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Profiles, tips & news p10


Features & news p58


8-page special p70

FEBRUARY / MARCH €4.75 / £4.20



Kathryn Thomas: Operation Transformation



WIN New Balance 870v3


Pairs to be won


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editor’s letter

NEW YEAR GREETINGS A New Running Year - and already the first precious month has slipped away. All the indicators are that this will be another extremely busy running year; it was good to see record entries in both the AXA Raheny 5 Mile Road race on January 26 and the annual John Treacy Dungarvan 10 on the same day. This was the 30th anniversary of the AXA Raheny 5 Mile event and we will include a special celebration feature in our next issue, published on March 20. A popular feature of the Raheny event is the special events for children. This is something many other road race event organisers should be encouraged to adopt and add to their promotions. It will be interesting this year to see if runners will swing towards the road events that offer better value for entry. The Irish road race events market is now very cluttered; almost bursting at the seams. There is a wide diversity of entry prices too; some offering decent packages for entrants but many others promoting more in the way of hype than real value. I believe that this year there will be much more focus on health and safety issues relating to road events. It is paramount for all road race organisers to ensure that the full complement of medical services is available at all events- big and small. The Irish Runner 5 Mile Road Race - the first event in the Dublin Race Series - will this year take place on Saturday, June 21 - a date for your diary. There was good news for the Dublin Race Series and the Dublin Marathon organisers at the close of last year when it was confirmed that Airtricity will be supporting the Marathon and the Race Series for the next three years. This sponsorship guarantee is a big boost for the Dublin Race Series and the Marathon organisers who can now push forward with their plans for the 2014 events. The Athletics Ireland Road Race Organising Team has some busy months ahead, too - with events like the RTE Operation Transformation 5K, the Samsung Run Dublin @Night 10K and the Ray D’Arcy/Laura Lynn Half-Million-Half-Marathon fundraiser in the Phoenix Park on Good Friday - just three of the events on a rapidly growing list that the AI Recreational Running Department organises and manages. It is a year now since the magnificent International Indoor Arena at Athlone IT opened its doors. Twelve months on, the value of this wonderful indoor track and facilities is being fully realised and appreciated. The indoor track & field season is already in full swing and there have been some very impressive performances delivered in Athlone in the past few weeks, with lots more to come. We will include a round-up of the indoor track & field season in the next issue - as well as coverage of what remains of the cross-country season. We have a number of inspirational columns and features in this issue of Irish Runner, as well as one feature which carries an important health warning for runners training or racing offroad, on trails or in forests. Our Hannah Nolan Special Report by Rory Hafford on pages 32-35 of this issue comes with a warning for all runners regarding the dangers that can lie deep in the trails and woodlands around the country. We are deeply grateful to Hannah Nolan for sharing the traumatic story of how she contracted Lyme Disease. I look forward to meeting up with many of our readers at the various road race promotions; of which there are many this year. I will update you on how my own fitness programme is progressing in the next issue, published on March 20. Until then, happy and healthy running. Frank Greally Managing Editor

special report



Hannah Nolan contracted Lyme disease in 2013 after a training run through Avondale Forest. Rory Hafford talks to her about the long road back to recovery and the lessons that every runner should learn about this devastating illness

JASON BYRNE See page 8

Subscribe to Irish Runner & receive a FREE GIFT of the new Fit4life Training Diary

On the Cover

RTE Operationa Transformation presenter Kathryn Thomas is a regular runner. Photo: Pat Murphy,

Subscriptions Hotline: (01) 886 9933 or

Editor: Frank Greally. Associate Editor: Cathal Dennehy. Photography: Sportsfile, Tomás Greally, Dave Hudson, Mark Shearman, Donal Glackin. Magazine Design: Printed by: Boylan Print. Administration: Bernie Dunne, Moira Aston. Accounts: John Holian. Contributors: Asher Senyk, Claire McGlynn, John Walshe, Lindie Naughton, Joe Warne, Conor O’Hagan, Cathal Dennehy, Malcolm McCausland, Conor Greally, Rory Hafford, Roy Stevenson, Gavin McGuinness, Patricia Murphy. Advertising Sales Manager: Jason McChesney, email: Published by: Athletics Ireland, Unit 19 Northwood Court, Northwood, Business Campus, Santry, Dublin 9. Telephone: (01) 886 9933. Email: Irish Runner 3

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42 ANKERS AWAY Brian Ankers has a massive appetite for running a prodigious capacity for enjoying what he does, writes Gavin McGuinness.

Cathal Dennehy Reports


Golden Goals

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Irish Runner 5

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HEAVENLY TRAILS Starting from the Raheen Park car park, the trail brings you right up onto the top of Bray Hill, offering stunning views of the east coast, right up as far as Lambay Island. The trail then continues along the cliffs for 7km into Greystones. Be sure to look out for nesting seabirds along the cliffs during the summer months as well as grey seals, which can be seen from the cliffs.

6 Irish Runner

Location: Bray Head Runner: Ilona Madden Photographer: D贸nal Glackin

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Irish Runner 7

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8 Irish Runner

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Funny Man With Fleet Feet Comedian Jason Byrne hopes to run his first marathon in New York later this year. The Dubliner spoke to Cathal Dennehy about his plans for the year, why he can never go running with his wife, and why the memory of a Leinster Schools 1500m race still haunts him today. PHOTOS: DAVID MAHER / SPORTSFILE.COM

Have you much of a running background? Y eah, I started when I was seven and won my school sports day every year until fifth class. That was the first time they gave out a trophy, and I lost because I stepped in a pothole. After school I started working and stopped running, then j ust did the odd bit. When I got into stand-up, I realised I had to get a bit fitter so I did more, on and off. Four years ago I was asked to do a show on ITV , and had to learn Irish dancing. First day, though, my trainer says to me: ‘ I can’t teach you Irish dancing unless you’re fit. Y ou’re a mess.’ And then I started running, and haven’t stopped since. You’ve committed to run the New York Marathon in November. How’s training going? Great. I usually do 10-14K in training, but I haven’t trained with people before. By that, I don’t mean I train with animals, a load of ducks and dogs, but group running. I’m going to try to get into one of the 10Ks here soon, because I haven’t really run with people since school. J ohn and Y vonne here at Stringer Fitness decided they’re going to run the N ew Y ork Marathon s o I said I’d j oin them; we’re going to do it for Temple Street Chi ldren’s Hospital. How hard is it to fit the training in around work? R ight now, until mid-M arch, it’s perfect. I’m doing something like 40 Irish gigs and I can train in the mornings. I’m going to Australia and N ew Zeal and then and I’m staying on the coast, so I’ll do loads of running out there. D es Bishop will be over there too, so he’ll j ump in. He trains all the time, but he won’t do marathons anymore; he ran D ublin and knackered himself. When I come back, I’ve got more D ublin gigs, the Kilkenny Comedy Festival, a bit of holidays, then into the Edi nburgh Festival

and off on the British tour, which goes until D ecember. I’ll have the N ew Y ork M arathon smack bang in the middle of that. Where’s the best place you’ve ever gone for a run? It has to be M elbourne. I went for a run there on Chr istmas D ay, along the coast. It was the weirdest experience, running along in boiling heat, past people dressed as reindeers. Whenever I’m gigging, I run. I’ve run all over Edi nburgh, all over Britain and N ew Zeal and.

It’s the best thing you can do in the world, and it’s free.

What’s the best thing about being a runner? Stress relief. If you have something in your day that you think is a big problem, get out. R un like a loon - it doesn’t even have to be that far - and by the time you get back the problems are in the bin. Y ou don’t care. It helps everything, helps you be more energetic on stage, helps you think more, stops you being lazy. Y ou get up earlier, eat less crap. I was amazed how much my body goes, ‘Ah, I don’t fancy a M ars bar, I wouldn’t mind an orange’. Least favourite thing about running? The hardest part is saying you’re going to do it; j ust getting off the couch and saying ‘I’m going to go for a run’. The more you do it, the easier that gets, though. If you’re starting running, it’s crap for about a month; you’re going: ‘what am I doing this for? ’, but then it’s great – the adrenaline

rush, the stress relief. It’s the best thing you can do in the world, and it’s free. Funniest running memory? I ran a Lei nster Schools 1500m. I had no trainers and I thought I’d wear no shoes to get a bit of extra speed. I started off and thought it was deadly and led for two laps, but turns out the lads j ust used me as a pacemaker. They flew by me and then my calf seized up - turned to concrete, I fell over and the teacher came over and had to give me a j ockey back to the stands. Who would you most like to go for a run with? Pamela Anderson. Who’d make you laugh most on the run? J ohnny V egas. He wouldn’t want to do it, though. I’ll go for End a Kenny, because you’d have a great laugh listening to him. Who wouldn’t you go for a run with? M e and the wife don’t work out too well on a run. She’s a brilliant runner but we have different paces, so we’d kill each other. What makes you more nervous: standing on the start line of a race or getting ready to go on stage for a stand-up gig? Starting this marathon in N ew Y ork; I’ll be way more nervous. It’s my j ob to do standup, so I can control those nerves, but not when I’m running a marathon. Have you a target time? I said four hours in my head, j ust so I don’t leg it for the first half, but I hope to get close to 3: 3 0. I j ust want to get around. I’ll be wheeled off after it. Fogra: Support Jason Byrne Temple Street Hospital marathon fundraiser – Follow @stringerfitness and @thejasonbyrne to keep up to date on Jason’s journey to New York. Irish Runner 9

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health+fitness WITH RORY HAFFORD

Kathryn Thomas Leads the Kathryn Thomas has plenty of empathy with Irish runners who may have wavered in their training over the Festive Season and who are now struggling to get back up the fitness ladder, writes Frank Greally. The RTE TV Operation Transformation presenter and Voice of Ireland host is quick to admit that a hectic work schedule, as well as numerous social commitments, put her own training off-track for some weeks pre-Christmas, but she is back in full stride, enjoying her running and looking forward to some new challenges in 2014. For four years now Kathryn has led the RTE Operation Transformation fitness crusade that has reached into communities across the country and encouraged thousands of people to take ownership of their own health and fitness.

You can sense, when she presents the seven-week Operation Transformation series, that Kathryn has great empathy too with the Leaders, who each year volunteer to share on TV their testing experiences on the road to fitness. “It’s a wonderful experience to see the Leaders being put through their first fitness test by Karl Henry and then seven weeks later to see the transformation that has occurred in each of them,“ Kathryn said. “In that first test, some of the Leaders will struggle to walk or jog a few hundred metres,“ she said. “However, with application and commitment and plenty of help and encouragement from our team of experts, they will all be able to complete the Operation Transformation 5K in the Phoenix Park, which is on February 22 this year. You can see their transformation evolve,

“The great thing is that once you get back running, you can quickly see progress provided you train consistently. It’s the very same for the six Leaders on Operation Transformation - every little bit of training helps get you nearer to your goal.”

fit tips CLAIRE McGLYNN Breaking in new shoes Never wear a brand new pair of shoes on race day, as this could cause blisters and cuts and could lead to other injuries. Also, never go out on a long run in a brand new pair of shoes. The time needed to break in a pair of shoes depends on your own physical circumstances, how long your races/runs are and how much running you do. Ideally, it's best to have a transitional period where you're 10 Irish Runner

wearing both your old shoes and your new ones, in order to phase out the old ones. Ask our experts in-store for advice on breaking in your new shoes! Everyone deserves expert advice. Blisters Blisters can be a nuisance and can stop you from exercising when you want to keep going. They are small pockets of fluid that form on the upper layers of your skin in order to

protect the tissue below. In sport, they're usually caused by repetitive friction, rubbing and/or heat. Some people are more prone to blisters than others. You can avoid this by applying lots of vaseline to the usual points where you get blisters on your feet AND on your socks AND on your shoes! Good sports stores also sell special clothing, socks, anti-chaffing balms and lubricants which prevent blisters from occurring.

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Fitness Crusade slowly but surely each year and that is something I love to witness.” Kathryn is passionate about her own running and identifies the Phoenix Park as her favourite training ground. A native of Carlow, Kathryn discovered that running was a good way to ‘clear the head’ when she was a boarder at Kings College in Dublin. These days she enjoys running an average of four times a week with her partner Padraig McLoughlin, who has a marathon best time of 3:19:26. “Padraig has run 14 marathons, though he only took up running about four years ago,“ Kathryn said. “Like so many others, he discovered health and fitness benefits through running and now he is committed to regular training.” Kathryn and Padraig vary their training routes; sometimes running in the Phoenix Park, but on other occasions they will take in a city run along by the Liffey from near the Phoenix Park all the way down to the O2 Theatre and back. “I have come to love running through the city at night; it adds a bit of variety to the training too,“ Kathryn said. Like many runners, Kathryn Thomas has found it difficult getting back into full stride as the new year unfolds. She puts a high value on maintaining her fitness levels and also does gym workouts with personal trainers Paul and Siobhan Byrne. “I know what it’s like to put on a few extra pounds over Christmas and then struggle for a little while to get back in shape,“ she said. “The great thing is that once you get back running, you can quickly see progress - provided you train

Clothes for sweating in Nobody likes huge sweat patches, so don't buy heavy cotton T-shirts for moderate to intense exercise! The cotton material will increase your temperature, which will make you sweat more and feel uncomfortable. There is a wide range of clothing available in all good sports stores with antiodour and moisture wicking technologies which keep you cool in hot conditions and warm in cold conditions, like Nike's Drifit,

consistently. It’s the very same for the six Leaders on Operation Transformation every little bit of training helps get you nearer to your goal.” Kathryn will be hoping to increase her training mileage in the next few months as she prepares to run in the Ray D’Arcy Half Million/Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park on Good Friday, April 18 - the big fundraiser for the Laura Lynn Hospice. “I have made a commitment to Ray to run in this event, which is for a very worthy cause,“ she said. “I will need to keep my training on track for this event, so it gives me a target to aim for.” In the meantime, along with the RTE expert panel; fitness expert Karl Henry, dietitian Aoife Hearne, GP Dr Ciara Kelly and clinicial pyschologist Dr Eddie Murphy, Kathryn will be providing her usual enthusiastic support to the six Leaders; Deirdre O’Donovan, Jennifer Bonus, Marc Gibbs, Sarah Campbell, Siobhan McKillen and Paudie O’Mahoney. Last year the Operation Transformation Leaders surpassed all early targets and collectively lost 11 stone 6 pounds. In this issue we feature one of those Leaders; Gavin Walker, who has since completed the Dublin Marathon and another of last year’s Leaders, Monica Percy, told us her story in Irish Runner Yearbook. “A good few of the Leaders from Operation Transformation over the past three years have continued to enjoy running as a new lifestyle,“ Kathryn Thomas said. “It is nice to feel that you have played some small part in making that happen for them.”

adidas' Climacool, Under Armour's Heat Gear and Cold Gear and Asics running clothing. Base layers More injuries occur in cold weather, due to the fact that muscles become tight and take longer to warm up. Ireland's climate isn't the warmest, so always make sure you are properly warmed up before you exercise. Stay warm in these early months with base layer tops, shorts and leggings.

MasterChef’s Recipe

David Gillick’s Turkey & Spinach Wrap Ingredients 150g turkey 1 whole grain wrap Good handful of spinach 50g feta cheese 1/2 avocado pear Tomato purée Garlic purée Mixed salad leaves Fresh basil Mixed peppers Coconut oil Method Heat pan with coconut oil. Add mixed diced peppers, 1 pepper in total per person Leave for 2-3min Add chopped turkey tenderloin Salt and pepper Brown off turkey and add a good squeeze of tomato and garlic purée. Add half a cup of water and mix. Leave for 1min Add handful of spinach, feta cheese and chopped avocado. Prep your wrap with fresh mixed leaves and add basil to wrap and also pan. To finish, simply transfer half the contents of pan onto wrap. You can add another wrap if you wish or just have the remaining half in the side. Irish Runner 11

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health+fitness WITH RORY HAFFORD

Conor Rises to the Challenge Rory Hafford talks to Conor Kenny about living and running with haemochromatosis - and the philosophy that helps him manage it HAEMOCHROMATOSIS IS A big word, with ever bigger implications. Basically speaking, it’s a genetic disorder that results in too much iron in the blood. And, if that weren’t bad enough, the real kicker is that it shows a particular liking for Irish and Celtic people! Some of the symptoms of haemochromatosis, including chronic fatigue and arthritis, can be particularly debilitating for runners; as Connor Kenny will testify. The Raheny man found himself sitting in front of his doctor only to be told that he was a sufferer. He took the philosophical approach: “Any diagnosis that comes out of the blue is a very good reminder that this journey we are on must come to an end at some point. It also highlights a quote that I am particularly fond of: man plans for the future and God smiles.” The things that you never see coming are the things that hit hardest! One thing this diagnosis did for Conor was re-frame his thinking. He knew that this disease could, ultimately, prove fatal. It also made him enormously grateful for running and the part it has played in his life. “People have asked me over the years if I enjoy running. And, I’d have to say that I don’t actually enjoy the running itself; I enjoy what I get out of it. The rewards that running bestows are way deeper than the sacrifice you make by getting out of the bed on a Saturday to go for the run.” There is truth in running; sometimes a brutal truth. And it is this truth that Connor Kenny craves. “There are no hiding places for the dedicated runner; only opportunities to face up to your real self.” Conor belongs to the Sports World Running Club based in Terenure in Dublin. It is his home from home, his heart, his people. “A running club is like a little village. It allows you to come down from your day job and grounds you without trying to. Runners are a very cheerful, positive lot. Your village used to be the people you lived beside. Now it’s your club. It’s your support network.” You get the distinct impression that Conor is ever grateful for the camaraderie of his club and for the life-enhancing challenge that it provides him every weekend. “I love to race,” he says, the enthusiasm breaking free from his voice. “The BHAA is hugely important to me, as a result. It’s like a 12 Irish Runner

When you come back from a hard run and you are covered head to toe in mud, it really doesn’t matter what you do for a living.

travelling circus and every weekend it takes us to a place where we put our bodies and our hearts on the line. I love it.” Conor’s approach to his life-impacting condition is to meet it head on; but he knows he can do that because he has a lot of help in his corner, and that help revolves around his running community. “The people I am surrounded by tell you the truth. They tell you the truth about yourself. And that’s what I like. It is also a classless society: when you come back from a hard run and you are covered head to toe in mud, it really doesn’t matter what you do for a living. We are all the same at that point.” A diagnosis of haemochromatosis is a frightening prospect for the vast majority of people; but this hardened 56-year-old professional has a steely philosophy that has been honed on the running tracks of Ireland. “We only have one body and we can’t get spare parts for it that easily. For me, it’s exactly the same as buying a car. If you want to flog the hell out of it, it will break down. If you take care of it and put the right stuff into it, it will serve you well.” Like most of us who get out and pound the pavement, Conor is tuned to his body, alive to its peaks and troughs. And with the years of training he has behind him, he knows he can manage this condition. The savage honesty of running will see him through.

Focus on Haemochromatosis Symptoms can include: • Chronic fatigue • Abdominal pain • Arthritis • Diabetes • impotence • Liver disorders • Skin pigmentation Treatment: The only method of removing excess iron from the body is by removing the blood. Every unit of blood removed contains 250mg of iron. Treatment can result in weekly phlebotomy (blood draining) sessions for one to two years. Who is at risk? Haemochromatosis is an inherited disorder. Therefore, it can affect anyone who has a ‘familial risk’. In an at-risk family, siblings stand at least a 1-in-4 chance of being affected. Early detection and treatment will prevent all the complications of the disease. (SOURCE: IRISH HAEMOCHROMATOSIS ASSOCIATION)

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On the Run with…

Joint Relief!

Colin Feely

A new study has found that glucosamine is best served up in supplement form, simply because finding foods that contain this major molecule are hard to come by. OK, if you can get your hands on crabs, oysters and the shells of prawns, you can increase your glucosamine intake that way. But in these austere times, maybe that’s not practical. The literature shows that glucosamine is still up at the top of the list of little helpers when it comes to protecting joint mobility. It’s a pretty simple molecule that contains the sugar glucose. And it lives naturally in the connective tissue and the joints; areas of the body that are essential to the business of running! Research has shown that glucosamine can provide significant pain relief in about half of arthritis sufferers; especially the osteoarthritis version that has a preference to target sportspeople through the wear and tear brought on by repetitive physical activity. Another major plus point for the use of glucosamine is the fact that it holds its own very well when compared to more traditional pharmaceutical pain killers like aspirin and ibuprofen. So, you can have the pain-killing properties without the nasty side-effects. And it also helps to make cartilage. So, before you put in the miles…put in the molecule!!

Colin Feely, Partner with Grant Thornton, sponsor of the Grant Thornton Corporate 5K Team Challenge How long have you been running? 3 years

What was your last race? Clontarf Half Marathon in November.

How often do you run and for how long do you usually run? I try to run 3 - 4 times a week, I rarely do less than 8K in a run and max is generally 15/16K.

When are you planning to race again? Cara Pharmacy 10 Mile on March 1.

Does anyone else in your family run? My wife, Ann-Marie is also a keen runner. What is your favourite training distance/racing distance? Probably 10K. What is your favourite running route? I live in Naas, Co Kildare and there is a nice 14K loop around the town. Do you have a favourite pair of running shoes? Asics Nimbus 13 Your personal best times for 5K, 10K, halfmarathon, marathon? 5K = 22 mins, 10K = 47 mins, half marathon = 1:48.

Do you have a favourite race? Grant Thornton 5K Corporate Challenge and Tulfarris Tough 10 Mile. What do you look for in a road race that makes you want to sign up? Challenging course, well organised, limited number of entries. How did the Grant Thornton 5K Corporate Challenge come about? My interest in running obviously had a part to play, combined with a gap in the running calendar for a ‘Corporate Team’ event. I also wanted to promote a corporate social event that didn’t involve alcohol. How many Grant Thornton staff took part last year? 132.

DONA® SUPPLEMENT … Dona® is a patented formulation of glucosamine sulphate that is specifically clinically proven to reduce the pain and progression of osteoarthritis. Dona® helps maintain joint health by improving lubrication and rebuilding cartilage that has been worn away by progressive age or injury. Dona® contains the maximum strength (1500mg) of active Glucosamine Sulphate Sodium Chloride and is indicated for the relief of symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee, as diagnosed by a doctor. Dona® is available in packs of 30 sachets from all pharmacies nationwide without a prescription.

