60 Seconds with a Harrier! No. 3: Brian Gregan

Next up is the first of our sprinters to blast out of the blocks! Multi times National indoor and outdoor champion, European U/23 400 silver medalist, European 400 finalist and “Santry Roar” revivalist, Brian Gregan.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I started athletics as a 8 year old, all my friends joined the club and I didn’t want to be left out. I ran mostly cross country until I was about 15, I dabbled in the long jump before winning my first all Ireland medal in high jump. I tried 400m hurdles and won a schools silver before my coach John Shields noticed how fast I was moving between the hurdles (and how hopeless I was over the hurdles), he moved me to the flat and the rest is history.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe in 2008 as I was moving to DCU, my coach and training partners all were part of Clonliffe. It was the best move I ever made, the support and comradery shown from every angle of the club has been amazing, it motivates me to return to my best!

What is your favourite training workout? The 400m is known as one of the toughest events and the workouts are even tougher. My favourite workout would be 6 x 200m off 3 minutes and 6 minutes between sets all in 22 seconds. If I can do that I am in shape!

And your least favourite? Winter training and in particular 1,2,3,2,1 mins x 2 sets off the same recovery. I suffer from asthma, the cold and heavy breathing make it really tough to get though that workout.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? The MORTON GAMES of course!!! Can you beat a hometown meet with a hometown favourite competing for the win. 2017 was a classic, the Santry roar inspired me to run a sub 12 second final 100m and smash my personal best!

(Pictured, Brian and the Santry Roar, Morton Games 2017)

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Winning a European u23 silver medal in 2011. It was a long time ago, but international medals do not come around often. The previous edition in 2010 I tore my hamstring in the opening round, some people get frustrated but I set myself a goal of winning a medal two years later. I did just that and missed the gold by 0.02! (should have benched some more)

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? My stress fracture in my left tibia (ankle) in 2018 was a huge blow to my career. It took two years to get back competing but I finally got there this year. The best advice I would give an athlete struggling with an injury is to take it day by day, don’t let races months or weeks down the line make you anxious. Do what your physio and coach say, take it slowly and stay as positive as possible. Seek advice from someone who had a similar injury and see could they help you.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Set yourself some goals, where do you see yourself in a year, two years and at the end of your career. If you really want something, then you will have to commit, be resilient and most importantly work hard. Hard work is key but smart work is even more important. Its so important to get in tune with your body, don’t do that last rep just because the group are, if you are not feeling right. Your body tends to give out warning signs prior to an injury or illness, so listen to it. Would you drive 100km/h down the road with the engine light on? Learn to say no! Fortunately for me I was strong minded and very difficult to be peer pressured into something I didn’t want to do. If you are serious, then say no to a night out, take away or whatever you face.