All posts in 60 seconds with a Harrier

The Last Word! No.60 of 60 Seconds… with Joe

So today it’s an absolute pleasure to present No. 60 in the 60 Seconds series, the season finale (although Season 2 is already in production!) and to give the Last Word to the Clonliffe Harriers Club Captain Joe Cooper.

Bio: Joe Cooper club Captain Clonliffe Harriers former member of: Home Farm FC , Avona BC, Larkhill United FC and Civil Services AC At 15 I was playing football (soccer) for Home Farm those days it was an 11 man team with no subs and the football was held together with a lace, the pitches were often wet and heavy under foot which made for some long tough matches, At the time the coaches from Home Farm who were very good to me came to me and said I needed to build up my endurance to last the distance of the game, so in addition to my football & boxing training I took up running,

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I had always been into my exercise and anyone who knows me will know I enjoy a “few sociables” but I was looking for more of a structure and commitment to my sport so when I was 28 I took a job with An post on the Dublin to Cork mail train (many a story I could tell!!!) at this point I was running in a few local road races then I join the An Post athletics team which eventually led me to join Civil Services AC and my running career really began and many a lifelong friendship was made

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? All of my children were in the local athletics club Green Field AC run by local man Des Holmes based in Albert College Park, when Green field amalgamated with Clonliffe Harriers Gladys my wife took over as Juvenile Captain and I came on board a few years later helping her out with coaching, I did a short stint as ladies captain and eventually progressing to Club Captain & Coach

What is your favourite training workout? As an athlete training for a Marathon I really enjoyed the track endurance session of 20 x 400m or 1 km reps As a coach I now see the importance of getting a mixture of session’s covering track, road and cross-country to build both speed and endurance.

And your least favourite? Least favourite for me has to be the long runs anything over 15 miles was tough both physically and mentally

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Any meeting / race form Belfast to Bagdad and I’m happy…..I’ve been extremely lucky to have been to European and World Championship track and cross-country as well as Olympic Games But the home grown ones are the best and the Morton Games is one that I particularly enjoy but there is lot of work that goes into organising, so you can sometimes miss out of getting the full spectator experience, Plus the after party is always great craic

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) As an athlete I have 2 stand out moments the first was winning the Master Raheny 5mile in at time of 24.50 only to be broken the following year by Richard Mulligan in 24.39 and second would by finishing the Guinness now Dublin Half Marathon in a time of 68.38 As club captain / coach there have been several achievements that stand out most noticeably would be in 2015 on home turf in Santry where we won the National Senior Men’s XC Championship the National Jnr Men’s XC championship and Hope Saunders winning the Nat Jnr ladies XC Championship This was closely followed the clubs 1st win in the National Track & Field League Championship which ultimately lead to a Bronze medal in the European Clubs Track & Field Championship in Portugal. Most recently seeing Efrem Gidey take the bronze medal at the U-20 European XC championships in Lisbon which unfortunately due to ill health I was unable to attend

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Plantar Fasciitis Rest, Rest and more Rest….listen to your body

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Enjoy your sport.Be consistent in your training. Rest is equally important as training. “You are better off looking at it rather than looking for it (gear)” For Junior athletes the grass is not always greener somewhere else, on balance I would advise junior athletes to stay at home. I know in the past the American scholarship system produced great athletes such as O’Sullivan, Coughlan, O’Mara and Treacy but nearer to home less than 100miles away in the UK they produced Coe, Ovett, Elliott, Cram, Bedford, Morecroft, Hill, Muir and Hawkin????

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Many moons ago a good Civil Service AC teammate of mine Mick Fennell aka Snapper had his stags do up in the Clonliffe Bar. In our drunken wisdom, we decided to have a naked 800m race. Being the professional in the group I was appointed the role as starter (naked) Just as I are about to start this prestigious event a woman form the bar comes down to the track she took one look at us and said “You’re like a Tinkers Greyhounds all Ribs and P***k with no B***S……Clearly a few shandys was had that night!!!!

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition A good Spaghetti Bolognese with brown pasta for carb loading and plenty of water B. Outside competition From Independent Pizza, The House special with side salad & wedges

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: Alistair Cragg, who won a gold medal in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championship (2005) and finished an impressive 4th in the World Indoor Championships (2006) and is currently the National Irish record holder for both the 5km and 10k (Track). Outside of athletics I would consider Paul McGrath to be another Irish sporting hero of mine B. International Ron Clark (long before many of you would know) “Smokin” Joe Frazier

What’s your favourite…? A. Film :Tinker Tailor Solider Spy ,Witches of Eastwik, Clock Work Orange B. Song or Album: Brian Ferry “Stick Together”, The Kinks / Luke Kelly “Thank you for the Days , Them “Its all over now baby blue” C. Book: Occasions of Sin, Roses are Red

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Cuba or anywhere there is a race meet on!!!

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? More athletics!!!

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? That there should be 10% added to prize money for club/coaches who have nurtured these athletes form an early age. This additional funding would be used for reinvestment into producing future athletes starting at local cub level

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Chancer Fun But serious when it comes down to training

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) To get back to full health and be back up at club with a stopwatch in hand and ready to go

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? All ways remember that just because the water is clam does not mean there are no Sharks about!