Keep Running Up That Hill If you are a hill runner, you should be familiar with the term ‘adductors’. These are a group of muscles on the inner thigh which are responsible for a whole host of important functions. There are three of these muscles, all answering to names that depict their size and shape: adductor longus (the long one); adductor brevis (short, or brief); and adductor magnus (large). These muscles are especially active in a range of leg movements, but are particularly useful when running up a flight of stairs, or a hill. In this instance, the adductors work by pulling the thigh in as the leg moves forward. If you over-stress the adductors it can result in a complete tear. The way you know you have caused trauma to the site is a sudden, searing pain. A further indication is difficulty moving the injured muscle(s) away from the hip. This is your Red Flag! Immediate action is key. You should apply ice to the injured area. If swelling is apparent, you should wrap a bandage around the entire thigh. Long-term damage can be avoided by ensuring that you have bandages and ice amongst your equipment every time you go training or competing. (Source: Sports Injuries by Vivian Grisogono)

Irish Runner 13

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Good Foundations Beginners should make variety and company the cornerstones of their running programme, writes Catherina McKiernan.


hen Irish Runner asked me to contribute a column for beginners my first reaction was where do I start? There is so much running advice out there in print and on the internet, for everyone from beginners to elite athletes, it's a slight challenge to bring something new to the table, but hopefully I can give you some help regardless of what stage you are at on your running journey. By the time you read this we will be hitting the start of February. It can be a difficult time of the year for many runners. Beginners find their new year's enthusiasm waning and more experienced runners can start to feel a sense of monotony with their regular routine or suffer from injuries if they are pushing themselves too hard. The best way to deal with these problems is to find yourself a running companion or join a running group. Company and variety should be the cornerstones of your running programme. Bonding with another runner or group gives you fresh targets and motivation and helps to keep you going when you're simply not in the mood for a solitary session. That's why Athletics Ireland's Fit4Life initiative is such a great idea. If you are a beginner struggling with your running, I would strongly recommend joining your local Fit4Life group. Being part of the group will give you an extra spark and the social dimension is an added stimulus to keep you running. I see amazing results all the time in Fit4Life groups, particularly with women who might never have run before. Joining a group is probably the simplest but most beneficial step you can take. You also need to have a clear plan about what you want to achieve from running and you need to regularly freshen up your routine. There's no point in grinding out the same sessions week after week. Even if you are only beginning, you need to vary pace and location. If you have a few weeks' miles in your legs you should add speed

14 Irish Runner

Recreational running is good, but ultimately you should be aiming for the thrill and challenge of a race. sessions, fartlek runs or cross training to take the boredom out of your routine. Look at your routine every six weeks and set yourself new goals. Gradually add distance and pace to your sessions and look at possible races you can run. Recreational running is good, but ultimately you should be aiming for the thrill and challenge of a race. There's nothing like running a race and feeling the burn that you only get with competition. Once you are ready to compete you should explore the mechanics of running – your posture and whether or not you are relaxed in your running. A lot of runners I see have way too much tension in their bodies and their basic techniques are storing up injuries. That's why I am so enthusiastic about the Chi Running concept. I have been exposed to just about

every theory and system of running that's out there, but Chi Running is the one that makes most sense to me. The basic principle of Chi Running is the quest for grace and harmony in your exercise, integrating the mind and body to take the pain and grind out of your running. If you achieve that harmony – and it's something every runner can and should aspire to – you are a lot less likely to sustain injuries. Injuries, though, are a fact of life for even the best of runners. For the first couple of days after an injury, it's natural to feel disappointment, devastation even, but it's how you cope with the setbacks that can make or break your running programme. No matter how deflated you feel, remember that injuries are only shortterm and the only solution is rest. If you use your time off to really analyse your running and routine, you will come back stronger and with a fresh appetite. In my next column I will look at getting ready for a race and how to pace yourself. Until then, happy running.

You can find out more about Catherina McKiernan's running programmes at

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Our Gift of Days It took a trip to Australia for Patricia Murphy to truly appreciate the fitness revolution occurring back home and to re-ignite her motivation for the year ahead.


ith each new year comes the drive to be better than we were the year before. Fitter, healthier, a nicer person, more hard working; a wish list of ideals for our perfect selves. Whether empowered by the successes of the year before, or determined to correct our failings, we are ready to take on new challenges and new adventures. During my early-morning jogs over Christmas and New Year I was able to reflect and consider my own personal journey of 2013. A middle-aged ‘tanny granny’ who can still go out and run a sub-60 10K, even after a three month lapse in training - not too shabby, I thought as I explored lakelands, hillsides and city streets around Perth. But for me, the struggle between fitness and fatness has never really been at the heart of my motivation for exercise. For me it starts and ends with feeling good. Mental, emotional, social and spiritual fitness are far more valuable measures than VO2 max or BMI. My Christmas present this year was something more special than any money could buy. Not just because I was on a sun-kissed beach, surrounded by bronzed beauties waiting to ‘catch a set’ in the surf. Nor was it meeting my two-month-old grandson for the first time and spending fun times with my family. This year I got the gift of days - really ‘got it’; an understanding and absorption of a simple expression that just keeps on giving, a magical gift of something that is not given to us, rather something we have to earn. It’s an idea, a feeling, a desire that often comes with a painful price tag. It is part of the human condition to expect that suffering and struggle has to precede success. The hard road travelled by our heroes and inspirational figureheads leading to a place of much deeper understanding and appreciation for all that we are, all that we can be. The physical struggles of Helen Keller or the racial and political experiences of Victor Frankl

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Despite the sunshine, I found myself excited to get back home to Dublin and get stuck into a new season.

and Nelson Mandela giving us an insight into how strong and how resilient we truly are. So as I observed the beach-body beauties in Western Australia in their glorious summer weather and enjoyed the superb public facilities, I was fooled into thinking that this was a snapshot of the entire population. With 24-hour gyms on every street corner, well laid-out cycle and run tracks and outdoor olympic pools in local leisure centres, I was instantly envious of my son’s new city. But the ‘grass is greener’ bubble

quickly burst when I discovered that this is only window dressing for what lurks beneath. Australia is ranked fifth in the world for obesity. Ireland is eighth. And I wasn’t long into the new year before my facebook feed and email inbox filled up with events back home for 2014. Fun runs, theme events, adventure races, triathlons and mountain bike trails. All of them seemingly with my name on them, welcoming me, including me in a vibrant cultural revolution that is happening in my city and in my country every day of the week. They don’t care how I look on the beach or how fast I am, they just want me to come along, wear the T-shirt and add to the momentum. Despite the sunshine, I found myself excited to get back home to Dublin and get stuck into a new season. Any romantic ideas of becoming a silver surfer down under have been put on hold - at least for another few years. And although Australia is a fabulous country and home to so many of our friends and family, my sense of gratitude towards our our own small country is overwhelming. The social network of athletics clubs and sports clubs at the heart of Irish communities are a gift that has been passed down through generations. Perhaps our struggles have united us as a nation; small changes in attitude getting great results. Even if there is nothing we can do about the weather and perhaps we are behind in terms of our indoor and outdoor facilities, we really know how to make the most of what we have - our days, precious days. As a mother and a grandmother I am grateful for the gifts that have been passed on to me by my mentors and the hundreds of people that have shared their personal stories with me stories of joy and triumph. We are recognised across the world for these stories, and the qualities that we export along with our children, trusting them to grow where they are planted and share our gifts.

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Hasten Slowly Hannah Nolan shares her experience with novice and aspiring runners, answering your questions and addressing common beginner concerns. How hard/easy is it to go from 10K to a half marathon? And how can I improve my 10K time? I am currently running 5K three times per week and 8-10K once per week. Carrie, Weston Super-Mare Hi Carrie; in terms of improving your 10K time my first advice would be to try extending one of your sessions into a ‘long’ run. If your long run is longer than your 10K distance then straight away the 10k distance will seem more manageable and you will have a little extra strength and endurance to push harder in your races. As your current long run is 10K, try adding a km each week to that and building that up until you are reaching around 1hr 20 1hr 30 for your long run. The second thing to add in would be a little variety and speed work. At the moment it seems you are set into your routine of running pretty much the same runs each week, so try mixing it up a little more. The body works well with change, so in addition to building up on your long run I would recommend mixing up your midweek runs too. Take a different route, add some hills into your usual 5K distance and also add some speed intervals to one of the runs. Changing a few small things in combination should see a really good improvement in your 10K time! The next challenge of moving up from 10K to half marathon distance will use the same principle as when you originally built up from 5K to 10K. Again, your focus will be on gradually building up on your long run; adding a mile each week is a good rule of thumb. In addition to this I would also slowly increase your midweek runs so that you are aiming to be closer to five miles than your current 5K. A good way to build up your midweek runs easily is to work in time, and simply add an extra five minutes to your short runs each week. Building up to a longer distance can be as easy or as difficult as you make it – making small gradual changes each week will see you reach your final goal with no problem at all!

Build up your midweek runs easily by adding five minutes each week.

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I am a complete beginner to running (in fact attempting my first run tomorrow!). I am a little nervous and am just wondering how will I know how fast to go, how far to go and how to gauge my improvement? Emma, Carlow Hi Emma; although this is completely new to you, try not to overthink it as quite often the mental battle can be harder to overcome than the physical. Initially I would definitely work in ‘time’ rather than distance, as again this is much easier to break down. The amount of time you spend on your runs will depend on your current fitness level. If you have a basic level of fitness and are generally inactive then you would perhaps start with 20 – 30 minutes and if you are already exercising regularly then you can aim for 30 mins plus. Initially start off with a brisk walk for a warm up (5-10 mins) and then add in short running intervals jogging/walking/ jogging/walking and finish with a fiveminute walk as a cool-down. For your jogging section use trial and error to find a good speed. Your best bet is to start picking your feet up into a slow jog at approximately the same speed as your very brisk walking pace. This may feel a little slow at first, but with each interval you can tweak the pace a little more. Run for a minute and then walk for a minute to catch your breath. If you feel that you were not out of breath or challenged enough then next time you jog increase the pace very slightly. You should be aiming for ‘comfortably hard’ - i.e. hard enough that you are challenging yourself and lifting your heart rate, but not so hard that you cannot catch your breath properly or talk. Once you have gauged a comfortable pace you can slowly start increasing the time of the intervals by one or two minutes each week. Even though you are increasing your running intervals, aim to keep your recoveries to 1-2 minutes. Your running sections will continue to get longer and longer until you are running pretty much continuously with only a few (or no) recoveries! At this stage you can switch your warm-up walk to a warm-up slow jog instead. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel comfortable straight away, this is completely normal. Even for the most experienced of runners, running is not ‘easy’ all the time, so stick with it and I’m sure you’ll see great results! Remember to check out the Athletics Ireland webpage for your local Fit4life group which offers fantastic support for beginners!

Is running with music a good idea or a no-no? Mel, Wicklow Hi Mel; running with or without music is a subject I’m often asked about and there are pros and cons to both. The positives are that it can give you motivation and relieve boredom whilst running and can provide you with a ‘beat’ to help you keep an even pace. For me though, I found that when I listen to music I often lose control of my breathing as I can’t hear myself. Breathing is an important part of running and if you cannot hear yourself it can be hard to get it right. Oxygen is vital to make those muscles work as efficiently as possible and not getting the breathing right is not only uncomfortable but could also affect your pace and endurance! There is also the safety aspect; while listening to music through earphones you become less aware of your surroundings, cars, other runners etc., which could be dangerous. If you struggle to run without music, you could try using just one earphone, which means you can have the music in the background, but still get the benefit of staying safe and also being able to easily monitor your breathing.

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Ten Thoughts For the Road If you are already on your way towards achieving your dreams and ambitions for 2014, read on. If you have already fallen short on your New Year’s commitments, read on too, says Gerry Duffy, who offers ten strategies to help make this year a success. Think It might sound a little deep, but consider exactly what you want to achieve. During this period, ask yourself some powerful questions. What is my ambition? Is it realistic? When will I do it? What sacrifices are required? When will I start? This thinking period can last for ten minutes, ten days or ten weeks. It is where we consider the entire framework which will allow the pursuit of the goal. We also need to do this at every stage of the journey itself. Do constant reviews of your progress. Be honest with yourself at all times. That way you will shore up any weaknesses along the way and continually elevate your performance if required. One final element here is to write down three of four previous successes that you have had in your life. These illustrate that you have what it takes, thus ensuring you start in a very positive frame of mind. Get Specific I often hear people say that their goal is to get fit or to lose weight. These are highly commendable goals, but we can go much deeper here. Missile co-

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ordinators don’t just send a missile to a random location. They will enter very specific co-ordinates and pinpoint exactly where they wish it to strike. This works for our goals too. If we wish to go anywhere, we need to know where anywhere is. Instead of “I want to get fitter in 2014”, how about “I will train for and run the ‘Frank Duffy 10 Mile in the Phoenix Park in August”? Instead of “I want to lose weight”, try “I will lose 7 lbs on/before April 20th 2014.” It is much more commanding. The more specific we can get, the more focussed we will become. Write It Down From the age of eight until I was 30 I harboured a sporting ambition, yet for 22 years I never achieved it. In 1999 that all changed when, for the first time, I wrote down what I wanted to achieve. It was a golf ambition to reach a specific and very ambitious handicap. Simply by writing it down, I immediately became much more focussed. If this is something you have never tried, then what have you got to lose? Back in ’99 I achieved that lifetime ambition in less than six months. The experience illustrated for

me the power of simply writing down my goals and keeping them visible. It was the overriding difference when I compared them to my previous efforts. I promise you, this is powerful. Surround Yourself With Great People Nobody has ever achieved anything without help or inspiration from someone else. Who do you need to surround yourself with? A running coach? A training partner or friend to share the journey with? An inspirational figure in your life to drive your motivation? Is there a book you can read to help give you a key to your goal? In 2010 - while working towards a running ambition of mine - I surrounded myself with many people including a fellow runner, a running mentor, a nutritionist, a physio and the inspiration of a Canadian man who had died 29 years previous. If you type in ‘Terry Fox-ESPN’ into YouTube, you will find out more about who he was and why he was so inspiring for me. Who do you need to surround yourself with? Write them down beside your goals.

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Create a vision Walt Disney once wrote, “If we can see it, we can do it”. See yourself in the event. If your big sporting ambition for 2014 is the Dublin Marathon - even though it’s nine months away - create an image now of yourself at the finish line on Merrion Square. I find this a great strategy to drive my own personal motivation. Presumably this goal has been entered voluntarily; so the thought of being there probably excites you greatly. Picture it. See it. Then do it. “A dream without a plan is only a wish.” Where is your training programme? Back in 2010 - for that running ambition I mentioned - I pinned a finalphase 23-week training programme to my fridge. My running mentor suggested that once I did this, barring injury, I would be successful. He was right. It also helped greatly in knowing every week what I needed to do. There is nothing like having it in front of you. Food We can have all the skills to achieve our goals, yet we will not achieve them without both the motivation and the energy to do so. You derive energy from food, and eating quality food will hugely assist your body in achieving your physical ambition. The body is a transport vehicle and just like a car, it needs quality fuel. Food is also an ally in staving off injuries. Rest Regardless of what your ambition is, rest is when your fitness is elevated. Imagine if you never stopped making

the mobile phone, we also need to recharge our bodies and we do this by resting. One extra suggestion on this. If your rest day is taken on a Monday, plan your Sunday workout for the morning and on Tuesdays for the evening. You are only taking one day off, but you are giving your body in excess of 50 hours of recovery.

It is important to celebrate success.

The more specific we can get, the more focussed we will become.

calls on your mobile phone; sooner or later the energy in the battery would hit zero. What would you do then? You’d plug it into the wall to recharge. There is a lesson to be learned here. Just like

‘Have to’ or ‘Get to’ We all know of people who are less fortunate than us when it comes to their state of wellbeing and health. One of my personal drivers in reaching my goals is that realisation and a philosophy that recognises I am lucky. Realising that we choose to do these things is a powerful mindset to tap into if we are feeling sorry for ourselves. This works both in the months of preparation and on the day(s) itself. Remind yourself that you are the lucky one in having the health, the ability and the ambition to reach this goal. Do you ‘have to‘ do it or are you ‘getting to’ do it? You choose. Celebrate OK, so I only gave you nine. But here is a final tip that I believe is so important. When you have achieved your goal, celebrate the success. It can be easy to move on to the next ambition without acknowledging the achievement you have just delivered on. A celebration can be as simple as a cup of tea, a nice meal in a restaurant or a fancy holiday. Revisit the ‘thinking consciously’ tip I outlined at the beginning and make yourself aware of what you have done. The principles through which you achieved this goal can make other goals in your life attainable as well.

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THE DIET DILEMMA Sharon Madigan looks at the pros and cons of two popular diets, and how they may affect runners

M ore than any other the time of the year, this is when people make wholesale changes to their eating habits. O ften these are great, but the key to success is maintaining them and also making sure they marry with your fitness and running obj ectives for the year. As a runner, the key is not to fall victim to the next ‘fad diet’ that you come across, as performance, recovery and health may be compromised. M any of these programmes use great advertising and marketing drives to deliver a message. O ften this message is weight loss - and in a short space of time. If it is weight loss that you are after, then as a runner you must be careful how you achieve

this. M ost diets will restrict carbohydrate and overall energy/calorie intake. It may be that you can afford to drop some carbohydrates from your daily intake, particularly refined sugars - but when you do this in relation to training needs to be carefully planned. C arbohydrates are the main fuel for intense training and it along with fats are the main fuel for medium-intensity training. At this time of the year it is important to remember that carbohydrates are crucial in helping maintain the immune system and defend against colds and bugs. C onsistent training will have a better effect on weight and body composition in the longer term.


THE ‘PALEO’ approach to eating has been a big taking point during last year and I have no doubt that this will continue into 2014. The food focus will be mainly around fish, grass-fed raised meat sources, eggs, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. The key element is the exclusion of grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt and sugars and processed oils. It is viewed as a lifestyle rather than a diet but I suppose you can view a healthy approach to eating as a lifestyle as well. Another important difference will be the overall reduction in carbohydrate intakes with higher intakes of protein and fats. We eat to provide ourselves with energy so we can go about our daily activities, and with this food we also obtain other nutrients such as fat, protein, vitamins, minerals 22 Irish Runner

and fibre - that have a number of roles in health and wellbeing. For many, there is also a secondary benefit to eating in that it is a social activity and for those who need to avoid certain foods the-all-or-nothing approach can increase stress levels and in those who are susceptible a disordered view and approach to eating is a very real concern. From a runner’s viewpoint you need to ask yourself a couple of questions when considering paleo. Are you running to be a better runner or are you running to lose weight? If it’s the latter and improvements in times and competition are not really a concern, then for most, adopting paleo, with reductions in refined carbohydrates and processed oils, will achieve weight loss - which is great.

When you follow any dietary pattern that reduces your overall energy ( calorie) intake the result will be weight loss - and most of us who significantly reduce carbohydrate intake will achieve this. The longer-term management of this is much more difficult. When you reduce or avoid dairy intake you need to be very mindful of where your calcium will come from, as in the short term, weight loss is the goal, but in the longer term healthy bones are a particular issue, especially in running populations. If you are a serious runner, restriction of carbohydrates in the short term or long term would point to little success. I am not sure if cavemen trained and worked or had the same schedules as most competitive runners have nowadays. C arbohydrate has many different impacts on performance. It

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THE 5:2 DIET which is also known as intermittent fasting is another popular regime at the minute. Y ou can choose to eat what you might consider normally on five days of the week and then on two days you ‘fast’. Y ou don’t fast completely - there is usually an allowance of approx. 500-600 calories on these days. For many, the fact that you are only restricting on two days of the week is more realistic than looking at changes every day. The key thing to remember is to be realistic about the amount of weight that you will lose. O verall, the idea is that you eat combinations of nutritious foods without emphasising ‘no-no’ food groups. That way, you are less likely to feel deprived. O ne risk would be that on non-fasting days you over-consume, leading to an overall increase in calorie intake, thus cancelling out any of the fasting day benefits in terms of energy balance at the end of the week. As a runner, how would it work? E nergy levels will definitely be reduced on fasting days, so this could affect training plans. E ven if longer runs are on nonfasting days, if you fast the following day there could be an impact on recovery in terms of energy stores and muscle repair.

If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

affects our mood, so that we are happier to work and train harder. In longer events and training sessions it provides us with muscle fuel. IBS is a medical condition common in running populations. It has been commented that some aspects of paleo may be considered as a treatment for IBS. A wellrespected and evidence-based treatment of IBS known as the FO D M AP approach excludes sources of FO D M AP foods, many of which are carbohydrates that are poorly digested and often exacerbate IBS symptoms. The FO D M AP diet starts with an exclusion protocol, but with any exclusion there should always be a re-introduction.

This will identify the problem foods and allow the formulation of dietary practices that are easier to maintain in the long term. If foods - or more importantly food groups - need to be excluded, you need advice as to alternatives that will cover the basics of your needs and requirements. R emember everyone is different

IS DIETING WORTH IT? Well, it depends on lots of different things. Will it work? In my experience the more restrictions and difficulty we introduce, the less likely you are to be able to sustain the lifestyle. As an athlete you should focus less on restriction, more on eating appropriately to suit your training. You are moving more than the average, so more mindful eating is the way to go. Eating plans should not be difficult and certainly should not cause guilt because you have eaten something that is not on some list somewhere. It is always important to remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Go for the easy wins and make changes to lifestyle rather than lists of things you cannot do!

