was given by Deirdre Quinn  when I first started Fit 4 Life was that the first 10 minutes is the hardest and when you get over that this the body warms up and you can run forever.  Any time i go out and think I cant do this I tell myself stay going for 10 minutes and ill be ok.  I have passed on this advice to so many people and it has got them over the worst and they have continued running.   She also told me that I needed to turn up twice a week for training otherwise I would find it so hard and she was right there too. Thanks Deirdre.

14. In ten years time will you still be running?

Yes , as long as I still can.

15. If for some reason you were told you could never run again, how do you think you’d react?

I would go mad.  Running has changed my life in so many ways.  As well as the fitness I would miss the chats and fun with all the wonderful positive people I have met since I have joined Athenry AC. And most of all the girls that I run with would never do the long distance without me talking them through the miles and for that reason alone I have to stay running. 

16. Have you ever been bitten by a dog while running?

No thank god. because I am so afraid of dogs that I dont know what i would do if I was.   I usually hide behind the others and push them out to fend for me.  Its a fight or flight situation and I usually throw the others to the lions ( or in this case the dogs).  Sorry girls !!!!!!

17. Have you ever had to stop for an emergency "Paula" during a race?

 I would like to answer No to this but unfortunately any of my running buddies know that is not the case.  To put it simply I would have many a PB if it wasn't for our beloved "paula".

18. Favourite post-race food?

Bananas and a cup of strong tea and brack with jam.

 19. Most embarrassing ever running-related moment?

I have racked my brain to try and put some thing in for this question.  I suppose one that comes to mind is when I had just started running and knew nothing about what happens on race days.  So it was the 5k fundraiser race in monivea and it was raining so heavy.  Before the race every one was in their shorts and singlets and there was i in a heavy track suit in case I got cold and a big heavy rain jacket.  I was only gone 1k when I felt so silly cos I was roasting and had to carry the big jacket the remaining 4 k. I learned a very 'heavy' lesson that day, but fortunately did not repeat the clothing mistake since.

20. The greatest Irish Athlete of all time is/was?

  Paul Hession. For all he has achieved for himself, The club and Ireland.  I remember when he was the fastest white man in the world and he came home to a reception in the square in Athenry and he was so friendly talking to every one and we all got pictures taken with him.  I really admired and appreciated the way he presented all the kids with their medals at the 10k 2012 in the pouring rain.  Well done Paul.