Meet the Members – Bernie McAllister

Categories: Member Profiles

Q1 When and why did you first take up running?

Running became a regular part of my fitness routine after I had my second son in 2008. I started by running around the block at dawn so no one would see or hear me puffing and panting my way around! This progressed to the 5K ‘Mallusk Loop’, gradually building up to my 10K Saturday morning runs along Loughshore, that I still love to do occasionally – in between Park Runs of course!

Q2 What running-related achievement are you most proud of and why?

Probably one of my first charity races (before I was regularly running) which was back in 2006 when I lived in England – the Cancer UK Race For Life, which I ran in memory of family members who had passed away.

Q3 What is your favourite race and why?

I would say the Belfast Marathon. Over the years I have done just about every leg of the relay race for different charities through work. I was due to do a leg of it this year to raise money for Lighthouse as they work very closely with our school in supporting our students. A brilliant charity, that I am delighted we are also supporting.

Q4 After we get through these uncertain times, what is your next big running goal?

My next goal has to be going for a half marathon, eek! I joined the Harriers thinking that I am more than happy to do 5K and 10K races and leave it at that, but I suppose it’s too easy to sit in your comfort zone. Just before lockdown I was very close to being talked into doing the Larne half marathon by some of the lovely ladies in the club! Lockdown has taught me that you need to push your boundaries, life’s too short!

Q5 What is your favourite workout and why?

I have always enjoyed strength and HIIT work. I like challenging myself with weights and pushing hard. Hopefully working on strength and endurance in the background should stand to me when training for races.

Q6 What is your most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while running?

Up to this point my runs have been boring, nothing embarrassing to date – maybe a sign I’m not running enough! I’ll be a fully-fledged member when I have a story to tell! Oh wait, there was that time when I was nearly late for the Zoom bingo as I was up walking in the Belfast Playing Fields…

Q7 When and why did you join Mallusk Harriers?

I’m still a newbie! I joined in August 2019 after my good friend Maeve D suggested it. I remember taking a photo at Loughshore and sending to her the day after with the title ‘My first 5K as a Mallusk Harrier!’ She had joined the previous year and spoke about how welcoming everyone was and that there were all abilities at the club. I am also proud to be part of a club that gives so much back to the local community. I love taking part in other activities provided by the Club; the Circuits classes and Laurie’s lovely Yoga classes she is providing through Brown Shoes. I had previously taken part in the cycle challenge ‘Lap The Lough’ in 2017 which consisted of an approximate 100 mile cycle around Lough Neagh and was part of a swimming club growing up. This was the last of what I consider to be the ‘big three’ that I needed to work on. You never know, I might take on a triathlon one day!

Q8 What have you learned most about yourself since you started running?

That I’m stronger and more determined than I
think I am, and I like a challenge! I have really enjoyed the Lockdown Captains’ Challenges and was proud of myself for going above and beyond my target miles set recently. I didn’t think I could run that far in a week! I have also realised that having support from your fellow club members can make all the difference in your achievements. You can run further with others, than on your own.

Q9 Outside of running, what is your favourite activity or hobby?

I love reading a good horror/suspense novel (just don’t ask me to watch those type of movies!) – the good old-fashioned ‘book in your hand’ type, not interested in Kindles. I also love listening to dance music from back in the day – Laura, Karen, Maeve, Leeanne and Suzie know what I mean!

Q10 Name one club member that inspires you and why?

Just one?! There are loads! I’ve been inspired by so many people, in so many ways, since day one. A number of girls in the group during lockdown have been supportive in so many ways, keeping us all going and coming together as an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on (in a safe socially distanced way!). If I had to choose it would have to be Mr McGlinchey. He has a wicked sense of humour and has shared a few stories about his races, including shedding items of clothing as he goes and having a wee boke and carrying on. I also remember the first time-trial I took part in up at the pitches where he was up ahead of me, then suddenly lost his running shoe in a puddle! I think my laughing affected my time. I’ve seen how well he can handle a resistance band and I’ve even heard he likes to surprise towards the finish line, coming out of nowhere. He represents the Harrier’s spirit well; put in your best effort but have a bit of craic along the way, sure isn’t that what life it about?!

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