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Science Taking nutrition to the max Resident sports science boffin Joe Warne reports on all the latest developments in the world of running science and technology. MAXINUTRITION (formerly MaxiMuscle) recently opened their ground-breaking new sports science laboratories to the press in an effort to publicise their commitment to pushing the boundaries of protein and recovery products for sports performance. The labs include an environmental chamber that can simulate altitude, heat and humidity over a huge range. Athletes can go from a sub-zero, dry, high-altitude experience to a tropical, humid and uncomfortably hot environment within a matter of minutes. The lab also has one of the largest treadmills in the UK, a mammoth machine that could fit three cyclists riding shoulder to shoulder and capable of reaching 80km/h, as well as a fully equipped gym, sprint track, and a new ‘cognitive’ room where they hope to see whether reaction times and skill-based performance can be influenced by nutrition and hydration. Perhaps more exciting for me during my visit was the nutrition department, which is currently trying to develop high proteinbased foods to fit into a normal dietary routine. We tasted a delicious pasta that was comprised of 50% protein, a food that every athlete abuses but often neglecting the lack of protein that can be provided with this staple food. We also tasted soup, yoghurt

Research Quote of the Month “Let’s make 2014 the year we stop making broad, over-simplified, black and white, polarized generalizations. 2013 was too full of them; talent vs training, low-carb diets, running shoes, running technique, training methods, causes of obesity and disease, the list goes on. Let’s stop feeding the ‘simplicity-sells’ beast, and start appreciating individual complexity.” – Ross Tucker,

and smoothies with the same idea, all made with natural ingredients such as egg-based proteins. These products are planned to hit the market sometime in 2014, so keep your eye open for the high-protein explosion. ************************************ NEW DEVELOPMENTS in sensory technology will hit the consumer market this year, and some athletes are already making the most of Garmin’s new 620 watch series that tracks biomechanical factors such as ground contact time and stride frequency. However, coming in 2014 will be a series of groundbreaking products from Sensoria Fitness, in particular their sensory socks. Their website claims “Sensoria Fitness Socks sensor precisely track activity, measure cadence, detect foot landing technique and pick-up center-of-balance information to help

you improve running form”. With a starting price for the initial package currently at $199, the technology certainly isn’t cheap, but could offer a fantastic way for gait analysts and running coaches to get simple and immediate feedback on the running style of their athletes. The sock links via an ankle bracelet using Bluetooth to an app on your smartphone, and can give you real-time information on a range of factors when out on a run. The most intriguing feature is designed to be able to tell you when you are getting tired and your form is starting to change; you are landing heavier, or there are some ‘unwanted’ movement patterns starting to creep in, whatever these may be. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely on my birthday list for this year. You can find more information at

RUNNING NUMBERS ENERGY RETURN 1600 – The amount of energy (joules) returned to an athlete through a trampoline 250 – The amount of energy (joules) returned to an athlete through a tumbling floor 150 – The amount of energy (joules) returned to an athlete through a gymnastic floor 12 – The amount of energy (joules) returned to an athlete through a running track 2-5 – The amount of energy (joules) returned to an athlete through a running shoe 24 Irish Runner

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Running With the Family


Taking to the streets or park with your family can be a great way of getting your training and exercising done while sharing valuable time with those close to you. We look at some important tools to make outings with the family a breeze. SUMMIT BABYJOGGER X3 €480 Larger wheels and full suspension make this buggy a pleasure to run with. The 5point safety harness keeps your passengers securely in the buggy. It’s fairly light, easy to push and very enjoyable to run with. Complete with a hand brake, locking front wheels and moonroof canopy. The ‘quick-fold’ system is impressive, likewise the momentum of this buggy.

DEUTER KID COMFORT 2 €139 If your little one is capable of holding his or her head upright, then this active backpack may interest you. While it’s suitable for running, it’s perfect for walking or hiking. Fitted with compartments for carrying extra gear (like nappies and food) the ventilated back panel makes it breathable against your back. Includes a harness for the passenger and a myriad of adjustments for shoulder straps and back.

WISHBONE BALANCE BIKE €175 For a start, the kids love to be part of the action and perhaps one of the first things to consider is a balance bike. While it’s not something you would run beside, the Balance Bike keeps the little ones practising their skills and getting exercise. These bikes are made in New Zealand in wood and come in a variety of sizes (Small, Medium, Large).

ASICS GALAXY KIDS RUNNING SHOES €50 Kids want as much to be a part of the action as most adults do. Asics Galaxy 6 shoes have a durable sole and and technology borrowed from their bigger shoes such as GEL and cushioning to make them suitable for running and exercise. Available in boys and girls styles and colours. 26 Irish Runner

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TECH Fitness Gadgets The range of fitness tech products on the market has expanded rapidly in the past few years. With the integration of smartphones, accessories and now equipment you can get a huge range of facts, figures and statistics from these tech gadgets.

Winter Tech Notes Columbia OutDry™ technology Many waterproof shoes use a sock-like barrier inside the shoe to keep you dry. While this works, the outer fabric of your shoe absorbs water, leaving it heavy and wet, but more importantly breathability of the feet is affected. So the guys at Columbia Sports have developed waterproofing from the outside which is breathable. Outdry™ is featured across Columbia’s range of walking, hiking and running footwear.

SKECHERS GORUN RIDE 3 €85 The design team at Skechers has fused some of the key points in running form and function to create the GOrun Ride 3 shoe. The focus of this shoe is flexibility and low weight, but more importantly the midsole (M-Strike) technology.

Polar Loop €95 Described as an activity tracker, the Polar Loop comes in a neat and well-built bracelet that links to your smartphone and free online app to encourage daily exercise and achievements. Complete with a feedback system which reminds you when you’re stationary too long.

Puma Faas 300 €80 The 300 series is a shoe with an 8mm heel to toe drop for neutral runners. Beyond the sole unit is a flexible upper which is very light which caters well to those looking for a 5-10km racer/trainer.

Brooks Transcend €175 Transcend is Brooks’ first edition of a shoe which gives us a glimpse of things to come from the brand. The mixture of DNA and BioMoGo technology in the midsole reduces the shoe’s weight and produces a nice rebound. Comfort inside the shoe comes from a flexible fabric which is silky smooth and has no seams.

FitBit™ One €99 FitBit resembles a microchip that clips onto your clothing or wrist and measures impulses of movement. Featured in the unit is a small LED light display which can give you estimated steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, time, steps climbed and general level of health.

Garmin Vivofit €120 This easy-to-read ‘smart’ fitness bracelet from Garmin includes your standard measurements of exercise, like steps, calories etc, but learns from your daily activities and delivers goals to achieve. This device pairs with Garmin heart rate monitors, has a 1 year battery life and syncs with your computer or phone via bluetooth.

New Balance 980 Fresh Foam €120 Taking a different approach to cushioning and responsiveness, New Balance have developed the 980 Fresh Foam model. Uses both concave and convex form on the midsole and sole unit to produce different responses to impact in different parts of the shoe. There are also a reduced heel-to-toe drop (4mm) and a lightweight upper.

Mizuno Hitogami €110 Consolidating their range, Mizuno have introduced the Wave Hitogami to replace the Wave Musha and Ronin. What makes this shoe stand out is the 9mm heel-to-toe drop, together with the lightweight responsiveness of the new midsole U4ic (pronounced euphoric). In a clever little design trick, the shoes resemble a face (Kabuki Japanese performer) when you place the shoes side by side. Irish Runner 27

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Finding the Right Shoe for You Joe Warne reviews recent research looking at injury risks associated with different shoe models


he diversity of footwear available today makes any decision about what to put on your feet a difficult one, so here is what the research suggests: The debate about what footwear should be worn to prevent running injuries doesn’t seem to be dying down. Barefoot running advocates argue that running without shoes, or in something ‘ultra-minimal’ is the more natural way to move and should prevent a lot of the common running injuries of today. Advocates of more recent modern running footwear claim that the surfaces and lifestyles of our modern age require heavier, more structured shoes to protect the foot and lower leg. There are also those who have settled somewhere in the middle of this argument, choosing footwear that exhibits minimal characteristics but still offers some degree of protection for the foot. A brand new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined injury risk and pain perception using different types of shoes in a ‘prospective’ study. A prospective study first gathers subjects and follows them over a time period, and is a much stronger design than has been used before in this area. This study recruited experienced runners who had at least five years running experience and who had only run in modern running shoes, with no ‘minimal’ running shoe 28 Irish Runner

experience. This would mean the main interest in the study would be to see how many injuries were experienced in the subjects who tried minimal shoes. The 103 subjects were then randomly assigned to either a modern shoe (Nike Pegasus), an intermediate minimal shoe (Nike Free 3.0), or an ultra-minimal shoe (Vibram Five Finger Bikila). Subjects were then required to train for 12 weeks

Once again, this study tells us that you are no more or less likely to get injured in traditional shoes than minimal shoes.

for a 10K race following a training programme that started at 160 min of running in the first week and 215 min of running by week ten before a two-week taper period; this also included interval workouts and a longer run on the weekend. During this time they increased the proportion of running in their new shoe type from 10 – 60% of the total training per week. The study results showed an interesting trend; there was NO

significant difference in injury trends between the modern and ultra-minimal shoe groups. However, the intermediate minimal shoe was found to result in significantly more injuries than the other groups. When examining pain during training, the only finding was that the ultra-minimal group were found to have more calf pain than the other groups, a result that is completely expected considering how much more work the calves have to do in this footwear type. This study shows that training in an ultra-minimal shoe is no more dangerous for injury than running in a modern shoe, but that running in intermediate shoe types may significantly increase injury risk. This is an interesting result; the authors suggest that the Vibram Five Finger shoe was minimal enough that subjects were forced to change their running style to cope with the different stresses, but that the Nike Free, though soft enough to prevent any change, was not close enough to the modern shoe to allow runners to cope with the increased stresses. In other words, it suggests that people were running in exactly the same way as they were in their normal shoes, but that this shoe possibly reduced any protective effect and changed the lower leg movement, and thus possibly caused the injuries observed (this is also supported by a previous study I have reviewed here, where the Nike Free was

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found to cause no differences in running form compared to a normal shoe). On the other hand, the Vibram Five Finger group changed their running style enough that they were able to compensate for the huge change in footwear that reduced the chance of injury. This study really provides two important messages, 1) that modern running shoes are no better than other shoes in preventing running injury, and 2) that minimal shoes are not a ‘magic pill’ that will prevent injuries either. I suggest that readers experiment with a FULL range of shoes in a careful manner and see what works for them, and don’t limit themselves to one category of shoes based on what they have previously believed. Injury risk and performance in soldiers comparing minimal and traditional running shoes This second study was published in the American College of Sports Medicine conference and measured fitness, performance and injury risk in 1332 soldiers. First off, the sample size is very large, and that creates a lot of confidence in the study. However, the subjects were not randomly assigned shoes but instead were categorised based on what they were already wearing. This could be an issue, since the subjects’ preferred shoes would usually be the ones which they had found to be the most comfortable or had the most success wearing. The footwear being worn was visually identified and classified either as minimal or traditional shoes. Also, the army keeps detailed records of injury history among soldiers and the researchers were provided with the last two years of injury data from these volunteers. Finally, all the subjects were fitness tested, in order to see how the different footwear groups compared with regard to physical fitness and strength. Perhaps importantly, the

majority of subjects wore traditional shoes (57% wore cushioned neutral shoes, 24% wore stability cushioned shoes, and 2% wore heavy motion control shoes). This isn’t surprising, since the minimalist and barefoot trend is relatively new and most minimal models are very new to the market. This meant that 17% of the soldiers wore minimal shoes, and this group was also a younger population, which might suggest this trend appeals more to the younger generation and will be more prominent in the next generation of runners. When comparing the subjects by either traditional or minimal shoes (and bearing in mind that the minimalist users were on average a year younger), the minimal footwear group did more pushups, more sit-ups, more pull-ups, ran faster over two miles, jumped higher on the vertical jump, had better functional movement and completed the 300-yard shuttle run faster than those subjects who wore traditional shoes. More importantly however, the study found that when controlled for age, fitness and history of injury (in other words, taking into account the age and performance differences), there was no difference in injury risk between the soldiers wearing minimal or traditional shoes. Once again, this study tells us that you are no more or less likely to get injured in traditional shoes than minimal shoes. Fans of traditional shoes will cite this result to argue that the ‘hype’ surrounding minimal shoes is all for nothing, but on the other hand, minimal shoe fans will use it as evidence that traditional shoes don’t protect runners from injury. There is no right or wrong answer; again it comes down to the recommendation that individual runners should experiment with different footwear types and find what works for them.


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Strength Training Exercises The introduction of strength training to complement the work you do on the track or on the road can reduce the risks of picking up many of the injuries runners see as part and parcel of their sport. It can also help you to become you a more efficient runner, improve your recovery from sessions and help you train harder and longer during your high training-load weeks. By selecting exercises that target the areas most important for running, you can ensure maximum crossover to your technical training. Below are 5 exercises that you can put together in a session to target each of those areas, writes Neil Welch, Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach, SSC.





This will help to increase your force production through one leg and work through the ranges of motion you need for running. Get into a long stride, placing all your weight through your front heel; your back leg should be a passenger. Aim to keep your T-shirt logo at the wall in front, your waistband horizontal and thigh pointing straight ahead. Lower your back knee toward the floor, pause for two seconds at the bottom of your movement, then try to drive your heel through the ground as hard as you can back up to your start position. Go for 3x5 on each leg with a load that feels like you could only manage 1 or 2 more reps with correct technique.

This is a challenging whole-body control exercise that will take some working towards. The picture demonstrates it using a high box; if the squat movement is too difficult, try just standing on one leg and resisting the rotation. As you improve, aim to start using lower boxes to increase the challenge. The idea here is to keep your hands in line with your belly button as you squat. You will have to fight hard to stop your upper body and lower body from rotating. 3x5 reps on each leg; no external loads needed; increase the difficulty by increasing the range of motion you work through.

Tel: (01) 526 2030. Email: 30 Irish Runner

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CALF STRENGTH SINGLE-LEG SPEED CALF RAISE Calf and Achilles injuries are very common in runners; this exercise is aimed at reducing the risk of these. The important emphases here are the speed and range of movement. Use a wall for balance and start all the way up on the ball of one foot aiming to bury your big toe into the ground. Lower your heel to the ground over two seconds. As your heel kisses the ground, push the ball of your foot into the ground as hard as possible, bringing yourself up to the top position. The key here is to get absolute full range through your ankle through the line of your 1st toes, not your little toe. If this is too difficult to start with, go to two feet. 3x8 each leg, progress by holding a dumbbell in one hand, using the other for balance.



High-hamstring issues are something we see a lot of at the clinic and they can be reduced through increasing hamstring strength and rotational control. Start on one leg using the opposite hand for balance. Keep your weight on your heel and knee very slightly bent. All your movement should be like a see-saw, with your centre point being your hip. Lower your chest towards the ground, bringing your back leg with you until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. The key here is to keep your waistband parallel to the floor, not letting it tilt away; this is a common mistake with this exercise. After a one-second pause at the bottom, bring your self back upright by thinking about driving your heel backwards and into the floor. 3x5 each leg, progress by taking the hand away for balance then holding onto dumbbells.

Plyometrics are well-known to enhance running performance. They are a very high-intensity form of exercise though, and shouldn’t be used without some form of consistent strength training or without strong takeoff and landing mechanics. This exercise aims to improve both of those while improving stiffness to improve your running economy. Start on both feet in a quarter-squat position (bum back rather than knees forward); jump forwards landing on one leg. Try to land as quietly, quickly and as stable as possible, sitting back into the landing, not falling forwards onto the ball of the foot. Hold the landing for two seconds, then relax and reset before the next jump. Start small with the jumps, around 40cm, until you’re able to control your landings, then progress the distance. 3x5 on each leg.

Tel: (01) 526 2030. Email:

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Hannah Nolan contracted Lyme disease in 2013 after a training run through Avondale Forest. Rory Hafford talks to her about the long road back to recovery and the lessons that every runner should learn about this devastating illness PHOTOS: PAUL MOHAN, SPORTSFILE.COM


here’s a sadness about Hannah Nolan. You can hear it in her voice. You can see it in the way she moves. It’s as though someone has stolen the smile from the woman who beamed out from the pages of this magazine two years ago (Irish Runner, March/April, 2012). The reason for the radical change can be summed up in two small words: Lyme disease Two small words; big consequences. Hannah Nolan is the kind of person you would want in your corner if a fight broke out. She doesn’t believe in hiding from a challenge and she

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is prepared to put the work in to tackle that challenge. A case in point: after the birth of baby William in 2008, Hannah put on a lot of weight. When she saw herself in a picture, holding her new baby, she didn’t recognise herself. From that moment, she vowed to ‘get herself back’ and, through a regime of healthy eating, walking and then running she transformed herself. She shed all the weight, fought to win a place on the SPAR Spartan Challenge and began running serious distances.

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Her transformation was complete when she entered the Kildare Marathon last year and blazed home in a time of 3:19. After the marathon her body recovered quickly – a sign of how far she had come and she was back out easy running two days later. And then – as with most disasters – a bolt from the blue changed everything. Two weeks after Kildare she was running through Avondale Forest, near her home in Tinahely. The trail is hilly, tough, good for hard training and a favourite spot for Hannah. Not any more. At some point on the run Hannah was bitten on the ankle by what turned out to be a tick. “I felt nothing. And anyway, why would I? These ticks anaesthetise the skin before they bite you, so you are not meant to feel anything,” Hannah tells Irish Runner. That was a Sunday. It wasn’t until the next day that Hannah noticed it, but she didn’t think that much of it. In fact, that Wednesday she went on her normal sixmile run. However, it was during this spin that the first of the debilitating symptoms began to kick in. “I finished my run near my doctor’s surgery and decided to pop in. When I pulled my sock down, the swelling was shocking. You couldn’t even distinguish the bone, the swelling was so bad.” And then began the long, tortuous road to diagnosis and eventual treatment. Lyme disease is not what you would call your ‘common or garden’ presentation in a GP surgery. And because of this, the diagnosis can be a bit hit and miss. The inherent danger in this lies in the fact that the longer you do nothing, the more chronic the damage being caused.

Cover up well while running on trails and woodlands.

LYME DISEASE – THE CAUSE LYME disease medical researcher Jonathan Edlow is in no doubt as to the cause of this unbelievably disabling scourge: ‘If the Lyme spirochete had been around for so long, why did it begin to surface as a recognised medical entity only in the past few decades? “This question can be answered in one word…deer.” Deer are now considered to be the primary host of the black-legged tick and the one indispensable piece of the jigsaw that solves the puzzle of Lyme borreliosis (Borrelia burgdorferi). Lyme disease is not new. According to researcher Richard Ostfeld, 34 Irish Runner

symptoms that almost certainly represent cases of Lyme disease were described in the European medical literature in the late nineteenth century (Stanek et al. 2002). Molecular evidence of the presence of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease has been found in museum specimens of rodents that were collected in the early twentieth century (Sonenshine, 1993). And a resident of Lyme, Connecticut, named Polly Murray – who is credited with the original detective work that alerted experts that a new disease might exist – probably suffered from Lyme disease as early as the 1950s (Weintraub 2008).

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Lyme disease is caused by the bite of a tick that lives on deer. The tick bite results in the transmission of a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. This tiny bug is really a miracle of evolution; shaped like a corkscrew, it is designed to burrow through body tissue that most other bacteria won’t be able to penetrate. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for Hannah and she thought no more about it. Ten days after the bite and the real damage was beginning to make itself known. A wave of tiredness washed over her, like a small tsunami. “I couldn’t shake the tiredness. It was overwhelming. I thought it might be my iron levels; but my blood tests came back normal.” What was evident, however, was that Hannah’s body was beginning to shut

When I pulled my sock down, the swelling was shocking. You couldn’t even distinguish the bone, the swelling was so bad.

down on itself. She was still running, but her times were getting slower and slower. Nine-minute miles; legs that felt like they belonged on someone else; and breathing that was extremely laboured. “Allied to this, my heart rate was highly erratic and this really worried me,” says Hannah. Still trying to push through, she entered another race and her breathing almost stopped altogether. She was admitted to hospital immediately afterwards, where they diagnosed a punctured lung and kept her in for a week. And then, when ‘punctured lung’ was ruled out, they thought it could be something to do with her gallbladder before eventually settling on a ‘virus’. None of which was correct. All in all, she saw four doctors in hospital and two GPs and none of them could figure out what was going on. And then the headaches began to wash over her, resulting in constant, all-day pain. “I honestly thought I had a brain tumour,” says Hannah. “The pain was so bad that I went back to my original GP, but a locum was on that day. It turned out to be the break I needed.” The locum put all the pieces together and settled on a diagnosis of Lyme disease. Hannah was referred to an infectious disease specialist in Dublin and a course of Doxycycline was prescribed. Within five days the headaches, the dizziness and the handtremors had all disappeared. She’s on the way back now. But she’s still nowhere near where she was. There is still a lot of work to do. “The problem is, you get good days and then you get days when you think

you will never emerge from this thing,” says Hannah. Running was a vehicle for Hannah Nolan. It played a huge part in getting her to a place in her life where she wanted to be…where she needed to be. It became a really good friend to her. “After something as devastating as this it feels like you have lost that friend. I experienced a great sense of freedom through running and I’ve lost that too.” Her advice to other runners: be aware! “If I had been given the medication as soon as I was bitten, things would have been a lot different. My symptoms had developed to the chronic stage before the right treatment began – and it has knocked me back so much.” She also feels that local authorities need to do more to alert people to the potential dangers of Lyme disease. “A friend of mine has agitated for signs to be erected near forest areas saying simply Beware of Lyme Disease, with a description of what the disease is and what to look out for. Something as simple as this could save people a whole world of heartache.” Hannah Nolan is still managing to run her own business – a highly inventive enterprise called Why Weight Ireland, which helps people achieve realistic weight loss targets using an online food and exercise diary ( In many ways Hannah climbed a mountain to get herself to where she wanted to be – only to be pushed right off again just as she reached the summit. The long climb back to fitness has begun for her again; and you wouldn’t bet against her.

SEEING THE WOOD FROM THE TREES The numbers are staggering: according to Ostfeld, deer that are killed by hunters in November are often highly infested. He says: ‘A quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that if a typical deer feeds a total of 2,000 adult ticks in any given autumn (500 per week for four weeks) of which one-half are female and half of all the eggs laid by those females hatch, the result from any one deer will be one-million larvae… ‘It quickly becomes evident that only a very small number of deer is necessary to produce astronomical numbers of ticks.’ Source: Lyme Disease – The Ecology of a Complex System, by Richard S Ostfeld


unners need to be ever-vigilant when it comes to training in forest and wooded areas inhabited by deer. And there are many such areas. However, the exact number of wild deer in Ireland is unknown because no national deer census has been carried out. That said, the main areas to watch out for are Killarney, parts of Wicklow, Glenveagh in Co Donegal, areas of Connemara and areas of Co Mano. Regular runners in The Phoenix Park in Dublin will also be aware of the presence of little pockets of deer dotted throughout the wooded areas.

