Q1. When and why did you first take up running?
2014 Belfast Marathon Relay, a month or so before I offered to run the glory leg as someone in work was injured. We had 3 teams, so I had 2 other last leg runners to train with. We all said that we would then go on to complete Belfast Half in the Sept. I went To New Zealand for a month at the end of May, I tried to keep up my running, but it appears Auckland has more hills than Mallusk, so it did not go well. But before I caught my flight home, I decided at the airport, that I was going for the half, and completed it… the rest is history, but NYD and after surviving my first ROTG I had signed up for Belfast Marathon 2015.
Q2. What running-related achievement are you most proud of and why?
New York City Marathon 2018. I fundraised for a Northern Ireland charity, Children’s Heartbeat Trust. With the support of family, friends and the club a total of £4010.14 was collected and donated. I developed an injury during training, but to not complete was not an option and being a major, the course was open for long enough for me to complete. I developed a strategy of run walk for race day to delay and pain and to cover the course. The crowd carries you there! From mile 23 the hard work really set in, and I had a fight to get to the finish, but all you young children I had raised funds to support enjoy their childhood, kept me going. The battle I was fighting was nothing like they had as babies and for most of their childhood.
Q.3 What is your favourite race and why?
This is a tough choice, but I will mention 2. Snowdonia Half 2017, yes, I only went halfway up Snowdonia mountain, my slowest half mile ever, I thought my Garmin was not working at one point as my pace was so slow. It was tough, but beautiful. The DOMS set in at 8 miles. I made 2 great friends that weekend too, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.
Causeway Coast Marathon 2015 and 2017. What can I say, great views, tough course right on our doorstep and they have cake at the fed stations!
Q4. After we get through these uncertain times, what is your next big running goal?
Keep moving forward! There will be a marathon, hopefully the deferred Belfast next May. Because of the uncertainty, I do not want to make anymore plans to save any disappointment.
Q5. What is your favourite workout and why?
It must be running, and I must confess I enjoy hill sessions. Simply, what goes up, must come down. Second most favourite workout would be Pilates, and activity which compliments running well.
Q6. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while running?
There have been a few, but only one mentionable here. At a race for life run at Stormont a few years ago, I found myself in the lead! And I might have led everyone a bit off course…. This was at the bottom of the hill. I started to laugh at myself and end up finishing in 4th as laughing and running that hill is not possible.
Q7. When and why did you join Mallusk Harriers?
September 2015. After my first marathon, I tore my hamstring. I started to run again in the July and had reflected and thought I should join a club to get more support, advice and to be around like-minded people. My friends just did not understand why I was having a melt-down about having the right socks or trainers for running! I was at Antrim Parkrun one Saturday and was given a flier for the club race by a former member. I could not make the race but kept the flier and then did a bit of research on the club. The club trained on the nights I did and trained at an early enough time too. I came and tried a few sessions, and by my third session I had joined. I have made some great friends at the Club, some are still with the club and some have moved on, but these have become life-time friends in my book. A sense of community.
Q8. What have you learned most about yourself since you started running?
I have learnt that I was built for comfort not for speed. But, the one thought I had when I crossed the finish line at my first Belfast marathon was “anything is possible” which I have seen displayed in the running world many more times since I had that thought. The human body is an sophisticated machine and can endure so much, most of which is not possible if the mind is not in tune also.
Q9. Outside of running, what is your favourite activity or hobby?
Watching TV, movies and eating chocolate, the simple comforts in life mean so much
Q10. Name one club member that inspires you and why?
Micky McAuley. Easy choice. He was the first to run an Ultra, the first 100 miler and the first Dennis Rankin round completer from the club. As I say, anything is possible. And he did it all on the quiet, he’s not on Strava ( that I can see) and just keeps a low profile and trucks on with his own goals.