Published in Members on 7th June 2015
1. What running shoes do you train in?
Currently, Brooks PureFlow for training. I’ve just come back to Brooks shoes after a bit of a break and they suit me well. I have some Brooks racing flats as well which were great in the 5km series, and Inov-8 Mudclaw fell racing shoes which haven’t had any use (yet) since moving to Oranmore from the north of England.
2. How many miles did you run last week?
3. What’s your favourite racing distance?
I prefer distances where there’s a bit of time to settle in and “enjoy” the racing. Either the half-marathon or marathon are my favourites.
4. Where’s your favourite place to train?
In Galway, it’s somewhere I can easily run to from home in Oranmore. Renville Park is lovely, but I have a route that heads up behind the station, up to Galway Clinic and then back along the coast road which has some stunning views.
Back in the UK, somewhere with lots of hills and footpaths - either the Lake District, or the Pennines from my parents-in-law’s house.
5. What’s your favourite event or race each year?
I always look forward to cross-country season as well, which goes back to getting into running as a teenager through being picked for the school team.
I’ve not done many races more than once, but of the ones I have the Lakeland Trails marathon at Coniston is my favourite.
6. What annoys you most at races?
This might not be a popular answer, but I don’t like people wearing headphones during races which I think comes from a marathon when we were heading down a narrow country lane I was constantly getting nudged the runner next to me who couldn’t hear I was running next to them.
Another niggle I have at races is when people just throw their water bottles or empty gel packets to the side of the road - please wait and drop them in the next bin.
7. What race, that you haven’t yet run, would you most like to take part in?
There’s lots. London (I’m in for 2016), Berlin and Zegama-Aizkorri marathons are high on the list and I’d love to do some of the classic long fell races, particularly the Isle of Jura and the Lakeland 50.
But if I was told I only had one more chance to run in a race then the event I’d pick would have to be the Boston marathon.
8. What was your best-ever running performance?
Strictly in terms of best performance, probably my 17:34 at Galway Airport in the 2015 5km series.
The two results I’m most proud of though are both from 2013: finishing 16th at the Lakeland Trails marathon in July and then going under 3 hours at the Chester marathon in October.
9. What was your worst-ever running performance?
Exactly one week after my best performance: missing the start of the Tuam 5km by six minutes or so after getting stuck in traffic on the drive up, and only getting a time from the finish mat as they’d taken up the timing mat at the start by the time I got there.
10. What’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen on a training run?
While I was doing some track training last summer, one of the Warrington Wolves rugby players waiting patiently for me to pass before he went to retrieve a ball that had gone from infield where they were training across the track. He wouldn’t have noticed if I’ds run into him as he was about twice the size of me!
11. Favourite piece of running gear?
Apart from my running shoes, it’s probably the pack I use to carry water, food and extra clothes on my longest training runs: an Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest.
12. Who would you most enjoy beating in a sprint for the line?
For me, beating anyone in a sprint finish would be an achievement - I can’t sprint for toffee.
13. What was the best bit of training advice you were ever given?
Being shown how to stretch properly and use a foam roller after a nasty bout of IT band trouble.
14. In ten years’ time will you still be running?
I hope so.
15. If for some reason you were told you could never run again, how do you think you’d react?
Initially, it would be gutting but as long as I could still be active I’d be ok and would probably take up cycling to keep moving.
16. Have you ever been bitten by a dog while running?
No, but several dogs have had a fair try.
17. Have you ever had to stop for an emergency "Paula" during a race?
Not during a race...
18. Favourite post-race food?
After a long race I like a freshly cooked, quality burger.
19. Most embarrassing ever running-related moment?
Spraining my ankle about a mile into the six-mile Heptonstall Grand Depart Fell Race last July. The embarrassment really came the next day as we were taking our daughters (at the time they were four months and two-and-a-half years) to watch a stage of the Tour de France. I could hardly walk, let alone carry either of the girls, so my wife ended up carrying one her back and one on her front for most of the day. Sorry Eleanor.
20. The greatest Irish athlete of all time is / was?
Being a cross-country runner, I’d say Fionnuala Britton.