Source: The Wild Deer Association of Ireland. Irish Runner 35

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The Road to Fifty at Fifty For Ilona Madden, 50 was the perfect age to take on something new - organising and running a 50km race PHOTO: DONAL GLACKIN


t’s only a couple of days since I ran 50km and what I’ve done, what I’ve achieved is only slowly sinking in. My legs are still a bit stiff and sore, my body is tired and I am very hungry all the time, but I don’t feel any serious pains or aches. And I feel extremely happy! It is also only a couple of days after my 50th birthday - and isn’t it fantastic to able to say that at 50 years of age you are at your fittest ever? Maybe I was a bit faster when I did athletics during my teens, but back then I couldn’t stick to the training regime. I kept up a bit of jogging until I was 25, when my knees started to hurt - and then gave up all exercise, thinking I was just too old for it. I not only stopped all exercise apart from a bit of yoga, but I was also a smoker. Luckily, I never got to a stage where I was seriously overweight. But I did get to a stage where I wasn’t comfortable in myself anymore and knew I had to do something. I had never liked gyms and my job as a tour guide meant that I had to travel a lot during the summer. For the next few years I did nothing more than half-hour slow jogs, but enjoyed them thoroughly, I discovered parts of Ireland that I never knew, running in the mornings at 6am, which set me up for the day and cleared my head, Interestingly, since I started running again in 2006, I haven’t had any knee problems at all. I went to Kilcoole Athletic Club for the first time in 2008 and was actually very nervous, but Coach Eamon Tilley was fantastic and motivated me to stick with it. I met another woman of my age, Genevieve, and together we trained for and ran our first 5K together, then a first 10K and our first half marathon. So, when Genevieve said she wanted to run the Dublin Marathon in 2009 I just had to do it, even though I didn’t think I was ready. So how did the idea of 50at50 come about? I said in 2009, after my first marathon, that I would only do one more and that would be when I was 50, if I was still able and fit for it. Then I thought I might just do it on my actual 50th birthday - but there was none in Ireland. When I read Gerry Duffy’s 32 Marathons

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in 32 days, I had an idea: Why not organise my own race and ask people to join in? Where the idea of running 50km came from I can’t say anymore, but it just sounded great: 50at50. It was just ‘a little’ bit more than a full Marathon and should be do-able. I spent a lot of time reading training and nutrition plans, tried out strength training and consulted coaches and personal trainers. I looked into barefoot running, took up yoga classes again – and of course spent as much time running as I possibly could. I also spent a lot of time trying to organise the event, promoting it, speaking to people who had organised races, etc.

I would love to be an inspiration because I know what running has done for me

In October I was debating with myself whether I should do the Dublin City Marathon or not. Would it take too much out of me before my 50km run? But I thought, I’ll just do it. I think Maria McCambridge couldn’t have been happier than I was at that moment when I crossed the line, (about 3 hours later). After that Marathon, I knew I could do the 50k, even if it meant I have to walk parts of it. Over the final couple of weeks, I had so many worries; the biggest being that I could get sick or injured beforehand. If I had to pull out I would be letting all those people down. I just couldn’t do that. I never realised what pressure that would be when I first had the idea. Also in those weeks, I seemed to pick up pains in all sorts of areas in my body. I couldn’t sleep properly and often woke up during the night. But I have to say that it never crossed my mind to give up. There was a point where it got very difficult, but I was simply focussed on finding the best

possible way to get through. I also found that I was in a completely different mindset on the day compared to my training runs. For example, when I did my 30km training run, which I found hard, I thought “Oh my God, I still have to run a half marathon after this”. But during the 50km I never thought of that; all I was focused on was how much I had already done. Every km was getting me closer to the goal. Something I heard a lot over the last couple of months was that I was an inspiration. If I managed to inspire just a few to take up running (again) or keep running further, I am delighted. I would love to be an inspiration because I know what running has done for me. At 50 I can say that I am at the happiest state of my life - ever. If there is one major lesson I learned from the event, it is the importance of every single person who turned up on the day to cheer us on. Their presence made it so much easier and so much more enjoyable. I am so grateful that everything went well and nobody got injured or hurt or lost during the run. What’s next? I don’t know if I want to do another marathon, but I have signed up to the 2014 Challenge – to run 2014km in 2014. I also have set myself the goal of being able to do pull-ups (I can’t do them at all!) and full push-ups (I can only do them on my knees!). The Saturday before my run I attended a seminar given by Gerry Duffy on setting and achieving goals. (which I highly recommend to everyone!) Many of his recommendations were exactly what I had followed over the past few months, but he also had a good few others that might have made it easier for me to reach the goal – especially asking others for help and surrounding yourself with people who have the right experience. It’s never too late!

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If there is one major lesson I learned from the event, it is the importance of every single person who turned up on the day to cheer us on.

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For Gavin Walker, Operation Transformation was just the beginning, writes Aoife Ní Riain. Photo: Donal Glackin.


little more than a year ago, Gavin Walker was a recently separated father of four, severely overweight, drinking to excess and depressed. “I was unable to cope with the situation I found myself in. I think a lot of people in similar circumstances are the same,” he recalls. Then he came across the Operation Transformation application form at work one evening, filled it in on a whim and promptly forgot all about it. After several phone interviews some weeks later, Gavin made it into the final 20 applicants and eventually down to the final five selected. Gavin Walker was always somewhat on the large side, as well as being, by his own admission, ‘quite lazy and inactive‘. Then, after his marriage break-down, comfort eating set in. Frozen dinners were the mainstay of his daily diet. Drinking alcohol became a daily ritual and in a matter of months he piled on two extra stone. At first, Gavin found the Operation Transformation diet and exercise regime tough. His cooking skills were non-existent and a demanding job working twelve-hourlong shifts as well as caring for four children meant significant changes and adjustments were required. The end goal of Operation Transformation is for each participant to complete a 5K run and Gavin initially felt that this was unattainable. “I had never run before and I just didn’t see how I would complete that distance,” he said. It was a simple request from his son Ben, however, that inspired Gavin to believe in the unbelievable. “It was after one of the training runs for the show, when the cameras had stopped rolling and everyone else had gone home, that he turned to me and asked, “Dad, when the show finishes, can we keep running together?” Gavin said. With Ben by his side, Gavin managed to complete that first 5K and he describes crossing the line as an “amazing feeling.” It was this experience that confirmed to him that running was something he wanted to

continue to do. When the show ended, he immediately signed up for the Dunboyne 4 Mile in March. He subsequently registered for the Dublin Race Series, which culminates in the Dublin Marathon. Amazingly for someone who didn’t even think he was capable of a 5K run, Gavin completed the Dublin Marathon a few short months after Operation Transformation ended. His aim was to finish in just under five hours, but an unfortunate ankle sprain at the 10 mile mark meant that he crossed the line in a slower time – 6 hours 9 minutes. “I was disappointed with my time, but to finish was, simply, pure joy.” he said.

I enjoy the head space that running gives me and the time on my own.

Gavin admits to allowing himself to stray a little from his diet regime over Christmas. A few extra sweets here, a dessert there. But once January came, he knew he needed to get back on track and he registered for the Wexford Half Marathon in April. “It’s all about having a target and something to aim for. Pick a race, sign up and work towards it.” he said. He plans to tackle the Dublin Marathon again this year with a time of four-and-a-half hours as his target. “I’ll start training for the marathon in July and give it my best effort.” he said. Gavin’s running isn’t a haphazard affair. He has clear goals in mind and follows

specific training plans to reach his targets. He typically runs four times a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, regardless of whether he’s working day or night shifts, which leaves the weekends free for the children. Whereas family time was previously spent at the cinema or on the Xbox, they now head to the park for a game of football or a run-around. This year, all four of Gavin’s children will join him for the Operation Transformation 5K run. “I love being more physically active with them and more energetic,” he said. The children are definitely benefitting from the changes in me.” Running now plays a very important role in Gavin’s life. “I enjoy the head space that running gives me and the time on my own," he said. “During the hour or two of a run, I leave everything behind and I feel one hundred percent better than I did before I set out. Running is not just something I enjoy, it’s something I need.” he said. Gavin feels that his transformation is a permanent one. “I don’t want to go back to where I was.” he said. I didn’t particularly like myself back then, but I am very happy with the person I see now and a lot of that is down to running.” Since January of last year, Gavin has lost 4st 7lb in total and currently weighs 14st 2lb. Far from frozen pizzas, he now loves to whip up a meal from scratch and has quit drinking alcohol. He advises that the key to success is to set a target and to believe in yourself. “If you believe you can achieve it, you will keep going.”

TYPICAL FOOD PLAN BEFORE: Breakfast: Never ate breakfast

NOW: Breakfast: Porridge. Boiled eggs. Slice of toast.

Snack: Crisps, bar of chocolate, bottle of coke

Snack: Apple, organge or pear. Hartley’s sugar free jelly.

Lunch: Chips, chicken and curry sauce.

Lunch: Chicken wrap.

Dinner: Frozen pizza, oven chips, chicken nuggets or a take away. 2 litres of coke. 10 – 12 cans of beer.

Dinner: Home-made stir fry or curry. Water. No alcohol.

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Ray D’Arcy’s latest challenge is his greatest


A new vision for Ray D’Arcy.

Ray D'Arcy is a man on a mission and through a novel new running event, The Half-Million-Half-Marathon, the Today FM presenter has his sights focussed on raising a whopping half a million euro for Laura Lynn - Ireland's Children's Hospice, which provides home support, respite and end-of-life care to children with life-limiting conditions, writes Frank Greally. The Half Million-Half Marathon for Laura Lynn will be organised by Athletics Ireland and supported by Volkswagen Ireland, with a limit of 2,000 entries; the big event will take place in the Phoenix Park on Good Friday, April 18th. Entry fee will be €250 and entrants are encouraged to fundraise this amount through family, friends or work colleagues. "We want to raise a clear half- million euro that will go directly to the Laura Lynn Hospice and this Half-Million-HalfMarathon promises to be a pretty unique event," Ray D'Arcy said. Since he took up running in his late 30s, Ray D'Arcy has been a tireless promoter of the whole concept of recreational running and you can see him regularly running home from work at Today FM to his house in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. Ray set himself the ambition of completing a triathlon to celebrate his 40th birthday - almost a decade ago - and this year as he approaches the half-century, the 40 Irish Runner

Team D’Arcy – Siobhan Hogan, Mairead Farell, Ray D’Arcy and Jenny Kelly.

Kildare native has come up with his novel and noble plan to promote the Half-MillionHalf Marathon for Laura Lynn. "I had thought about running another marathon in Dublin next October, but my wife Jenny, who is also a runner, was not in favour of me taking on such a strenuous challenge at my age, and she was probably right," Ray said. "I still wanted to do something special in running to mark my 50th birthday and I could think of no better project than launching this serious fundraising event for the Laura Lynn Hospice." The Laura Lynn Hospice Foundation and Laura Lynn Hospice came about because of the deep sorrow and loss that Jane and Brendan McKenna experienced when they

lost their two beautiful young daughters, Laura and Lynn to illness. Their youngest daughter Laura was born with a hole in her heart and having endured two serious operations went on to have a few relatively good years with the final repair operation to come. Sadly, Laura did not survive and she died in 1999, aged just four. Lynn McKenna had 13 years of perfect health until she was diagnosed with Leukaemia on the very day that her younger sister passed away. The way she coped with her illness, her adored sister's death and her own impending death was an inspiration to her parents, who vowed to turn their double family trauma into something positive and inspiring. Laura Lynn House opened in September 2011 and it seems somewhat fortuitous that Ray D'Arcy will celebrate his 50th Birthday on September 1st this year. The Laura Lynn Hospice continues to deliver precious care and comfort to sick children and their families and the 2,000 runners Ray D'Arcy hopes to lead to the start line in the Phoenix Park on Good Friday for the Half-Million-Half-Marathon will be made fully aware of the great cause that they are supporting. See for more details of this event or visit Online entries for the event will be available soon at

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ANKERS AWAY Brian Ankers has a massive appetite for running a prodigious capacity for enjoying what he does, writes Gavin McGuinness.



f the name Brian Ankers rings a bell it’s because Ankers, a member of the Air Corp, is the man who ran 84 marathons in twelve pulsating months. And yes, that is an Irish record. It’s hard to believe one person could stand up physically to such a challenge but amazingly Ankers did and, what’s more, he had company for most of the year. Less surprising is who that company was. Step by step, Raheny’s Dave Brady was hot on his heels. He, of course, is

one of Ireland's most prolific runners and holder of the previous record for marathons in a year. At 33 and 63 they may seem worlds apart, but now their stories are inextricably linked in the public’s consciousness. There is respect when Ankers mentions Brady - which is as it should be. Without Brady, what figure would the record be at? He is the one who marked out the course. Like McEnroe and Borg, Coe and Ovett, the rivalry has elevated them both.

“He would make a show of runners 40 years his junior; he lives to run,” the Tallaght man says of Brady. “Dave has run over 350 marathons to date and when he has a good day on the road you won’t hear about it. A bad day is laughed about and he’s already looking forward to his next long-distance challenge.” Surprise The year wasn’t meant to be like this for Ankers, communicating with the national media and such. He’s a natural though;

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Humility The legendary American marathoner Bill Rodgers said the distance can humble you and Brady and Ankers are embodiments of that, though not in the way Boston Billy meant. They’re simply modest. When asked about the challenge of his extraordinary feats, Ankers says, 44 Irish Runner


easy-going and assured; a little crazy too if you look at the running stats. He certainly didn’t plan it so. “Starting 2013 I had no intentions of breaking records. At that point I had run 47 marathons and my personal goal was to run quite a few, to get a little closer to achieving the milestone of 100 marathons. Somewhere along the way I got a bit excited.” Needless to say he has no regrets on how it has turned out. Running to extremes has allowed him to meet all sorts. 5Ks are well and good, but a few hours on the road makes for compelling theatre. He’s met “gas characters with more issues than the RTE Guide,” he explains in his own particular way. “That is why I recommend not wearing headphones during a big event. Go talk to someone; you never know what amazing story they have to tell.” As he passed from event to event and the calendar fell back on itself, excitement brewed. When it came to July and the sun was cooking the Clare soil, things came nicely to the boil. There, Ankers, Brady and third musketeer Shane McCarville (with 70 marathons) put everything on the line to experience the 10 Back to Back Marathons promotion in Sixmilebridge. It was a risk, with the Irish record still up for grabs. After all, there is no knowing how tough the body really is. But Ankers had no reason to worry. Ten days later he had another ten sub-4 hour marathons to his name. “I had never run more than four consecutive marathons, so ten was daunting,” he admits. “You can prepare meticulously in the lead-up to such an event, but I don’t think any of the participants expected the scorching temperatures - consistently in the high 20s, reaching 30 degrees on occasion.” Without the locals, however, he and 18 of the original 21 starters wouldn’t have made it. Ankers was quick to praise these helpers. “Their generosity was remarkable. One young girl in particular would spend five to six hours every day outside her home setting up her table, preparing ice-cold drinks, handing out ice pops and always smiling with words of encouragement.”

Brian in full stride.

Some people like to play golf, some fish, some sit on a barstool all day, I like to run. “physically and mentally I wouldn't use the word ‘challenge’, as I loved and enjoyed every mile of every race.” Really? “Some courses and multi-day events were tougher than others,” he acknowledges. “I relished the thought of having to dig deep and get stuck in. During every low you’re creating a high.” That’s about as far as Ankers gets from

his down-home, realistic view of running and its power. You won’t find him making it sound like the Temptation of Christ. “People run for their own reasons. I haven’t figured out my reasons; I just like to run,” he says. “Unlike football or GAA (he played soccer to a good standard), running is a sport in which you have a long shelf life. In this game age isn’t an issue when you have a personal goal. You compete against yourself. You compete against your own ability, fighting against your own weakness.” It is easy to have his predecessor Dave Brady in mind when Ankers concludes his view on the practice of running. Perspective is everything. “When runners twice my age battle hard consistently on the roads, excuses would be embarrassing. I’m just grateful that I’m able to run without feeling the need to whinge about niggles and ouchies.” The niggles and ouchies, as he calls them, are the worst of the injuries he’s

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had. It is downright wacky to think of the miles he’s put in without breaking, but there is no great secret to his fortitude. Not in terms of physiotherapy or dietary quirks. “Nutrition is important; more so if you only have one target/goal in mind, which is probably why I am not as strict as I would like to be. Getting results from nutrition can be like trying to crack the Da Vinci Code,” he says. “It’s a personal journey. What suits one individual may not suit another. What is obvious is that the lighter you are the faster you can run. I am a big believer in enjoying the good things in life, so I don’t advise depriving yourself of your favourite treats when deserved, which for me is a few bottles of beer, more likely to happen after a productive weekend of running.” He has the same commonsense approach to injury prevention. Although in practise it is less than common. “Cold baths are great relief for tired muscles; I just don’t like the cold—I’m a bit of a big girl’s blouse! “In my experience the best way to get rid of sore muscles is to use them again, just at a lesser intensity; short slow run, spinning the legs on the bike or even a leisurely swim.” Whatever, it works. He ran 3:07:19 in Athlone last summer. He works with Bootcamp Ireland as well as the Air Corp. He’s run the Dead Sea Marathon in Israel. As if that wasn’t enough, in addition to the 84 marathons, Ankers also made it to the fabled 90K Comrades Marathon in South Africa. It’s an experience he won’t forget. “I would recommend it to all distance runners. There is a party atmosphere throughout. The 5:30am start is legendary. These boys know how to sing. Powerful renditions of the national anthem make the hair stand on the back of your neck.” Looking Back Now the year is over he can look back on it with pride. He didn’t get caught up in the bravado of it all; there was a focussed streak underneath all the jokes. He explains: “As the year progressed, so did the competition and ambitions of fellow runners. Claims were made, newspaper articles were printed on a weekly basis with talk of records getting smashed. Praise was of no interest. I knew the year was young, stuck to a plan and let my running do the talking.”

Putting the running to one side, two other pertinent questions have to be asked. What do the family think and how the hell can you finance all this racing? The family (of four children) is the easy part, he explains. Imagine! “Some people like to play golf, some fish, some sit on a barstool all day, I like to run. Midweek training was an issue. Operational requirements were my priority resulting in lunch breaks to train surrendered. Dark evenings to get miles in the bank became routine. Involving my family was very important. If races were far away I’d make a weekend of it with my wife Jenny and the children.” A recurring theme at races and in Irish Runner editorials is the cost of racing in Ireland. It is something that didn’t escape Ankers. Even all the money he has raised for good causes over the years didn’t always help. “Some events can be way overpriced. The ‘It’s for charity' excuse doesn’t cut it anymore. If it wasn’t for the cheaper low-key events like the East of Ireland Marathon series or the odd free entry while carrying out pacing duties, running 84 marathons would have been financially impossible.” For the future, nothing is being ruled out. “The prospect of a new and tougher challenge always motivates and excites me,” he says. One target is very clear. “The Marathon Des Sables five-day event in the Moroccan Sahara; it’s still on the bucket list. But with an expensive entry fee it will have to wait for a few years. As my wife Jenny said, ‘You should be getting paid to run for five days not paying five grand to run across a desert.’ So for now I can’t justify the cost.” In the meantime, he’ll just keep doing what he enjoys. There doesn’t have to be more to it than that—for any of us. As Ankers says, “I haven’t answered my own question as to why I run, other than to say I believe the result of running is all positives. You eat better, you sleep better and you look better. Ten years ago I was very ugly. Look at me now - I’m like wine.” To keep this upbeat hero on the road, he knows it will be the little things that count. “Like when alone on a stretch of road in Dingle, turning the corner to find a four-piece playing the Rocky theme tune, or the homely atmosphere found at the finish line in Clonakilty.” Everyone needs those moments, even the ultra-tough.


DAVE BRADY TOOK UP running only at age 36, but to date has notched up a massive total of 352 marathons, with an average time of 4:53:20. Dave is recognised as Ireland’s most prolific road racer and last year took part in 215 events at home and abroad. Dave often takes in three or more events in a single day; races like a Park Run, followed by a Business Houses event and then an evening race somewhere down the country - with distance to the destination, like race distance - no object. The back-to-back 10 marathons in ten days event in Six Mile Bridge was where Dave stumbled in his heroic attempt to hold on to his record of completing the most marathons in a calendar year. He was forced to abandon two of the events in Clare when he became ill after drinking water that had been too long exposed to the sun, but he bounced back well to finish the year still only two races behind his much-younger rival. You feel refreshed and optimistic when you spend a little time in the company of Brian Ankers and Dave Brady – two ordinary runners who are achieving things extraordinary through their running feats; runners without limits. Dave Brady tells a story of meeting up with a first-time marathon runner during the Clonakilty event in December. The runner told Dave that he was expecting to hit the dreaded wall at 20 miles, but Brady’s advice to him was to remember that after 20 miles the distance to the finish would be in single digits. It is that type of optimism and friendly approach that make Brady and Ankers such great company for their fellow runners. FRANK GREALLY

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River Moy 1/2 Marathon 2014

Ballina, Co. Mayo

Saturday 17th May 2014. Start time 10am.

