Q1. When and why did you first take up running?
A friend asked me to run a relay leg for a charity team in the Belfast Marathon in 2011. My previous run was the 1994 relay so I had to be convinced! On our first training run we couldn’t make it to the first roundabout without stopping. But I got the bug and haven’t looked back.
Q2. What running-related achievement are you most proud of and why?
It’s probably the Dublin marathon in 2018. I set myself a target and put the training in properly. On the day I ran with others, we stuck to our plan and got our PBs. Nothing amazing but showed what is possible with focus and effort. And a bit of luck on the day.
Q.3 What is your favourite race and why?
Has to be the New York Marathon. I was lucky enough to get a place there in 2015. Just the size of it all and the landmarks you run past. I still remember the crowd noise as you come off the bridge and onto First Avenue at around mile 16. Walked round NY like a boss for the days afterwards.
The battle for 12th also deserves a mention. XC is very different but a great team event.
Q4. After we get through these uncertain times, what is your next big running goal?
I’m getting on a bit but might have one more good marathon in me so I’d love another PB attempt. Other than that, its just testing myself – getting enough proper training done to set a PB at any distance is a goal. Doesn’t matter what times others do, just out to push myself.
Q5. What is your favourite workout and why?
I always enjoyed long runs and definitely prefer running them in a group. There’s a real camaraderie on those runs, be it a Sunday morning 10 at 10 in the pouring rain or a final 20 miler just before your marathon taper. The banter always helps the miles go by.
Q6. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while running?
I did the London marathon in 2013. I had heard all about how amazing the support was from the crowds but couldn’t believe how much everyone was cheering for me as I passed. After 3 miles of ego tripping and waving back at my fans I realised I had been running a few feet in front of someone in full Buzz Lightyear costume.
Q7. When and why did you join Mallusk Harriers?
I joined in July 2015 so I’m a club elder by this stage! I had run on my own from 2011 but wanted to join a club, both to improve my running but also for the social side. I had actually tried training with another local club once or twice but didn’t feel entirely welcomed. I found the Harriers online and recognised their colours from local races. I just turned up one night and had the ear talked off me by several members who could not have done more to make me feel welcome, whatever my pace. I knew straight away I was in the right place.
Q8. What have you learned most about yourself since you started running?
Hard work gets results. I have learned that if I give myself a target then I can focus myself and be disciplined about training, diet, etc. Marathon training has also shown me that a task or issue that looks too big can be overcome if you just break it down and don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed.
Q9. Outside of running, what is your favourite activity or hobby?
I like my music. Listening not playing. And not that rubbish my kids listen to. After lockdown is over, I also look forward to going out for a nice meal. And as a proper Harrier it will be accompanied by a drink or two.
Q10. Name one club member that inspires you and why?
Roseann says the answer is her. But let’s move on. Inspire is maybe not the right word but several have certainly helped me along the way. My training partners who pushed me on when I didn’t think I could do more and the coaches and committee members over the years who do so much work for the club. But if you want a short answer then its Mairead O’Hare. She is the spirit of Mallusk Harriers in physical form.