“A run that takes you along the banks of the beautiful River Moy” Number, timing chip, goody bag & technical top collection: Friday 16th May from 7-9pm and Saturday 17th May 7-9am

Half-Marathon and 10k February 22nd 2014 – 10:00 am Avondale Forestry Park, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

Chip Timing Special Medal To All Finishers

Cost €20

PRIZES: *First Four Men, first over 40/50/60/70 *First Four Ladies, first over 40/50/60/70

Entry: €30

Run Wild, Run West

Avondale Sports

Pre-entries to €20 Entry Online €25 on the day Registration from 9:00 am at Avondale House

Run, Jog or Walk

Walkers Welcome

More information at Or contact Billy Porter 087 292 8660 or 0404 43250

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On the trail of Art Ken Cowley re-lived history and made a little of his own along with 200 competitors in this year’s Art O’Neill Challenge. Photo: John Shiels.


he Art O’Neill Challenge took place again on the night of Friday January 11 and Saturday morning, the 12th! With reasonable conditions underfoot, 90 ultra-runners and 110 walkers took to the streets of a bemused Dublin for the annual 53km overnight haul to Glenmalure, Co Wicklow. The event marks the escape from Dublin Castle in January 1492 of Art O’Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell, and those who stopped at Art’s Cross (the 40km mark) to reflect on this were rewarded with the most glorious Wicklow sunrise that this writer can remember. But, let’s get back to the start. Despite previous oaths to the contrary, I was taking part in my third Art O’Neill and with a resigned mixture of excitement, trepidation and bleariness, I set off at 2am from Dame Street with my fellow ultra-runners. The walkers had set off at midnight and hybrid walker-runners at 1am, but as this is a running magazine, I’ll focus here on the running event. Albeit a slow run! Or it certainly is for us mid-field plodders, as we trudge ever southwards and ever uphill for eight hours or so, clinging to the comforts of camaraderie, energy gels and head-torches. The first 31km are all on road, from suburb to country, and steadily uphill. Other than an hour’s drizzle the weather is OK. I am running with James and some other good friends who we have trained with, and we make good time, at just over three hours to Checkpoint One, from where we have a quick turnaround and kitchange. Then it’s on to the first open mountain section, which takes in the likes of Black Hill and Billy Byrne’s Gap. Legs and mind are getting tired now and the first mountain stretch is brutally hard, with zero visibility (pitch dark, fog, and no moonlight) and dangerous scrubby conditions underfoot. Magical moments, as per the sunrise to come, are thin on the ground, so for now we amuse ourselves with a few spectacular falls (into rabbit holes, rivers and bog holes) and other amusing sights 48 Irish Runner

This year’s event encountered logistical difficulties and may not appear again in this guise. including a chap dragging a massive tractor tyre behind him for the entire event. At one point I even spot another ultra-runner having a cigarette! But James is an excellent navigator and through a combination of GPS and map/compass we reach Checkpoint Two around dawn with flawless accuracy. However, the sheer difficulty of Leg 2 means we are 30 minutes behind schedule and now unlikely to break eight hours for the event. Not to worry; after a quick gulp of porridge and the best cup of lukewarm instant coffee you’ll ever have, we set off on Leg 3 up towards Art’s Cross and Art’s Plaque. Art’s Cross is near Table Track and ‘Three Lakes’ and forms part of the biggest section of mountain wilderness on the east coast. Even in perfect conditions this leg requires good navigation, due to the endless sloshy peat hags and disorienting topography. We take a successful bearing to Three Lakes (which actually only comprises two lakes!), and eventually begin

heading downwards towards the Glenmalure Valley and the hard run that is the stony downhill few km to the finish at Barravore. We are very happy to shuffle over the line in 8 hours 23 minutes (a PB for me), and savour the delights of a dip in the river and a big Irish breakfast to follow. Organiser Declan Cunningham was delighted with this year’s event, which has encountered logistical difficulties and may not appear again in this guise. “Sincere thanks to Dublin-Wicklow Mountain Rescue and the other volunteers who helped make this last great escape one to remember,” said Cunningham. Eoin Keith won the Men’s race yet again in a record time of 5 hours 20 minutes, saying afterwards, “I’m very happy to have won after such a competitive race. Also, the night mist made for challenging navigation confirming again that this must be Ireland’s gnarliest running race!’’ The first woman home was Caroline McLaughlin, in a time of 6 hours 30 minutes. The rest of us more modest runners (and our walking friends) are left to imagine the level of endurance and talent at the business end of the field, but we have all won our own little battles on the night and everyone got through relatively unscathed. So; tired legs all round, but stories and memories to last a lifetime!

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Athlone’s Indoor Arena has transformed the infrastructure of Irish athletics, explains Cathal Dennehy PHOTOS: PAUL MOHAN / SPORTSFILE.COM

It’s a cold, grey January afternoon, with rain spitting incessantly; the kind of day when most people begin to wish they weren’t runners. For seven of Ireland’s best middle-distance runners, though, things are different now. Better. On a day like today, they finally have somewhere to go. ’

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INDOOR The noise that reverberates around the Athlone Indoor Arena on this bleak Friday is different to the one we came to know this time last year when athletes and spectators came in their droves to witness the birth of a facility which heralded a new dawn for Irish athletics. Today, the noise you hear echoing around the arena is that of a galloping herd of Ireland’s best middle-distance runners, their feet thumping the track in unison as they churn out a lengthy track session to prepare for what should be another pulsating indoor season. This sight – Ireland’s best athletes, working together in a world-class training facility – brings a smile as wide as the arena itself to the face of Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of Athlone IT and the man who had the vision and initiative to build what many thought would always be a pipe dream for Irish athletics. “I’m delighted,” says Ó Catháin, a year on from the arena’s opening. “It’s getting great use. Chris Jones’s group uses it every week, Brian Gregan is down here every week, and Fionnuala Britton is using it too. A lot of the local clubs are using it, and even the Gaelic clubs are using it for speed work. “We’ve invested nearly 10.5 million euro, and we’re getting great value for money. We have a stadium that is world-class and we can be very proud to bring international athletes here. The kids are blown away by it; they want to run here. Entries are up over a third on last year.” On the day we visited, four athletes guided by National Endurance Coach Chris Jones; David McCarthy, John Coghlan, Michael Mulhare and Joe Warne, were present to complete a session of 3x4x600m, run in an average of 1:33. Completing workouts like this at goal pace on an outdoor track would have been virtually impossible given the inclement weather on the day, and Jones is hopeful that more athletes will make use of the arena as a regular training venue. “Here we are today, there are two different groups training away, and it’s great

Athlone IT President Ciarán Ó Catháin speaks to Joe Warne, Michael Mulhare and John Travers.

When you see the reaction of the athletes, the parents and the coaches; that to me confirms that we’re getting a great return on investment. to see,” he says. “There will be another one of these built in Blanchardstown, but that won’t be as easy to get hold of for training. “It has been a massive step forward getting Athlone. The credit goes to Ciarán Ó Catháin, no doubt about it. He’s innovative, he’s open, he’s prepared to fight his corner to raise investment and those are the sort of guys you want.” Teresa McDaid, who coaches a number of Ireland’s best middle-distance athletes, including Mark English, also brought a trio of her protégés – Conor Bradley, Danny Mooney and Ruairi Finnegan – to train in Athlone on the same day and she hopes to

see more Irish athletes racing at home this season. “I just don’t understand why people would go racing anywhere else,” she says. “This is a world-class facility. It’s a bit surreal to be here for a training session. In January and February last year I think I spent every weekend in Athlone. It’s fantastic and a huge tribute to Ciarán Ó Catháin and everybody around him at AIT. It’s what you’re looking for; a decent track where you can run fast times, and it’s up to us then to get the athletes out there racing each other.” There should be no shortage of that in the weeks ahead as Athlone prepares to host a number of high-level competitions; events which will showcase both the best of Irish athletes and a drove of international athletes of the highest calibre. Plans are already in motion to host a midweek, night-time international meeting on Wednesday, February 26. Already confirmed to compete are Olympic Decathlon champion Ashton Eaton and his wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who finished second in the heptathlon at last summer’s World Championships in Moscow. Several other major names in world athletics will also be competing against Ireland’s best.

YOUNG GUNS IN ATHLONE MICHAEL MULHARE Club: Portlaoise Coach: Chris Jones PBs: 3:46.20 (1500m), 8:02.08 (3,000m) Goals for 2014: The 10,000m will be my major target outdoors; I’ll try to qualify for that at the European Championships. I’ll have to run under 28:35. I’ll run some 5,000s as well. I 52 Irish Runner

want to try to stay consistent and then later in the year build towards the European Cross. Favourite Athlete: Mo Farah Favourite food: Pasta Favourite Film: Gladiator Best place you’ve ever gone for a run: The riverbank in Limerick.

DAVID MCCARTHY Club: West Waterford Coach: Chris Jones PBs: 3:40.48 (1500m), 3:55.75 (mile), 7:51.24 (3,000m) Goals for 2014: I’d like to think I’ll have a good indoor season and have a crack at the World Indoor standard over 1500m. I feel I’m untapped in both the 1500m and the 5,000m, so I’ll race all events outdoors and see where it takes me. Outdoors, the European

Championships will be the big target. I want to run fast. Everything is going to have to improve. Favourite athlete: Galen Rupp Best place you’ve ever gone for a run: Valley Forge Woods in Villanova Favourite film: The Wolf of Wall Street. It’s the type of life I’d probably have if I wasn’t a runner! Favourite food: Has to be soup and a sandwich.

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And it’s perhaps no surprise that they all want to come here. After all, you need only ask the athletes themselves after they race or train on the track to understand why such a buzz has been created in this relatively low-key town in the midlands. “It’s just unbelievable,” says Conor Bradley. “Indoors last year was incredible.” John Coghlan was equally impressed with the arena as both a training and competition venue: “It’s incredible, unreal,” he says. John Travers, who attends AIT, was also thankful to have access to such an arena when the weather makes outdoor training especially unappealing. “When the weather is awful, you look outside and think: ‘I don’t want to run’, but I love doing sessions and even runs in here,” he says. Paul McNamara, Athletics Ireland’s Regional Development Officer for the west region, sums up the arena’s effect as this: “I’ve been involved in athletics since 1989, and there are no two ways about it, it’s the most positive development in Irish athletics in a long time. All you have to do is look at the standard of competition week in, week out. Nenagh was fantastic; it was way ahead of its time. Every time there’s an event here, everybody wants to race. The superlatives just keep coming.” The good news for all those involved in Irish athletics is that the arena is operating without a debt and even in its first year as a startup company, is already financially stable. “The only costs we carry are operational,” says Ó Catháin, “and we’ve 140 spaces in the car park underneath, so that makes a contribution. We broke even on year one, and that augurs well for the future. “We needed something that was of international standard that could attract people, and it has. When you see the reaction of the athletes, the parents and the coaches; that to me confirms that we’re getting a great return on investment.” The cost may have come in at a little over €10 million, but as for its worth – the value to Irish athletics of having a place like this as its heartbeat – well, that’s pretty much priceless.

JOHN COGHLAN Club: Metro St. Brigid’s Coach: Chris Jones PBs: 3:42.97 (1500m), 3:59.32 (mile) Goals for 2014: Ideally, I’ll be targeting the European Championships, but it’s a matter of getting the times down. I know I have good strength in me, but it’s a matter of getting it out in the right way, and believing in myself.

JONES HAS BIG PLANS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD National Endurance Coach Chris Jones has set in motion a number of initiatives that he hopes will continue to raise the bar of Irish distance running in 2014. Jones, who coaches a number of Ireland’s leading middle-distance runners, hopes that by supporting and encouraging the athletes on the cusp of qualification for major championships, the overall standard will continue to rise. “There are many fringe athletes who aren’t on funding, and a lot of those get into no-man’s land in their mid-20s,” he says. “Our training camp in Font Romeu in October was about bringing people together, exposing them to a professional setup and seeing what they can do. “We’ll have another camp in Spain in March; I’ll invite athletes with the intention of qualifying for the Europeans, and if we can pay for the accommodation, resources, then all they have to do is get a flight and get out there; that’s never been there before. The mechanism in Irish sport is always to just give athletes the cash. What I’m trying to do is strengthen the stepping stones up there to give people a chance. “I’d love to take a lot of athletes on B standards to the European Championships. It exposes them to a high level of competition. We need to

Best race you’ve ever run: National Indoors last year. I went in so confident. Best place you’ve ever gone for a run: Luttrellstown Castle. Favourite food: Tea and scones. Favourite film: American Gangster Favourite Car: Porsche 911 Turbo. You’d need about 90 grand to get one though.

get more athletes to championships. Hopefully, we’ll have three in the 5,000m, three in the 10,000m and two marathon teams.” Athletics Ireland faced criticism before Christmas for not selecting any athletes in the Under 23 women’s category for the European Cross Country, and Jones views it as an essential part of his role to boost performances in that sector. “We have a huge concern about the standard of women’s running. The noises made about not selecting a team at Under 23 level; they’re healthy noises. It puts the debate out there. I’m happy to look at this and ask how are we going to raise the bar. We hope to build relationships with the coaches and offer them more support.” Another goal of his is to encourage more middledistance athletes to target the steeplechase, which he feels is a forgotten event. “We’ve got guys who can run 3:42 for 1500 or 8:05

JOE WARNE Club: Doheny Coach: Chris Jones PBs: 1:50.32 (800m), 3:45.86 (1500m) Goals for 2014: Indoors, I’d like to break 1:50 for 800m and get close to a fourminute mile. Outdoors, I want to get my times down as much as possible, and get as close as I can to the European Championship standard for

for 3,000m. They can run inside 8:40. I’m working with the Irish Milers’ Club to put on some 2,000m steeplechases in the summer to get more athletes trying the event. “We’re also looking at guys targetting the marathon earlier in their career. Those athletes who can run 14 minutes for 5K, 28:50 for 10K; we want to look at their physiology with their coaches and see if they can go to the marathon, because you don’t want to leave it too late.” Jones would also like to see more co-operation between coaches, so that more athletes come together to train in groups. “I’d love to see many more formal sessions where people can come along, train together and we can check and test things that support coaches and athletes. There’s certainly no need to be cloak and dagger about anything; it isn’t that secretive. We should encourage more people to be open.”

1500m. Favourite athlete: Eoin Everard. He proves that perseverance pays off. Best place you’ve gone for a run: a 20km trail run up the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Favourite film: Lord of the Rings Favourite food: Pancakes Favourite Music: Ben Howard Irish Runner 53

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Team Amphibian King / PUMA THE AMPHIBIAN KING CHAIN of retail running stores has earned a big reputation with runners of all levels of fitness. The first Amphibian King running store was launched seven years ago in Bray by distance runner and triathlete Damien McKeever, who has since built around him a team of like-minded professionals who are passionate and expert in all areas of running and fully in tune with runners’ needs – footwear, apparel, gadgets and sound training advice. There are now Amphibian King running stores in Bray, Ballymount, Ashtown, Oranmore (Galway) and Limerick - each managed and operated by runners for runners. The latest to open its doors is in Ashtown, close to the Phoenix Park where wellknown runner Kevin English and top-rated triathlete Mark Horan are at the helm. A regular visitor to the Ashtown Amphibian King store is Gary O’Hanlon, the Clonliffe Harrier who last year won five of the top marathons in Ireland. O’Hanlon is one of six runners on a team sponsored by Amphibian King and PUMA. Last year O’Hanlon and Maria McCambridge were sponsored by Amphibian King and both athletes enjoyed considerable success on the roads. Maria McCambridge crowned a brilliant running career with victory in the Airtricity Dublin Marathon and Gary O’Hanlon rounded off his big 54 Irish Runner

year by winning the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon. O’Hanlon and McCambridge are joined on the 2014 Amphibian King/Puma Team by Women’s MiniMarathon winner Siobhan O’Doherty, (Borrisokane AC), Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) the Moldovan native and international athlete who now wants to declare for Ireland, Anne Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC), who made a brilliant comeback to competitive running in 2013 and Philip Harty, (Donore Harriers) who set a personal best in last year’s Berlin Marathon. These six receive complete running kit - shoes, apparel, nutrition and compression - from Amphibian King and PUMA and all six are well respected ambassadors for the two leading brands; Amphibian King and Puma. “The two athletes we sponsored last year delivered some great performances that prompted us to expand the Team,“ Kevin English said. “We are now supporting six athletes around the country and each has the same passion for running as all the management and staff at the five Amphibian King retail running stores.” The PUMA brand is well known and highly regarded with Irish runners and Ruth How, Head of Marketing of PUMA UK and Ireland is happy with the brand’s new link-up

with Amphibian King and the six team members. “We are delighted to be working with our retail partner Amphibian King which is now showcasing our Faas footwear and Nightcat Apparel,” Ruth How said. “We are equally proud to announce the partnership with Amphibian King’s running ambassadors as their official footwear and apparel supplier and we wish them every success in the year ahead.” Just as this issue of Irish Runner went to press, there was good news for the Amphibian King/PUMA team when Siobhan O’Doherty came home a winner in the John Treacy Dungarvan 10. O’Doherty will be aiming to defend her Women’s Mini-Marathon title in June and Maria McCambridge too will be making every effort to defend her Dublin Marathon and National Marathon titles next October. “It is great to see this type of support for a team of very dedicated Irish runners,“ Gary O’Hanlon said. “It feels good to know that the performances Maria McCambridge and myself delivered last year helped to influence the decision by Amphibian King and PUMA to support four more athletes this year. We will all be aiming to give our sponsors a good return on their investment in 2014.”

You can find Amphibian King running stores at: ASHTOWN Unit 1 Rathbourne Village Centre Ashtown Dublin 15 Phone: (01) 8910009 BALLYMOUNT Base2Race Unit 46a Fashion City, Ballymount Dublin 24. Phone: (01) 4295769 BRAY Unit 1, Raven Hall Upper Dargle Rd Bray Co wicklow Phone: (01) 2761525 GALWAY 5 Howley Square Main Street, Oranmore Co Galway Phone: 091 483238 LIMERICK 3 Q Retail Childers Road, Limerick Limerick Phone: 061-312868

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Records on the Double Keith Doherty and Mark English were both in record-breaking form at the indoor Arena at Athlone IT. Photos: Paul Mohan & Pat Murphy, KEITH DOHERTY (Tallaght AC) delivered the performance of the day on Sunday, January 26th at the Woodie’s DIY Junior and U23 Indoor Championships of Ireland at the AIT International Arena in Athlone – setting a new Irish Junior 60m record of 6.88 seconds. The previous record of 6.90 seconds, set last year, was held by race favourite Marcus Lawler (SLOT AC), who had to settle for third in 6.95. Doherty’s club-mate Joseph Ojewumi finished second in the same time of 6.95 seconds. In all, five athletes dipped under seven seconds in this highly competitive event. Doherty started the day well by setting a personal best of 7.04 seconds in the qualifying heat, and said after the final: “I’m really shocked. I didn’t expect to even win a medal, yet alone break an Irish record.” He believes his significant progression made this season has come about due to his decision to focus solely on his athletics – pulling back from playing football and Olympic handball. Another big factor, he feels, is the support from his coach Daniel Kilgannon and assistant coach Tony Byrne. Marcus Lawler bounced back to win the Men’s 200 metres in 21.76 seconds. The junior women’s 60m race was won by Megan Marrs (City of Lisburn AC) in 7.68. Marrs went on to complete a double – winning the 60m hurdles in 8.84 seconds. The in-form Phil Healy (Bandon AC) won the U23 women’s 60m from Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) with Joan Healy third. Sarah Lavin continued her 2014 indoor campaign in style, winning the 60m hurdles in a new personal best of 8.33 seconds. “I felt it went really well, I’d a really good start,” she said. “I‘m obviously happy with the personal best, but I am looking to go faster over the coming weekend and get closer to the world qualification standard (8.16).” In the Men’s U23 400m, long hurdler Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) set a personal best to take the title in 47.17 seconds. In the junior men’s 1500m David Harper (Sligo AC) won in 4:08.85. Harper, who is coached by Dermot McDermott, was pleased to have won after missing the summer due to illness. Keith Fallon (Galway City Harriers) won the U23 1500m in 4:00.72 – three seconds clear of Peter Hanrahan (Togher AC). Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald AC) dominated the U23 1500m, taking the title in 4:34.85 with Nadia Power (Templeogue A.C.) taking the junior 56 Irish Runner

Head to head – Keith Doherty and Marcus Lawler.

Mark English (239).

women’s title in 4:50.15. In the Women’s 800m Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) won in 2:06.29. Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) was second in 2:10.77 and inside the standard of 2:11.00 for the European Youth Olympic Trials in Baku, Azerbaijan in May. Elizabeth Moreland (Cushionstown AC) also achieved the standard when taking the long jump title, jumping 5.81 metres. In the junior men’s 800m there was a

close contest between Harry Purcell (Trim A.C), Daniel Lawler (St. Laurence O'Toole AC) and Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC), with Purcell pulling away to win in 1:52.89. Lawler was second in 1:53.17 and Tully third in 1:53.49. A record number of athletes competed, with an increase of 33% on the 2013 entries and the championships were streamed live for the first time by AERtv. As we went to press there was another record broken in Athlone when Mark English (UCD AC) delivered a stirring performance as he powered his way to a new Irish Men's Senior 800 metres Indoor Record of 1:46.82 at the Woodie's DIY AAI Games. The previous record of 1:47.21 held by Daniel Caulfield of Dublin City Harriers- has stood for 13 years. The new record time was also inside the qualification time of 1:47.00 for the World Indoor Track & Field Championships which take place in Sopot, Poland in March. "It helped to have a pacemaker and David McCarthy (Le Cheile AC) brought us through the first 400 metres in 51 seconds. I was hanging on for dear life in the last 200 metres and thankfully I held on at achieve World Indoor Championships qualification and the Irish record", English said.

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Irish Runner Yearbook Competition Winners

Congratulations to all our Prize Winners. We received a big entry for this competition. We will have plenty of other competitions to enter during 2014.

Ronhill and Hilly are two leading technical running brands offering a complete range of technical running apparel, socks and accessories. The companies, were both founded by Dr Ron Hill, MBE, the former European, Boston and Commonwealth marathon champion, who has a personal best time of 2.09.28, set in 1970. In addition he hasn’t missed a day’s running in over 49 years! WINNERS OF RONHILL COMPETITION IN IRISH RUNNER YEARBOOK: 1st Prize -Technical Running Jacket, Long Sleeved T-Shirt, Shorts, Tights, Socks, Hat and Gloves Winner - (Male) Joe Cawley, Wicklow Town, (Female) Grace Hill, Naas, Co Kildare 2nd Prize - Technical Running Jacket Winner-(Male) Thomas Monks, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 (Female) Mary McManus, Ballinasloe, Co Galway

3rd Prize - Technical Running Jacket Winner- (Male) Paddy Tuite, Artane, Dublin (Female) Paula Hegarty, Trim, Co Meath 4th Prize- Technical Running Jacket Winner - (Male) James Finneran, Walkinstown, Dublin 12, (Female) Mairead Cronin, Kinsale, Co Cork. Pair of Hilly Running Socks: Mike Walsh, Kilcock, Co Kildare Fiona Fitzpatrick, Kinsealy, Co Dublin Justin Fogerty, Shannon, Co Clare

Ann Flynn, Greystones, Co Wicklow Kevin Scully, Tullamore, Co Offaly Ann Churchouse, Portlaoise, Co Laois Pat O'Dwyer, Lucan, Co Dublin Michelle Donaghy, Carondonagh, Co Donegal Frank Carey, Bruree, Limerick Martha Newman, Mullingar, Co Westmeath Darragh Cunnane, Tralee, Co Kerry Jennifer Ferguson, Skerries, Co Dublin. For Ronhill stockist information please contact KTR Enterprises Ltd. Tel: (01) 288 0311. E-mail:

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GOLDEN GOALS Mayo’s Con Doherty has been one of the most promising young stars in Irish sport over the last few years and has plans to reach the very top of world triathlon, as he tells Cathal Dennehy. PHOTOS: PAT MURPHY & DIARMUID GREENE, SPORTSFILE.COM

There’s something a little bit different about Con Doherty, the 18-year-old from Westport who is widely regarded as the next big star of the Irish triathlon scene. You notice it in the way he speaks, the quiet confidence he exudes in his own ability, his vast potential. Most Irish athletes would never be so bold as to publicly announce their longterm goals, for fear of falling embarrassingly short, but Doherty is different. “I want to be an Olympic gold medallist,” he says resolutely. If such a target sounds like just another teenager spouting pie-in-the-sky dreams, it shouldn’t, because Doherty’s underage 58 Irish Runner

record suggests he has every right to dream of the ultimate prize in world sport. Third in the World Junior Triathlon Championships in 2012 (while still two years underage), second in the World Junior Cross Triathlon Championships last year, and first in the European Cup event in Athlone, also last summer; Con Doherty may talk a big game, but everything he’s done in his career to date suggests his confidence is well founded. Even now, as a sixth-year student at Rice College, Westport, with the dreaded Leaving Cert looming into view, he finds time to squeeze in 17 or so hours of

training every week. “It’s study, train, eat, and sleep,” he says. “I’m in school from 9 until 3:30, then I go straight to the pool and swim from 4:30-6. I run from 6:30-8, doing either a session or a long run, and strides or drills. From 8 until 11.30 it’s just eat and study, and that’s it.” It’s a fairly monastic existence, but it’s the only way to live if he is to reach his academic and athletic targets this year. It takes a certain kind of discipline, a certain kind of single-minded attitude, to work like this, and Doherty has it in spades. It’s a product of his competitive nature – a want, a need, to be the best he can be. “I like to

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His underage record suggests he has every right to dream of the ultimate prize in world sport.

Cup Champion: Con Doherty (above and right) on his way to victory at the European Cup triathlon championship in Athlone last July.

push myself as far as I can,” he says. There’s a story from a few months back that illustrates this attitude in a nutshell. One day, during an end-of-season break from training, Doherty visited the sauna at the local pool. While there, he found his inner competitor engaging in a silent battle with anyone who came in to see who could endure the heat longer. “I wouldn’t say anything, but it’d be in my own head: ‘I’m going to last longer than you’. I do that all the time.” It’s why, after a bad race, his attitude is never to get depressed and think about quitting, but to steel himself to do better Irish Runner 59

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Flat out on the bike, Con Doherty, extreme right.

next time. “Most people tend to throw in the towel a bit after a bad result, but I find that’s when I’m most motivated,” he says. He recalls a national cross-country race in Derry a few years back to illustrate the point. A snow-covered course, freezing air which hampered his breathing (Doherty suffers from exercise-induced asthma) all combined to leave him bitterly disappointed with his result on the day. “I was thirsty for blood after that,” he says. “I wanted to do the race again the next day and win.” He’s learned a lot about himself these last few years, travelling the world and competing against the world’s best in the underage ranks. Last year, Red Bull, who are a major sponsor and support for Doherty, flew him out to their sports testing facility outside Salzburg for a battery of physiological and psychological tests. In the modern age of sports science, where ever-decreasing marginal gains separate winners and losers, knowledge is power; what Doherty learned in Austria proved invaluable to his development. It’s all there now, on paper for him, his coaches and mentors to analyse and apply. They have an encyclopaedia of specific information relative to his performance: stuff like blood values, his exact training thresholds, the curvature of his spine, the difference in power output between his legs, the angle his feet hit the ground, even the way his mind works. For example, he learned he is in the high range for self-confidence, the very high 60 Irish Runner

range for ambition, and also has a risktaking personality. Probably no surprise there, given that his sporting hero was a man who personified such traits: Ayrton Senna. “He embodied everything a sportsman and even a human should be,” says Doherty. “There was a humility about him; he went through a lot of hardship and dealt with it. He was also religious, and I’m pretty religious as well. I bless myself on the line and say a few prayers before competition.” Within the triathlon world, Jonathan Brownlee stands out as Doherty’s role model. “He’s very down-to-earth and driven, but he’s approachable and a nice guy too,” he says. Assuming all goes well academically over the next few months – and Doherty is equally accomplished in that sphere – he will relocate to Leeds University in the Autumn, where he will study physics and get the chance to train alongside the Brownlee brothers. Several of Doherty’s underage contemporaries are also based in Leeds, and training and studying there seems the perfect platform to raise him to the next level. Right now, Doherty trains mostly on his own, apart from linking up with others during Triathlon Ireland training camps. He is quick to credit the support he has received throughout his teenage years; the coaching and mentoring influences of guys like Stephen Lynch, Tommy Evans and Chris Jones. “Triathlon Ireland is a massive support, it really gets behind the athletes,” he says. “Considering the state the country’s in, they do their best.”

There are others, too, like his swimming coach Marian English, not to mention an ever-helpful family who are unquestionably his biggest supporters. “Mam and Dad are brilliant, and even my brothers,” he says. “Everything I want to do, they support.” It was actually while racing and beating his brother – who was on a bike, with him on foot – that the idea first struck Doherty that he could be a quality athlete. He joined the local athletics club at 13, then participated in and won his first bike race at 14. Triathlon came as a natural progression, and he has been part of the Irish team ever since. He will proudly don the Irish gear once again this summer, with two major targets foremost in his mind. The first is the European Junior Championships in Kitzbuhel, Austria; a race that takes place the day after his final Leaving Cert exam. Plans are already in motion to either take his last exam in Dublin before flying out or, if needs be, have an examiner travel with him to allow him to take the exam in Kitzbuhel. Whatever happens, he’ll find a way. In September, he’ll toe the line at the World Junior Championships and having already reached the podium in 2012, his aim is now to reach the top step. “The goal this year is to be World Junior Champion,” he says. There it is again, that ambition you don’t see all that often in Irish athletes, at least not expressed publicly. As I said, though, Doherty is a bit different. “I want to be as good as I can be, and see where that takes me,” he says. “I know I can be great.”

CON DOHERTY Age: 18 Home town: Westport, Co. Mayo Sporting Goal: To become the world’s best triathlete. Sporting Hero: Ayrton Senna

TRAINING: Running: 5 days a week, 1 hard track session (30-90sec intervals), a long run (25-30K), 3 easy runs (10-15K) Cycling: Long spin on Sunday (100K+), midweek turbo session (90mins) Swimming: 5-6 times a week with 3 intense sessions (90 mins each) Gym: One long gym session each week, covering overall strength and conditioning.

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The Tralee International Marathon will take place on the 16th March. The event will include a half and full marathon. Last year the race was called the "Peoples Marathon" due to the great support on the route. The marathon has it's roots in the community of Tralee, so everyone is guaranteed a special welcome in Tralee. So don't miss out on this great event register now at: Full â‚Ź60, Half â‚Ź50.

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Triathlon Ireland News New Horizon, New Challenge



After winning our Base2Race Triathlon Starter Pack, Lanesboro’s Brid O’Reilly is poised to take the plunge in her first triathlon. It’s the dream of any aspiring triathlete to be able to enter their first event with a full set of all the right equipment. Most have to compromise somewhere - at least until they know for sure that triathlon is the sport for them. For 38-year-old mother of three Brid O’Reilly, there’ll be no borrowed wetsuit or rusting jalopy when she takes the plunge in her first triathlon later this year. After winning our Issue 1 Base2Race Competition, a delighted Brid is the proud and excited owner of a complete set of trigear, including a Specialized Allez bike, shoes and helmet, plus Zero D wetsuit and tri-suit and a host of accessories - all to a value of over €1600. “When I started training last year I was on a borrowed mountain bike, and I was swimming in a man’s wetsuit, which wasn’t ideal!”, says Brid. “I just can’t believe that I’ve got all this amazing gear now. It’s going to make a huge difference.” “I don’t have any great ambitions for times or competitive results; for me it’s about feeling fit and achieving a goal, which for this year means entering and completing my first full event. On July 12th, my club hosts the Two Provinces Triathlon, which will be a busy day for me, as I’m Children’s Officer for the

Base2Race competition winner Bríd O’Reilly receives her big prize from Paul O’Connor, Base2Race Ballymount

club and we have a Kidathon earlier in the day. “Although I’ve always valued fitness, I’ve only been back training for two years. My first two children, Callum and Aideen were born just 16 months apart. Their little brother Coimeach is three now, and it was only when he reached 12 months that I started running again. I was out of work and I just felt I needed some ‘me time’ to keep my spirits up.

National Duathlon Series With the explosion in the popularity of duathlon racing, Triathlon Ireland will be introducing a National Duathlon Series for the 2014 season. The Duathlon series should prove a competitive environment for triathletes looking for some early season racing along with duathletes or runners wishing to try some multisport racing. The Series kicks off on the 22nd of February at the Connemara Duathlon in Galway with a further eight races to choose from over February, March and April. The Series will finish with the National Duathlon Championships which is being hosted by Fingal Triathlon Club on the 5th of April. Scoring will be based off an athlete’s best 2 results + the National Duathlon Championships with a full list of series races available at Regional Championships New for the 2014 season is the introduction of Regional Championship races and the opportunity to be crowned the champion of Leinster, Munster, Connaught or Ulster. The Ulster and Connaught Championships will take place on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of August while the best of Munster and Leinster will do battle on the 16th of August. These should be really exciting developments in competition with Regional Championships being thriving events in many other sports promoting competition at a more local level.

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After I had been running a while, someone suggested that I join Lanesboro Triathlon Club and though I was reluctant at first, once I started going, I loved it. The big barrier was always going to be the swimming, and at first I got around that by entering relay events, where I took the running leg. Now the plan is to get a full triathlon under my belt. I also plan to run a marathon this year, so I’m going to be busy!”

Ulster - Tri the Lough Sprint Triathlon, August 2 Connaught - Predator Sprint Triathlon, August 3 Munster - The Edge Sports Blackwater Triathlon Leinster - Tri the Hook, August 16 Junior Academy Training Triathlon Ireland is delighted to announce the launch of the Junior Academy with the first training day in February 2014. With a huge growth in the number of juniors wanting to take part in triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon the Junior Academy will provide an avenue along with clubs for these young athletes to train and develop their skills. The Junior Academy caters for 10 to 19 year olds offering coached training days and ongoing support and mentoring. The initial training days are open to all levels from those seeking their first taste of triathlon or duathlon to the more experienced athlete wishing to make the step up to the National Junior Squad. 2014 Academy Days Greystones, 2nd February, 10am - 5pm Carlow, 1st March, 10am - 5pm Donegal, 3rd May, 10am - 5pm Derry, 5th July, 10am - 5pm Cork, 6th September, 10am - 5pm Dublin, 1st November, 10am - 5pm

62_TRI_PAGES_Layout 1 03/02/2014 17:29 Page 2 RACE REPORT

‘BUTCHERS BLOCK DUATHLON’ PUNCHESTOWN, CO KILDARE, JANUARY 19 The ‘Butchers Block Duathlon’ kicked off the 2014 season in Punchestown on Sunday January 19 with over 200 triathletes of all abilities tackling the course. The event started with a 3.5K run around the racecourse, followed by a 20km bike leg out to Blessington and back - with a second lap of the racecourse to finish. Cork-based Cathal O’Donnabhainn was in flying form on the first running leg, leading Mariusz Olejniczak with a run time of 9:57. It was clear O’Donnabhainn was determined to start the year off with a victory. He did so in fine style, setting a new course record of 52:26 in the process. Mariuz, a previous winner of the race and member of Naas Triathlon Club, finished second, with Peter Kern placing third. In the women’s race, it was no surprise to see last year’s series winner, Caroline Conway, leading after the first run, but Kitty Perle was in no mood to make it easy for her and pressed her all the way. In the end Conway’s run speed made the difference and she led the way home 1:04:37, just over a minute ahead of Kitty, with Aisling

Mariusz Olejniczak (2nd,) Cathal O'Donnabhainn (1st), Peter Kern (3rd)

Flanagan taking third spot. For many of those competing it was a first attempt at a duathlon - an ideal way to get involved in the sport of triathlon. Luckily the weather was favourable on the day, which made it all the more enjoyable. The second leg of this popular race series hosted by Naas Triathlon Club is on February 23 and entries are filling fast.

NO SECRET FORMULA FOR TRAINING SUCCESS BY TOMMY EVANS. TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, TRIATHLON IRELAND I get asked by numerous people, be they triathletes, cyclists or coaches - what is the real secret of training? My answer for a long long time has been the same - there is no secret! It’s all about ‘bread and butter work’! Bread and butter? In sporting terms that means doing the basics, the fundamentals, as best you can before you start looking to do anything fancy! But what are the basics and fundamentals? Things like hydration. Prior to, during and after training, most of the weight lost during a training session is fluids that need to be maintained to keep the body working at its optimum level. Fuelling - getting the correct balance of foods when you’re training hard; enough carbs to fuel the energy system, proteins to repair and rebuild the damaged muscles, and enough nutrients to stay healthy. Recovery - your body needs time to recover; early-morning swims soon eat into your sleep if you’re not getting to bed early enough or don’t have time to get a nap after training. Equipment - running shoes, cycling cleats, tyres brakes; all little small simple things that if left in poor condition can affect the rest of your

season, should anything go wrong due to them being worn. Don’t be afraid to change a plan; if you’re fatigued and your body is giving you signals, listen to it. Get to know the signs when you need a rest or when a niggle can turn into something more significant. This is all before you put a toe in the water, tyre on the road or foot on the trail! At our recent training camp in Aguillas we had 14 of our top triathletes and two international cyclists for a solid block of aerobic training. Our training was no different to what a lot of you are doing at home; the majority of the work that we did was quality aerobic conditioning work. I am lucky enough to have worked alongside two of the best coaches in endurance sports; Chris and Simon Jones and the one thing they both emphasised to me was that quality aerobic work is the the most important building block in an athlete’s armour; build this well and you will have the foundation to add the rest of the engine components on top. Forget that €6,000 bike and €2,000 wheels to save a few seconds; get the formula above right first and see what you can save.

EVENTS FEBRUARY 8 Predator Duathon Duathlon Sprint Portumna, Galway 22 Conamara Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Carraroe Galway 23 Limerick Triathlon Club Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Limerick Limerick 23 Naas Duathlon 2 Duathlon Sprint Naas Kildare MARCH 1 Fingal Tri Club Duathlon 2 Duathlon Sprint Skerries Dublin 1 Fota Island Challenge Series Duathlon Sprint Fota Island, Cork Cork 2 West Clare Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Kilkee Clare 8 Ashford Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Cong Mayo 8 Fastnet Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Schull Cork 9 Tri An Mhi Trim Castle Duathlon - R1 Duathlon Sprint Trim Meath 9 Letterkenny Sprint Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Letterkenny Donegal 16 Banner Duathlon Duathlon Standard Shannon Clare 23 Clonakilty Duathalon Duathlon Sprint Clonakilty Cork 23 Ennis Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Ennis Clare 23 Naas Duathlon 3 Duathlon Sprint Naas Kildare 30 Knockma Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Belclare Galway 30 Tri An Mhi Trim Castle Duathlon - R2 Duathlon Sprint Trim Meat APRIL 5 Portlaoise Triathlon Tri Sprint Portlaoise, Laois 5 Fingal Tri Club Duathlon 3 Duathlon Standard Skerries Dublin 5 Waterford Duathlon (Butlerstown) Duathlon Sprint Waterford 6 Bantry Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Bantry Cork 6 Wetlands Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Ballybay Monaghan 13 Omagh Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Omagh Tyrone 26 Delphi Duathlon Duathlon Sprint Leenane, Galway 27 Joey Hannan Memorial Triathlon Tri Standard Limerick 27 Joey Hannan Memorial Triathlon Tri Sprint Limerick 27 Joey Hannan Memorial Triathlon Tri Super Sprint/Try-a-tri Limerick 27 Letterkenny Try-A-Tri Tri Super Sprint/Try-atri Letterkenny Donegal Irish Runner 63

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European Award for Bernie PHOTO: DONAL GLACKIN

Galway City Harriers Club Secretary and Fit 4 Life Leader Bernie Kelly has had good reason to celebrate recently after receiving a certificate and pendant from European Athletics in recognition of her outstanding leadership role for women that has made the GCH Fit 4 Life group one of the biggest and most successful in the country. The Galway City Harriers stalwart is a woman who always exudes positivity and good humour and since 2007 she has played a pivotal role in developing the Galway City Harriers Fit 4 Life section into a hugely successful division of the club which last year boasted 1,083 members – the biggest in the country. And yet there was a time, not too long ago, when Kelly would have considered a club like Galway City Harriers to be elitist and territory into which only finely-tuned athletes would be welcome. Kelly started her own running career shortly after her youngest son Donal was born – almost 25 years ago, but it took her a long time to discover that there would be a welcome embrace for her at her local Galway City Harriers. A mother of three, Kelly started out walking all those years ago in an effort to lose weight and improve her vitality and fitness levels. She soon progressed to jogging and after that found her feet as a runner. It was only when she joined Galway City Harriers in 2000 that she started to realise that athletic clubs had much to offer for ordinary mid-pack runners like herself. Her early experience of group training was with the local Meet&Train groups preparing for the annual Women’s Mini-Marathon in Dublin, but since the Athletics Ireland Fit 4 Life programme was adopted by GCH in 2007, Kelly has found her vocation in encouraging and cajoling an ever-increasing

membership to achieve special things for themselves. She remembers the early days of the GCH Fit 4 Life group when she put up posters in the Library where she works promoting this new training plan, suitable for people of all ages and every level of fitness. There were about 30 sign-ups for that first GCH Fit 4 Life training session and today the membership has grown to well over 300. “We could think of no better candidate for the award as we know the special effort Bernie Kelly has made over the years in encouraging hundreds of women in Galway to discover new and invigorating lifestyle through walking, jogging and running, “ Moira Aston from Athletics Ireland Competition Department said. “Bernie has shown exceptional leadership qualities and her Galway City Harriers Fit 4 Life group is a model of how this Athletics Ireland

programme can work to best effect.” When she eventually joined Galway City Harriers, Bernie Kelly found that being a club member brought more structure and enjoyment to her training and she has always tried to mirror this with the groups she now trains at the club. Kelly also believes that the social dimension that the club’s Fit 4 Life programme has to offer has equal importance to the physical gains that people experience. “I always try to make training a fun experience and it is wonderful to see the strong friendships that begin within the Fit 4 Life group,” she said. Kelly has her own racing goals for 2014 and included in them is the Woodie’s DIY National Masters Cross Country Championships, the Ballycotton 10, the Craughwell 10 and the Warriors’ Run in Sligo. For more information on Fit 4 Life groups countrywide, visit:

Vlasic thanks her Star Therapist Croatian high jump star Blanka Vlasic will return to competition on February 15 after undergoing successful treatment in Carlow with renowned physical therapist Anthony ‘Star’ Geoghegan, writes Cathal Dennehy. Irish Runner visited Geoghegan’s Carlow clinic in November during one of Vlasic’s visits, and the former high jump world champion spoke in glowing terms about Geoghegan’s ability to heal 64 Irish Runner

what had become a chronic source of pain. “The way Star treats, it’s very painful, but I’m handling it really well,” she said. “Star has made some changes in my training and along with the treatment he gave me, it has helped so much. There is also a friendship between us. I’m blessed because Carlow is a place where, whatever happens with my body during my career, that I can come to and I’m certain that I can get

back competing.” Vlasic will make her comeback in Gothenburg on February 15 before competing in Prague on the 25th and, all going well, she hopes to reclaim her World Indoor title in Sopot, Poland in early March. “I miss the rush, the adrenaline, that comes with competition. It’s a really exciting sport. When track and field gets under your skin, it stays there forever.”

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Young Stars Shine in Carlow

Carlow: Ava Murphy, (St Laurence O’Toole AC), Daniel Lawler, (St Laurence O’Toole AC), Francis Abbey, (St Laurence O’Toole AC), Dublin: Anne-Marie Torsney, (Fingallians AC), Jack Rudden Kelly, (Donore Harriers), Karol Cronin, (Sports World), Kildare: Kathryn Weir, (Crookstown AC), Conall Hayes, (Le Cheile AC), Vivian Fleishcher, (Celbridge AC), Kilkenny: Shannen Dawkins, (St Joseph’s AC), Jack Manning, (KCH), Emma Fenlon, (St Joseph’s AC), Laois: Niamh Quinn, (Portlaoise AC), Eoghan Buggy, (St Abban’s AC), Barry Regan, (St Abban’s AC), Louth: Amy McTeggart, (Boyne AC), Mark Rogers, (St Peter’s AC), Geraldine Finnegan, (Dunleer AC), Meath: Elizabeth Morland, (Cushinstown AC), Keith Marks, (Cushinstown AC), Karen Dunne, (Bohermeen AC), Offaly: Eileen Rafter, (Tullamore Harriers), Dean Power, (Tullamore Harriers), Laurence O’Reilly, (Tullamore Harriers), Westmeath: Moya Leydon, (Mullingar Harriers), Glen Gaffney, (Mullinger Harriers), Vicky Harris, (Mullingar Harriers), Wexford: Orla Furney, (Menapians), Ciaran Joyce,


There was a big attendance at the recent 2013 Leinster Star Awards dinner in the Seven Oaks Hotel in Carlow, organised by Leinster Athletics. Rose Anne Galligan from Newbridge Athletic Club received the Outstanding Achievement Award for 2013 in recognition of her excellent track season, during which she broke Sonia O’Sullivan’s national 800 metres record. Athletes from all of the Leinster counties were honoured at the event and the recipients were:

Dempsey (Greystones & District AC), Laura Kavanagh, (Greystones & District AC). Star Recipients Throws: Anita Fitzgibbon (DSD), Walks: Sinead Burke, (St Coca’s AC), Masters: Lisa Connolly, (Dunleer AC). Outstanding Service to Athletics Awards: Charlie O’Neill, (Donore Harriers), Johnny Lyons, (Laois- nominated posthumously), Michael Gellispie, (Offaly) and Mary Agnew, (Louth). Former distance supremo – Matt Rudden with his Grandson Jack Rudden. Photos: PL Curran.

(Enniscorthy AC), Catherina Corcoran (Bree AC), Wicklow: Ara Freeman (Greystones & District AC), Conor

This was another highly enjoyable occasion. Top marks go to Carmel Kelly, Chairperson of Leinster Athletics, and her hard-working committee for organising a great night of athletics celebration.

Top Runners set to race in Armagh A host of Ireland’s best distance runners will test themselves against a topquality international field on Thursday, 20th February in the ever-popular Brooks Armagh 5k and International Road Races. With a host of athletes combining National, European, World and Olympic experience between them, there’s every possibility that both the men’s and women’s records could be broken on the night.

In the men’s race, Irish athletes Mark Kenneally, Michael Mulhare, Mick Clohissey and John Coghlan will face off against some high-calibre international competition, including Tom Lancashire and Ryan McLeod of England, Krzysztof Zebrowski of Poland and USA’s Kevin Schwab. Of the local challengers entered, Joe McAlister and Stephen Scullion could come up with the goods in their own home territory.

In the women’s race, the international challenge is led by leading Polish athlete Matylda Szlezak. However, the fastest woman in the field is Stevie Stockton, the Welsh International who has recorded 9.00.67 for 3,000m. Also in the line-up is Ireland’s Ava Hutchinson, a member of the famous Irish European Cross Country Championship gold medal winning team two years ago. Kerry Harty will lead the Northern Ireland team.

This year’s women’s 3K looks set be the best ever with record entries already indicated from the preentries four weeks out from the race. The 12-event programme kicks off at 6.30pm with nine underage races taking the programme up to 8.05pm and the Women’s 3K International. Then at 8.20pm we have the International Armagh Brooks 5K followed at 8.45pm by the open men’s 3K. Irish Runner 65

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Clonakilty’s Warm Embrace Clonliffe's Gary O'Hanlon took a hard-earned victory in the men's marathon as Scotland's Joasia Zakrzewski won the women's race. TEXT: FRANK GREALLY. PHOTOS: LIZ CARDOSO, GLOBAL CLICK PHOTOGRAPHY.

GARY O’HANLON of Clonliffe Harriers raced to his sixth marathon victory this year when he led the field home in the Clonakilty Waterfront event on December 7, finishing in 2:46:06. O’Hanlon took over the lead only in the final three miles of what is a testing but beautifully scenic course. He finished comfortably clear of Raivis Zakis of West Waterford, who placed second in 2:47:59. Rory Mooney finished third in 2:48:36. This was a hard-earned victory for Gary O’Hanlon as the Clonliffe runner had to worry about a niggling leg injury that had been troubling him for most of the previous week. “It felt like a hamstring problem and I was hoping that I would be able to complete the distance ,“ Hanlon said. “I had to run with a bit of caution, but I am delighted to win what is a really brilliant event with great atmosphere and top-class organisation.” This was O’Hanlon’s second successive victory in Clonakilty. Joasia Zakrzewski from Drumfries Running Club in Scotland was a clear winner of the women’s marathon, finishing in 2:48:41 - a time that earned her fourth place overall. The 37-year-old Scottish athlete, who has only been running for five years, has already made a big impact in international ultra-distance events, finishing second in the World 100km event in 7:41:04, where she beat all the British men. Joasia clocked 2:39:15 in the Frankfurt Marathon in October last year, just inside the Scottish standard of 2:40 for this year’s Commonwealth Games and she has twice finished fourth in South Africa’s Comrades Ultra-Marathon. A doctor based in Dumfries, she posted a 10-mile personal best of 57:00 when winning the Brampton to Carlisle race last November. She also won the bronze medal in the World 50km Championship and finished fourth in the World Trail 77km Race. The Drumfries-based doctor was delighted with her victory in Clonakilty. “There was great support out there today and this is a really lovely event,“ she said. Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers coasted to victory in the half-marathon in 1:08:44, after taking an early lead. 66 Irish Runner

The long road lies ahead.

There was great support out there today and this is a really lovely event.

Ciobanu, who represented his native Moldova in the marathon in the World Championships in Moscow in August, now has Irish citizenship on his 2014 wish list. “I have lived here now for a good few years and I

would love to run for Ireland,“ Ciobanu said. “I have enjoyed great support from my club and my Irish running friends and now I hope that I can become an Irish citizen in 2014.” Ciobanu also won the Clonakilty event in 2012. There was great cheer, too, for the local Cleary brothers Stephen and Robert, who finished second and third respectively in the halfmarathon in 1:14:15 and 1:20:37. Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) came home a winner in the women’s race in 1:26:32, with Ann Marie Holland (St Finbar’s AC) a close

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SPAR Omagh Half Marathon

Clonakilty Race Winners – Gary O’Hanlon & Joasia Zakrzewski.

Celebration time at the finish.

second in 1:26:50. Karen Walsh placed third in 1:29:34. Jude McEntee led the field home in the 10K event in 33:24 and Michael Dullen placed second in 33:40, followed by Alan O’Brien (Eagle AC) in third place in 33:50. Julia McMurray (Ballineen) won the women’s race in 40:53 and Anna O’Neill (Dohery AC) was second in 41:14. Mags Dempsey (Tracton AC) placed third in 42:55. There was a special link this year between the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon and the Boston Marathon and runners signed a special canvas at race registration in memory of those who died in the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy in April this year. The first and last miles of the marathon were also dedicated to the memory of those who died and all who ran in the 2012 event. Visiting Boston sports photographer Liz Cardoso, from Global Click Photography, was a special guest of the marathon organisers and she will bring the canvas, as well as lots of her excellent photographs from Clonakilty, back to the

Boston Marathon organisers. The Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon promotion is a labour of love for Race Director Bob Hilliard and his wife Maria, who along with a brilliant organising committee, put on a splendid show that includes the famous Clonakilty black and white puddings laid on for all finishers. This is an event with its own special charm, wrapped in great atmosphere and wonderful scenery too, all along the waterfront. “The hospitality you receive in Clonakilty is very special and that is why I want to come back here,“ race winner Gary O’Hanlon said. Over 2,500 took part across the three events. I can echo Gary O’Hanlon’s sentiments about Clonakilty and since my experience there in December I have referred to the event as ‘The Marathon With The Warm Embrace’. The hospitality that runners receive in Clonakilty is exceptional and the event has its own special charm. This West Cork town is a running destination that I can without any hesitation recommend to runners in 2014.

Preparations are well under way for this year’s SPAR Omagh Half Marathon and 5k fun run, set to be staged on Saturday, 29th March, and all signs are that this year’s field will top the 2,600 that toed the line in 2013. The organising committee are planning something special to mark the 25th edition of the race and have produced a commemorative booklet to capture interesting photographs and stories of the race. “Our event appeals to runners and walkers of all levels and we hope to have a greater schools participation this year to mark our Silver Jubilee,” said race director Michael Ward. “There will be £5,000 in prize money up for grabs and we will be encouraging people to dress up and add to the carnival atmosphere. With Technical Tshirts, engraved gifts to Half Marathon finishers, medals to 5K finishers, chip timing, race pacers and superb post-race refreshments all on offer, Omagh is the place to be.” All runners in the Half Marathon must pre-enter by 22nd March while 5K participants can register in advance or on race day. Both races start at Gibson school in Omagh and pass through the town centre before taking in the suburbs of the County town. Entries have now opened online at and it is recommended to enter early to guarantee participation. Those who enter early will be automatically entered into a draw for a 32” television. Everyone can avail of sandwiches and light refreshments provided by SPAR at the finishing line. On the day there will be on street entertainment creating a real buzz – a perfect family day! Irish Runner 67

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Cross Champions Crowned Fine performances, high spirits and impressive action distinguished a day of cross-country in Waterford, writes Frank Greally PHOTOS: Matt Browne, SPORTSFILE.COM

Sean Tobin

Michelle McGee

There was terrific atmosphere at the Woodie’s DIY National Novice Cross Country Championships, held at the WIT Campus in Waterford on Sunday, December 16th over a challenging course that included a couple of stiff hills. Sean Tobin from Clonmel AC had to work hard to achieve victory in the Men’s Novice Championship event, but the Tipperary runner finished the 6,000m course strongly in 19:23 to claim the title. There was great local cheer too for Andrew Connick from Ferrybank AC, who finished second in 19:32. Early race leader Cathal O’Donovan from St Finbarr’s AC held on well to finish third in 19:44. Donore Harriers won the team title with 51 points reason for big celebration as the Dublin club celebrates its 120th anniversary. Dublin won the Inter-County team title with a score of 78 points. This victory by Sean Tobin was a followon from his ninth-placing in the Junior Men’s race at the European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia the previous week. Michelle McGee from Brothers Pearse Athletic Club in Dublin coasted to an 68 Irish Runner

Caoimhe Harrington

impressive victory in the Women’s Novice Championship event in 14:48. McGee, a native of Longford, made a big breakthrough last year, winning the Longford Half Marathon in August, as well as the Jingle Bells 5K in early December in the Phoenix Park. The Women’s National Novice Champion is coached by another Longford native, Enda Fitzpatrick, and she looks set for further success. Kate Cronin (Raheny Shamrock AC), who led her club to victory, finished second in 15:05 and Mary Mulhare, (Portlaoise AC) was third in 15:26. Dublin won the Inter-County Team title with 43 points. There was impressive action up front in a series of juvenile events. Young athletes to impress included Sarah Morrison (St Nicholas AC) and Malcolm McEvilly (Westport AC) who won their respective Girls’ and Boys Under 11 events, Sarah Healy (Blackrock AC and Fionn Looney (Emerald AC) – winners of the Under 13 Girls and Boys Championships, and Caoimhe Harrington (West Muskerry AC) and Christy Conlon who won their respective Under 15 Girls and Boys events. Young Siofra O’Flaherty from St

Kevin Mulcaire

Laurence O’Toole AC in Carlow also looks like an athlete with a bright future, looking smooth and in-control when winning the Under 17 title. Likewise, Kevin Mulcaire from Ennis Track Club also impressed when winning the Under 17 Boys title. Linda Conroy from Mullingar Harriers held on well to win the Under 19 Girls title and Con Doherty from Westport AC delivered a powerful front-running performance to win the Under 19 Boys race. Doherty’s victory made it a special day for Mayo athletics, as Malcolm McEvilly had won the Under 11 Championship earlier in the programme. This was a testing day, too, for the small army of Athletics Ireland volunteers which joined with the local organisers, Waterford Athletic Club, to organise this day-long promotion. The driving forces behind the event locally were Cait Caulfield and Tom O’Brien of Waterford AC, who secured this excellent venue from WIT. Parking for 700 cars was provided at WIT, with a shuttle bus operating from a nearby overflow car park. It was a day of tough competition but high spirits in Waterford - a typical crosscountry day.

69_dunboyneFP_Layout 1 03/02/2014 17:38 Page 1


To join Jason Byrne and the gang on Team Temple Street please call Temple Street Fundraising Office @ 018784344.

Contact Bobby Hawkshaw @ 087 655 7000 / email.

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Starting Grid – AXA Raheny Shamrock 5-mile. Winner – Mark Christie – number 2010. Photos: Tómas Greally.


SATURDAY FEBRUARY 8 LEINSTER Rathcoffey GFC 10K Fun Run, 11am. Entry €20. MUNSTER Flann McMahon Memorial 10K Run, Cooraclare, Co Clare, 12 noon. Entry €20. Soup, sandwiches, prizes. C: Tess Stanley 087 6765382. Kenmare Bridge 10K, 2pm. AI Permit. Entry €15 10K, €10 5K. C: 085 2412815;

Compiled by Lindie Naughton All information correct when going to press but may be subject to change. Always check with race organisers and websites for any changes

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Ulster/ANI Indoors Day 1, Magherafelt, 10am. C: 02890602707 INTERNATIONAL British Indoors, Sheffield Day 1. SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9 LEINSTER Enniscorthy 10K, 12 noon. Entry €15/20. Cash prizes; €250 course record bonus. C: Jane Porter 087 6799490. Leinster Indoors (jun,sen,masters), Athlone, 10am.

Munster Juvenile Indoors U9-13 Day 1, Nenagh, 10am.

The Downs GAA Valentine’s Dash 5K, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, 12 noon. C: Dermot Power 086 6080077.

ULSTER Athletics Northern Ireland Cross-Country League Rd 7 (of 8), Enniskillen C-C , Necarne Castle and Equestrian Centre, Irvinestown.

MUNSTER Cork BHAA Janssen Pharmaceuticals 4-Mile, Little Island, 11am. C: Mark Murphy 086 1713786.

Run Forest Run Minnowburn 10K, Mary Peters Track, Belfast, 11am. ANI permit. C: Jane Rowe 07855586438;

Meelagh Valley Ring 10Mile , Meelagh Valley CC, Bantry, 11am. Entry €15/20. Also 5K fun run; entry €5. C: Rose Ui Shuilleabhain 087 2963213.

Castleconnell Boat Club 10K, 1.30pm. AI Permit. Entry €15/20; also 5K, €10/15.C: 087 6983500; Munster Juvenile Indoors U9-13 Day 2, Nenagh, 10am. CONNACHT Maree 8K, Oranmore, Co Galway, 1pm. With Amphibian King. Entry €15. Tote bag first 200 to reg. C: Paul McDonagh 087 4105404; ULSTER Finn Valley Spring Series Rd 1 (5K), Stranorlar, Co Donegal, 11am. Entry €5; t-shirt all who complete series; 10 prizes from all finishers. C: 087 2226112. Ulster/ANI Indoor C’ships Day 2, Magherafelt, 10am. C: 02890602707; North West Triathlon Club Winter 5K Series, Foyle Marina, 10am. C: Paul McGilloway 07828145964; INTERNATIONAL British Indoors, Sheffield Day 1.

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 11 Aviva Ulster Schools C-C, Mallusk, 12.30pm. WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 12 Aviva Leinster Schools C-C, Santry. West Waterford 20th All Rounder Winter League Rd 13 (of 14), Dungarvan, 7.20 pm. AI Permit. Entry €2 WW members/€3 nonmembers plus one-off €5 reg fee.  C: James Veale 086 8184762. Clonmel AC 4K Series, 7pm.C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13 Aviva Munster Schools CC, CIT, Cork. FRIDAY FEBRUARY 14 Dublin Juvenile Indoors Day 1, Santry, 7pm. SATURDAY FEBRUARY 15 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National Senior Indoor Championships, Day 1, Athlone. LEINSTER Garda BHAA Cross-Country, Phoenix Park, Dublin. Women’s 2m, 11am, men’s 4m, 11.30am. Reg Garda

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Want us to feature your race? Email Lindie at: MUNSTER 26th Eagle AC Tommy Ryan Memorial Carrigaline 5, 11am. C: Pat Murphy 086 3230310; Tralee Harriers 10-Mile 9am. C: Grace Creedon 087 9274620. Bausch and Lomb Kilmacthomas 5, Co Waterford 11am. Race 4 Michael Roche Series. C: James Veale 086 8184762. Milford Hospice Care Centre 10K, UL, 11am. C: 061 485860. Clonakilty Back-to-Back Marathons Day 2, 9am. Entry €123.50 or €64.20 for one day. C: Killian Walsh 087 0519895; www.clonakiltyback2back; Facebook.

New Year Tussle – John Coghlan (388), winner, and Tomas Fitzpatrick (105) 2nd in Tom Brennan 5k. Boat Club, Islandbridge. Entry €10 members/€15 guests. Dublin Juvenile Indoors Day 2, Santry, 11am. Donadea 50km (incorp Irish C’ships), Donadea Forest Park, Clane, Co Kildare, 9am Entry closed. C: Anthony Lee 085 1088474; Run Mount Juliet Half Marathon, Co Kilkenny, 11am. Entry €50. Also 10K, entry €35 and 3km, entry €10. C: Caroline Walsh 056 7773040; MUNSTER Kerry’s Eye Valentine’s 10Mile, Tralee, 9am. Entry €30. C: Grace Creedon 087 9274620. Ferrybank AC 4-Mile, Dunhill, Co Waterford, 12 noon. C: Brid Golden 087 6889330. Clonakility Back-to-Back Marathons Day 1, 9am. Entry €123.50 or €64.20 for one day. www.clonakiltyback2back; Facebook. C: Killian Walsh 087 0519895.

CONNACHT Cloonacool 10K, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, 12 noon. C: Mari Johnston 087 6907155.

Cooraclare Development Association 10k, Co Clare, 12noon. C: Tess Stanley 087 6765382.

Tony McGowan 10K, Drumshambo, Co Leitrim, 1pm. C: James Flynn 086 3687022.

ULSTER Annalee Templeport Brunch, Templeport GAA Grounds, Co Cavan. C: Paul Fahy 087 3150729.

ULSTER NiRunning 5-Mile Trail Race, Ballyboley Forestcar park, 11am. C: Ryan Maxwell 07754718760;

Comber Cup, Billy Neill Playing Fields, 1pm. C: Philip Gilmore 07768648821; INTERNATIONAL Birmingham Grand Prix, NIA, Birmingham. SUNDAY FEBRUARY 16 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National Senior Indoor Championships, Day 2, Athlone. LEINSTER Ras na hEireann CrossCountry, Oldbridge, Co Louth, 12 noon.Entry €5. C: Eugene Burns 087 9847106; Dublin Juvenile Indoors Day 3, Santry, 10am. Hills: Trooperstown, Co Wicklow (11km,380m), 11am.

St Aidan’s High School 10K Run and 56km Walk, Derrylin, 1pm. C: Raymond Johnston 07788168133. TUESDAY FEBRUARY 18 ALSAA Track Series Rd 5 Mile, Dublin Airport, 7.30pm. Entry €4 or €22 for 7-race series. C: Gerry Martin 087 2132244; Eugene Foley 086 3835695, PJ Noonan 018315803. WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 19 Raheny Shamrock Winter Road League Rd 7 (2m), 8pm. Entry €7 or €50 for 11-race series. Reg Raheny clubhouse (behind Scout den). C: 086 8158052. West Waterford 20th All Rounder Winter League Rd 14 (final rd), Dungarvan, 7.20 pm. Entry €2 WW members/€3 nonmembers. C: James Veale 086 8184762.

Clonmel AC 4K Series, 7pm. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. THURSDAY FEBRUARY 20 24th Armagh International R-R, The Mall, 6.30pm. C: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 21 BUSA Indoors, Sheffield (until Feb 23) SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National Senior Indoors Club League Day 2, Athlone. Operation Transformation 5K Fun Run, Phoenix Park, Dublin and Blarney Castle, Cork, 11am. Entry closed. LEINSTER Dublin Juvenile Indoors Day 4, Tallaght.

Useful info... ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION OF IRELAND Unit 19, Northwood Court, Northwood Business Campus, Santry, Dublin 9 01 886 9933

NORTHERN IRELAND ATHLETIC FEDERATION Athletics House, Old Coach Road, Belfast BT9 5PR 028 9060 2707

Wicklow Hospice Team 100 Half Marathon and 10K, Avondale Park, Rathdrum, 10am. AI Permit. Entry €20 (€25 on day). C: Billy Porter 087 2928680;


Fitzers 5K for Rehab, Dundalk, Co Louth, 10am. C: Jim Gonnelly 086 2902029.


MUNSTER Gneeveguilla 5K Spring Series Rd 4, Killarney demesne, 11am. AI Permit. Entry €5 on day; reg the Old Monastery. Followed by prizegiving. C: Tom Joe Donoghue 064 7756309. Monday Night Jobs Club Indoor, St Colman’s Community College, Cork, 8am. C: Shirley Garde 086 1985207. ULSTER Athletics Northern Ireland Cross-Country League Rd 8 (final rd), Stormont C-C, Belfast.

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 23 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY Irish Intermediate and Masters’ C-C Championships, Dunboyne, Co Meath. Also juvenile development races.

Cork branch:


FLORA WOMEN’S MINI MARATHON 27 Sandyford Office Park, Sandyford Ind Est, Dublin 18 01 293 0984

Irish Runner 71

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LEINSTER Dublin Juvenile Indoors Day 5, Santry. MUNSTER Dungarvan Business Centre 10K, Co Waterford 11am. Michael Roche Series. C: James Veale 086 8184762. Adare 10K, Co Limerick, 1pm. Entry €15. C: Willie Costello 087 4149782 Ballygiblin 5K, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, 11am. C: Michael Casey 086 2759248 ULSTER Finn Valley Spring Series Rd 2 (5K), Stranorlar, Co Donegal, 11am. Entry €5; tshirt all who complete series..C: 087 2226112. Ben Dearg Coast 10K, Stranford Rd, Kilclief, 1pm. C: Joe Quinn 07933214894; TUESDAY FEBRUARY 25 Aviva Connacht Schools C-C, Sligo Racecourse. WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 26 Clonmel AC 4K Series, 7pm. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888.

MARCH SATURDAY MARCH 1 LEINSTER Dublin Airport BHAA CrossCountry, Alsaa, Old Airport Rd, Dublin. Women’s 2.5m, 11.30am; men’s 5m, 12

72 Irish Runner

noon. Entry €10 members/€15 guests. Hills: Annacurra, Co Wicklow (11km, 480m), 12 noon. MUNSTER Wild West Run 15 Mile, Kenmare, Co Kerry, 11am. C: Tessa Dennisson 086 8781674; Facebook. Munster Juvenile Indoors U14-19 Day 1, Nenagh. CONNACHT Connacht Indoor C’ships, Athlone. Kinvara Rock and Road 10K and Half Marathon, Co Galway, 12 noon. Entry €22 and €28. T-shirt, medal all finishers; cash/voucher prizes C: 087 6959372; ULSTER Cara Bundoran Run 10 Challenge, 11am (10am walkers). Entry €25 (€30 0n day). Goody bag, t-shirt all finishers. €6,000 prize fund. Also 10K. C: Eamonn Harvey 087 2797548; Albertville 5-Mile, Duncrue St, Belfast, 2pm. C: Alison Wilson 07886996762 Winter League Trail Series 10 Mile, Lough Fea, 12 noon. C: Tommy Harraghy 02879632942.

SUNDAY MARCH 2 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National Senior and Junior Cross-Country Championships and juvenile intercounty C-C relays. Venue: Dundalk Racecourse LEINSTER Generali Bohermeen Half Marathon, Co Meath, 12am. Entry €25; t-shirt first 600 to reg. Also 10K, 11am. Entry €15; t-shirt first 200 to reg. C: Stephen Ball 086 0792580; MUNSTER Cork BHAA Bord Gais 5K, Lee RC, Marina, 11am. C: Liam Murphy 087 9318982. Munster Juvenile Indoors U14-19 Day 2, Nenagh.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 5 Raheny Shamrock Winter Road League Rd 8 (2m), 8pm. Entry €7 or €50 for 11race series. Reg Raheny clubhouse (behind Scout den). C: 086 8158052. Clonmel AC 4K Series, 7pm. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. THURSDAY MARCH 6 Wicklow Fit For Life League 2014 Rd 2, 5K, Rathdum. C: West Leinster Schools Confined C-C, Phoenix Park, Dublin. MARCH 7-9 IAAF World Indoor Championships, Sopot, Poland.

CONNACHT Cushlough 5K, Carrowkennedy Rd, Mayo. C: Jonathon Grimes 087 6537762.

SATURDAY MARCH 8 NATIONAL Aviva Irish Schools and IUAA Intervarsity C-C Championships, Cork IT, 12 noon.

ULSTER Carrick-on-Shannon 10K, 11am. Entry €10. C: Chris Callaghan 089 4147488

LEINSTER Leinster Juvenile Indoors Day 1, Athlone.

Born2Run Event, Rossmore Forest Park, Monaghan, 12 noon. C: James Campbell 086 8127672.

Hills: Maulin Winter, Co Wicklow (8km, 538m), 11am.

TUESDAY MARCH 4 Munster Schools’ Indoor Games, Nenagh, 11am.

ULSTER Carmen 10K, Carrickmore GFC, Omagh, 11am. C: Sinead Kerr 02880760557.

Roe Valley Country Park Trail Run, Limavady, 11.30am. C: Kenneth Bacon 02870124483. SUNDAY MARCH 9 LEINSTER Fit Magazine City Series Dublin 10K/5K, Phoenix Park, 10am. AI Permit. Preentry €20 for 10K; €13 for 5k; €22.50/€16 after Feb 28. C: Paul Ryan 01-7055850; Leinster Juvenile Indoors Day 2, Athlone. MUNSTER
 37th Ballycotton ‘10’, Co Cork, 1.30pm. Entry closed. ULSTER Finn Valley Spring Series Rd 3 (5K/10K), Stranorlar, Co Donegal, 11am. Entry €5; tshirt all who complete series; 10 prizes from all finishers.C: 087 2226112. Glaslough 5K, Co Monaghan, 12 noon. C: Eamonn Hackett 087 2219465. Addiction NI 10K, Ormeau Embankment, Belfast, 1pm. ANI Permit. C: Richard Dale 07737405831. WEDNESDAY MARCH 12 Mason Mortgages and Financial Services Colligan League, Dungarvan. Co Waterford, 6.15pm. C: James Veale 086 8184762

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Want us to feature your race? Email Lindie at: MARCH 15-16 European Winter Throwing, Lieria, Portugal. SATURDAY MARCH 15 LEINSTER AIG NUI Maynooth BHAA Cross-Country, NUI Maynooth. Women’s 2m, 11am; men’s 4m, 11.30am. Entry €10 members/€15 guests. MSD Run 4 Life, St LOT, Carlow, 11am. Entry €15.20. C: 087 6808432.

Ward 087 2210115; MUNSTER Tralee International Marathon, Contact: Borrisokane 10K, 1pm. Entry €15; €200 first M&F. Also 5K fun run, entry €10. C: John O’Farrell 087 2210115; Munster Masters Road Championships, Kilnaboy, Co Clare.

MUNSTER Pakie Ryan Memorial 10K/10 Mile, Newmarketon-Fergus, Co Clare, 11am. Entry €20; €10 students; children free.

CONNACHT Abbey Muintir na Tire 10K, Loughrea, Co Galway, 1pm. C: Gerard Larkin 086 8163581.

ULSTER Magherafelt Harriers 10K Classic, 12 noon. C: Rodney Young 07966962828.

ULSTER Jimmy’s ‘10’, Asda car park, Downpatrick, 11am. C: Joe Quinn 07933214894;

SUNDAY MARCH 16 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National Indoor League Final, Athlone.

Ballydehob 10k (Near Bantry), Contact: Rose Ui Shuilleabhain 087 2963213.

LEINSTER St Patrick’s Festival 5K, Dawson St, Dublin, 12 noon. Entry €15 (until Feb 14), €20 (until Mar 14), €25 on day. T-shirt all online entries; goody bag all finishers. Senior, master team prizes. C: Frank

MONDAY MARCH 17 LEINSTER Streets of Portlaoise 5K, Co Laois, 11.30am. Online entry €15 plus charges; tshirt for first 100 to reg. Cash prizes incl course rec bonus (14.52 men, 17.0 women). C: Joe Walsh 087 2075688;

Balbriggan Cancer Support Half Marathon/10M, 9.30am. C: 018410116/087 3532872. MUNSTER Ballinhassig 4-Mile, Co Cork, 11am. C: Jimmy Murray 086 3320461. ULSTER Monaghan Town Runners 5K and 3K. C: Dennis Sheridan 087 9254592. WEDNESDAY MARCH 19 Raheny Shamrock Winter Road League Rd 9 (mile), 8pm. Entry €7 or €50 for 11-race series. Reg Raheny clubhouse (behind Scout den). C: 086 8158052.

Trail: Wicklow Way Ultra (51km), Johnnie Fox’s Glencullen, 9.30am. Also Wicklow Trail (26km), Ballinastoe, 12 noon. MUNSTER Newmarket-on-Fergus Pakie Ryan Memorial 10K/10-Mile, 11am. Also 5K walk and 30km/50km cycle. In aid of Milford Hospice. C: 087 9478550. ULSTER Larne Half Marathon and Relay, 11am. Pre-entry £20 reg/£22 non reg; walk £12, relay £36 per team; on the day £25/327; walk £15, relay £42. C: INTERNATIONAL SIAB Schools International C-C, Bolton, England.

Mason Mortgages and Financial Services Colligan League, Dungarvan. Co Waterford, 6.15pm. C: James Veale 086 8184762

SUNDAY MARCH 23 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY AI Junior Indoor C’ships Day 2, Athlone.

SATURDAY MARCH 22 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY AI Junior Indoor C’ships Day 1, Athlone.

LEINSTER Killoe GAA 5K/10K, Co Longford, 12 noon. C: Sinead Killian 087 9315506.

LEINSTER Rhode Women’s Football Club 10K/5K, Co Offaly, 12 noon. C: Evelyn Malone 087 7934669.

MUNSTER Mallow 10-Mile, Co Cork, 12 30pm. Entry €20. Goody bag, t-shirt, food. €500 course rec bonus C: Denis Sheahan 087 2461515;

Quick Picks SUNDAY FEBRUARY 9 Cork BHAA Janssen Pharmaceuticals 4-Mile, Little Island, 11am For a large number of people, the BHAA list of races is the first thing that goes into the diary each year – and that's especially true in Munster. The BHAA racing scene has looked after keep-fitters and Olympians alike for well over thirty years and this year's programme is already well under way. Next up is the Cork BHAA Janssen Pharmaceuticals 4-Mile at Little Island, with the Bord Gais 5K three weeks later on March 2. To download the full fixture list, go to SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22 Wicklow Hospice Team 100 Half Marathon and 10K If you fancy a great-value race raising funds for a communitybased local project, then look no further than the Wicklow Hospice Team 100 Half Marathon and 10K taking place in Avondale Park, Rathdrum on Saturday February 22 (10am). Over the past year, the Wicklow Hospice 100 fundraising team have come ever closer to their €3m target, helped by the support of Daniel Day-Lewis, who ensured that all profits from the premiere of ‘Lincoln’ went to the fund. With no staff and virtually no costs, all the money raised by this dedicated group goes to ensuring Wicklow gets the hospice it so badly needs. Entry for the race is €20 (€25 on day). Info from Billy Porter 087 2928680;

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CONNACHT Craughwell 10-Mile, Co Galway, 1pm. Entry €20 before Dec 31; €25 after. ULSTER Finn Valley Spring Series Rd 4 (5K/10K; final rd), Stranorlar, Co Donegal, 11am. Entry €5; t-shirt all who complete series. C: 087 2226112 MARCH 25 – 30 WMA Indoors, Budapest, Hungary. TUESDAY MARCH 25 ALSAA Track Series Rd 3/Peter Doody Memorial (3000m), Dublin Airport, 7.30pm. Entry €4 or €22 for 7-race series. C: Gerry Martin 087 2132244; Eugene Foley 086 3835695, PJ Noonan 01-8315803. WEDNESDAY MARCH 26 Raheny Shamrock Winter Road League Rd 10 (mile), 8pm. Entry €7. Reg Raheny clubhouse (behind Scout den). C: 086 8158052 North County Farmers BHAA Floodlit 5K, Malahide RFC, 7.30pm. Entry €10 members/€15 guests. Morrison 6K Inter-Firm Series, Clonmel,7pm. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. Mason Mortgages and Financial Services Colligan League, Dungarvan. Co Waterford, 6.15pm. C: James Veale 086 8184762. SATURDAY MARCH 29 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY AI Junior Indoor C’ships Day 3, Athlone (relays). MUNSTER Eamonn Moloney Run for Life 10K, Ennis, Co Clare, 11am. Online entry €21.40. T-shirt first 350 entries; medal all finishers. Pacers; training schedules, spot prizes. Also 5K walk; entry €11. C: Jason 087 8453058 and Facebook. ULSTER 25th Spar Omagh Half Marathon and 5K fun run, Gibson Primary School, 12 noon (walk 11am). ANI Permit. C: Martin McLaughlin 07786764431; 74 Irish Runner

INTERNATIONAL IAAF World Half Marathon, Copenhagen SUNDAY MARCH 30 LEINSTER Eirgrid Dunboyne 4-Mile, 3pm. Entry €15/20. Goody bags, t-shirt, €400 first M&F plus course rec bonus (18.09 men, 20,20 women). Spots. Also juvenile programme from 2pm, €2 EOD. Medals, goody bags. C: Tommy 087-2534833. MUNSTER Cork BHAA UCC/Carmel Lynch Memorial 10K, Western Gateway Buildings, 11am. C: Gillian Cotter 085 7782586; Inchydoney 10-Mile, Clonakility, Co Cork, 10am. Also 4-Mile. C: Brian O’Donnell 087 2780225. Scoil Bhride GNS 8K, Crosshaven, Co Cork, 11am. C: Rose Copithorne 021 4831646. Munster Novice and Senior Road C’ships, Waterford venue.

APRIL WEDNESDAY APRIL 2 West Leinster Schools Medley Relays, Santry, 1pm. Mason Mortgages and Financial Services Colligan League, Dungarvan. Co Waterford, 6.15pm. C: James Veale 086 8184762. Morrison 6K Inter-Firm Series, Clonmel. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. FRIDAY APRIL 4 WIT 5K, Waterford, 7pm. AI Permit. Entry €10. C: Diane Behan 087 6324421; SATURDAY APRIL 5 NATIONAL LEINSTER St Brigid’s Hill Run, Mullagheen, Oldcastle, Co Meath, 12 noon C: Martin Heery 086 8564160. MUNSTER Leevale Open Sports Track Meet Day 1, CIT, Cork, 12 noon. C: Ina Killeen 086 8591522; SUNDAY APRIL 6 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY National 10K C’ships Incorporated in SPAR Great Ireland Run, Phoenix Park, Dublin. ie

Stormy Weather – Leaders battle the wind and rain in John Treacy Dungarvan 10-mile. Photo: Gary Lee.

MUNSTER 42nd Michael Egan Memorial 4-Mile R-R, Kilmurry, Co Clare, 1.30pm.

Marine Climb ‘6’, Dungarvan, 7pm. Ger Wyley Sports/Nike Summer Series Rd 1). C: James Veale 086 8184762

Lismullen School 10K in conjunction with Tara AC, 12 noon. C: Lisa O’Dowd 085 1416041.

Leevale Open Sports Track Meet Day 2, CIT, Cork, 12 noon. C: Ina Killeen 086 8591522.

Athletics Limerick Feet on the Street Rd 2.

Ballyfin 7K, Portlaoise, Co Laois, 11am. C: Cormac Fitzpatrick 086 8366561.

SATURDAY APRIL 12 NATIONAL IUAA Intervarsity T-F Championships Day 2, Waterford IT.

MUNSTER Ballincollig 5K, Regional Park, 11am. C: Mags Whyte 087 1436121.

ULSTER Titanic Quarter 10K, Belfast, 2pm. C: 028 90602707. TUESDAY APRIL 8 Ballymena Belles 5-Mile, Fenaghy Rd, 6.30pm. ANI Permit. C: Kelly Courtney 07714232691; WEDNESDAY APRIL 9 Raheny Shamrock Winter Road League Rd 11, incorp Raheny Open Mile, 8pm. Entry €7; followed by prizegiving. Reg Raheny clubhouse (behind Scout den). C: 086 8158052. Morrison 6K Inter-Firm Series, Clonmel. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888. THURSDAY APRIL 10 Loreto Schools T-F, Kilkenny FRIDAY APRIL 11 IUAA Intervarsity T-F Championships Day 1, Waterford IT.

LEINSTER NER Patsy Kelly 5K, Dundalk, 6.30pm. Entry €15. T-shirt first 500 entrants. C: Jim Gonnelly 086 2902029. Beach Bog Run, Castletown, Co Wexford, 1pm. SUNDAY APRIL 13 NATIONAL Woodie’s DIY AI Road Relay C’ships, Raheny, Dublin. ie LEINSTER South Dublin Sports Partnership,Tymon Park, 11am. C: Thomas McDermott 01 4149000.

Ferrybank AC T-F, Waterford RSC, 12 noon. C: Brid Golden 087 6889330. Lee Strand 5K and 10-Mile Classic, Castleisland, Co Kerry, 11am. Entry €10/20. C: 087 995647; ULSTER Inishowen Half Marathon, Buncrana, Co Donegal. C: Niall McGee 086 3426698. INTERNATIONAL London Marathon Rotterdam Marathon MONDAY APRIL 14 – or 16? Ballytotis 4-Mile, Co Cork, 8pm. C: Liam O’Brien 086 3111598.

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TUESDAY APRIL 15 ALSAA Track Series Rd 5 (Mile), Dublin Airport, 7.30pm. Entry €4. Final round; followed by series prizegiving. C: Gerry Martin 087 2132244; Eugene Foley 086 3835695, PJ Noonan 01-8315803. ND Meeting, Bangor, 6pm. C: WEDNESDAY APRIL 16 16
Ballintotis 4-mile, Co Cork, 8pm. C: Liam O’Brien 021-4633686 FRIDAY APRIL 18 LEINSTER Run with Ray 5K, Phoenix Park. C: Athletics Ireland 018869933 Good Friday Forest Run 5K/8K, Emo Court, Co Laois, 6.30pm. Entry €10. C: Pippa Hackett 086 8852368. Cranford Harriers AC, Gorey, Co Wexford, 6pm. C: Edel Byrne 087 9187206. MUNSTER Butlerstown 10K, Co Waterford, 7pm. Ger Wyley Sports/Nike Summer Series Rd 2. C: James Veale 086 8184762. Liscarroll 5K, Doneraile Park, Co Cork. C: Esther Fitzpatrick 087 6888591. SATURDAY APRIL 19 CONNACHT Galway Sports Partnership 10K, Ardrahan, Co Galway, 11am. Entry €15/20. C: 087 8520945. Kilmovee 10K, Co Mayo, 1pm. Entry €20. C: 086 1737111. ULSTER Ballyliffin Coastal 10-Mile, Co Donegal, 2pm. Entry €20. C: 087 2226112. Sheeps Head Run 10K, in aid of Hakista Rowing Club. C: Rose Ui Shuilleabhain 087 296 3213. SUNDAY APRIL 20 LEINSTER Fr Murphy AC 5-Mile, incorp Meath Road C’ships, Kildalkey, Co Meath 12. noon. Entry €15. C: Philip Cogavin 087 2930058; Cushinstown T-F, Kilmoon, 12 noon. C: 01 8354708. ULSTER Letterkenny 3K, Aura Leisure Centre, Co 76 Irish Runner

Fancy Dress Specialist – Brian Tyrrell with his daughter Louise at the Donore Harriers Jingle Bells. Photo: Tómas Greally. Donegal, 11.30am. AI Permit. C: Brendan McDiad 086 8354708.


Ballygalget Community 10K, 12 noon. ANI Permit. C: Joe Quinn 07933214894;

TUESDAY APRIL 22 Cork BHAA Stryker 4-Mile, Carrigtwohill, 7.30pm. C: Michelle Lyons 0321 4533202;

MONDAY APRIL 21 LEINSTER St Senan’s T-F Sports, Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny, 1pm. C: James Aylward 086 1087030.

THURSDAY APRIL 24 Lagan Valley Young Athlete Meeting, Mary Peters Track, Belfast, 6pm.

Raheny Shamrock AC, St Anne’s Park, 11am. C: Pat Hooper 086 8158052. Mountpleasant AC, Co Louth 12 noon. C: John Kenwright 086 1953766. TEAM 10K and Half Marathon, Ringtown, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, 11.30am. C: 087 2428690. Portlaoise Rugby Club 5K, Togher, Co Laois, 12 noon. C: 087 2343686. CONNACHT Carney Lissadell 10K, Drumcliffe, Co Sligo, 12 noon. Entry €12/15. C: 087 93310180;

FRIDAY APRIL 25 MUNSTER Bobby Fitzgerald Accountant 5K, Faugheen, Co Tipperary, 7.30pm. Entry €8. Carrick-on-Suir 3-County Series.C: 087 2931430 Passage West 10K, Co Cork, 7.30pm. C: Francis McEveney 087 9159834. SUNDAY APRIL 27 NATIONAL Samsung Night Run, Dublin and LEINSTER Pettitt’s SuperValu Wexford Half Marathon and 10K, 10.30am. Entry €35-40 half; €20-25 10K. C: 086 3060890;

Royal Country 5K, Kells, Co Meath, 11am. Entry €15. C: 046 9067337 Meath Sports Partnership 5k, Kells, Co Meath. C: Martin Heery 046 9067337. TUESDAY APRIL 29 West Leinster Schools T-F Day 1, Santry, 10am. East Leinster Schools Day 1, Irishtown, 10am. WEDNESDAY APRIL 30 Friends of Coralstown Church 5K, Co Westmeath, 7.30pm. C: Matthew Glennon 086 2473119. Schools: East Leinster Schools T-F Day 2, Irishtown, 10am. North Leinster Schools T-F Day 1, Santry, 10am. East Munster Schools’ T-F, Waterford, 12 noon.Ulster Schools T-F A District, inter/sen, Mary Peters Track, 10am. The Cahir Run4Fun, 7pm. C: Niall O’Sullivan 086 1660888 Visit: for more fixtures.

Quick Picks SATURDAY MARCH 1 Cara Bundoran Run 10 Challenge Fancy an active weekend away in beautiful Donegal? The organisers of the Cara Bundoran Run 10 Challenge are offering an additional 5K race on Friday evening as well as surfing or cycling on Sunday for anyone aiming to make a weekend of it. On the Saturday, you have a choice of a 10K or 10-mile run – and walkers are welcome. Entry before February 24 is just €25, or pay €50 for all the weekend activities. Info at SUNDAY MARCH 16 St Patrick's Festival 5K, Dublin A fun day out for all the family – that's the annual St Patrick's Festival 5K, starting from outside the Mansion House on Dawson Street and taking a tour around Georgian Dublin before finishing on St Stephen's Green. All who enter in advance get a technical T-shirt – fee is €15 until February 14 and €20 until March 14.There is also limited entry on the day at €25, but with no T-shirt guaranteed. Family entry for two adults and two children or one adult and three children is just €40. So why not enter now – and then dust off the leprechaun suit! Online entry via

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A looped course around Courtmacsherry bay, where the sea never leaves your side

A weekend of running in the festive season with 3 races on the Saturday

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A fond farewell FRANK GREALLY PAYS TRIBUTE TO A INSPIRATIONAL COACH AND A TRUE FRIEND We never called him Dave; we always called him Coach. That was the level of respect that all the Irish athletes who attended ETSU myself included - had for Coach Dave Walker. My former Irish Brigade team-mate Louis Kenny, (a former national marathon record holder) - phoned me from Nashville with the news that Coach Walker had died in hospital in Johnson City. It was an emotional call and I knew that Louis was hurting badly at the other end of the phone. The phone call call propelled me back four decades to a day in September 1972 when Coach Walker met Ray McBride and myself at the airport in Tri-Cities and drove us back into Johnson City, straight to the campus of ETSU, which would be home to us for the next four years, and along with Neil Cusack, Eddie Leddy, P.J. Leddy and Kevin Breen, we sat in a circle on the floor in Coach Walker’s office and listened as he outlined his plans for the forthcoming collegiate cross-country season. I will always remember Coach Walker’s words to us new recruits. “The reason you have both arrived here is because I know that you have talent, “ he said. “The one thing I will ask of you both, as I ask of all my runners, is that while you are here, you give it your best shot.” And so we came to know Coach Walker. And we got to know him even better when his blue Buick cruised into the parking lot outside our dormitory at exactly 6.30am every weekday that autumn - the signal that it was time for our opening run of the day on the roads skirting the university. Neil Cusack and Eddie Leddy had just returned from competing in the Munich Olympics and both were on fire from that experience. They led our group, known as The Irish Brigade, on those early-morning training runs. For Ray McBride and myself, this was our baptism of fire. It took us some time to adjust to the new training regime. And all the time we were acutely aware of Coach Walker trackside, timing our efforts. The hard session over, he would gather us together and dispense words of encouragement. 78 Irish Runner

Irish Brigade 1972 with coach Dave Walker. Back row: second from right Neil Cusack, Eddie & PJ Leddy. Front row second from right: Kevin Breen, Ray McBride and Frank Greally.

Coach Walker was a tough but always fair taskmaster who commanded great respect. In that year of 1972 his Irish Brigade finished just a couple of points shy of winning the National Collegiate Cross Country title in Houston, Texas, as Neil Cusack led the field a merry dance to deliver a brilliant individual victory. Two years later, in 1974, Cusack sped to another famous victory when he won the famed Boston Marathon while still a student at ETSU. Coach Walker produced three Irish Olympians at ETSU; Neil Cusack, Eddie Leddy and Ray Flynn and over the years close to 40 Irish athletes have attended the university on athletic scholarships. He played a pivotal role, too, in the lives of all the Irish athletes who passed through ETSU and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. On hearing of Coach Walker’s passing, I called Neil Cusack, P.J. Leddy and Ray McBride to tell them the sad news. The memories flooded back for each of us as we talked and remembered Coach Walker with great fondness and deep respect.

I am happy that my two sons, Tomas and Conor, in recent years got to visit Johnson City and ETSU and both have very fond memories of meeting and talking with Coach Walker. There is a part of my spirit that I believe will always remain in the hills of Tennessee where I spent four very special years of my life; a period during which I developed great friendships that have endured to this day. I can think of no better way to sign off on this tribute to Coach Dave Walker than to quote from Thomas Wolfe’s gem of literature, ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’. Wolfe wrote: “To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life: to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving: to find a land more kind than home, more large than earthWhereon the pillars of this earth are founded, toward which the conscience of the world is tending- a wind is rising, and the rivers flow. Farewell, COACH.

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Irish Runner February 2014