Joe (2266) sits on the shoulder of future clubmate and goat Tony Murphy
Joe playing in a puddle at cross country race!
Impressive Dublin Marathon
Joe makes it 5 national seniors in a row , Belfast 2008

No. 59: 60 Seconds with Harrier Evelyn Brennan

Today one of the nicest, up beat members of Clonliffe Harriers, always in great form and a person who is with a capital F: Fun!

Bio: Live in Santry – 53 (not a blemish) – 5 children.

When and why did you take up the sport? I took up running quite late. I joined the gym after my second child (19 yr ago) and the instructor asked me to run 30 secs on treadmill/30 walk. Told him I don’t run. Within 3 months, I was running 60 mins!!!!

When did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe in 2013. I was road running myself and found it was getting a bit monotonous doing the same old thing.

What’s your favourite workout? My favourite training has to be the cross-country because Pamela/Ben can’t see you all the time so you can doss a little in the dark parts.

And your least favourite? I don’t have a least really. Anything goes with me.

What’s your favourite race or event? My favourite race has to be the Dublin City Marathon. The whole experience is amazing from the months of training, collecting the number, the day of the marathon, seeing the club mates volunteering at the end, Last but not least the after celebration
Most cherished moment was completing the 5 in a row last year (2019 DCM).

What was the worst injury you’ve had and how did you get over it?
Worst injury – I got Plantar Fasciitis In my right foot. I ignored for a while until one day couldn’t put foot to the ground. Hunted down Liam Hennessy and he sorted me out. His mother thought something seriously wrong when she’d hear the screams of me from the therapy room. 

What would be the one piece of advise you’d give to any up and coming athlete? Best advice would be to join a club. Changes the direction of your running. Take the advice from the coaches regarding your training and injuries.


Do you had any funny stories of your time with Clonliffe? – Guess most recent was our trip away last year to Berlin. We had a late night on our last night and myself and my room mate slept it out. We decided to follow on the coach but had our breakfast before we left thinking the taxi would be quicker. Their was roadworks on the way to Airport so when we arrived (we had another Clonliffer too that slept it out), the boarding gate was closed. I couldn’t locate my boarding pass anyway so we had to come up with a new travel arrangement. I had purchased a few items the day before for our games night (after midnight) but since we didn’t use the toy gun, I threw it in my suitcase. Forgetting I proceeded through customs (oops) and after a few questions, it was deemed safe to travel and the gun was held at the airport. We caught a flight later that evening via Koln to Dublin. Oops

What’s your favourite food? Before competition would be pasta and chicken. Afterwards Chinese meal with a couple of bottles of coors for soakage.

Who is your sporting Hero? – Sonia O’SullivanInternational- Usain Bolt

What’s your favourite? Album – One Step Beyond – Madness. Book? – Lying in Wait Film? Not a big TV watcher but I love musicals, Les Misérables, Royal Variety Show.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? New York. Think it’s an amazing place.

Outside of athletics what are your other interests? My other hobbies are music – playing the guitar, book club that we discuss the book in the last 5 minutes and socialising with my pals.

If you were Seb Coe what would you do to improve our sport? I would bring in tougher rules for drug users in sport.

In three words how would your friends describe you? Fun, loving and mad.

When all this is over what are you running plans? Next event could be anything. I am going to take part in London Marathon next year. Am entered for Dublin too but not sure we will get to do this in October.

How are you motivating yourself to exerciser during these difficult times? At the moment I’m taking part in an excise program with the kids on You tube, runs in the local parks (sometimes my watch acts up and I seem to run a bit further) and lots of cycling with the kids. Bought a chariot (as we call it for the back of my bike) so no excuses that I can’t get out .

No. 58: 60 Seconds with Harrier Peter Bissett

Another one of Pam & Ben’s group of athletes, a guy who has made great progress from road races to cross country and track. The man with two names: Peter & BertieBissett!

Bio: I’m a quiet fellah (yeah…) from Skerries, still confident that I won’t be dragged around a marathon any time soon. Primary school teacher by day, short-shorts runner by night.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I dabbled with cross country in school and didn’t enjoy it at all, but began to run regularly during school exams to keep a bit of sanity, and for an excuse to get out of the house! I only started training formally in 2018.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? End of summer 2018 – I used to live in Drumcondra, and searched for nearby clubs – never having trained with a club before. I nervously popped up one evening to meet Pam and the crew. I drove up, because I was terrified I’d run out of any energy needed to complete a ‘session’ (up to that point, this word was strictly reserved for Friday evenings…). The first session I completed was in the park, and I nearly lost a lung doing mile reps. I’d pay to do them now! I joined to improve my speed and to challenge myself more, as I was stuck in a rut of the same 5k loop in the same time for quite a while.

What is your favourite training workout? A good short & fast track sesion (with a good responsible warm-up and cool-down, of course!). I remember each Friday (and Saturday!) after my first few track sessions, I realised where my calves and achilles were, and how much they could hurt!

And your least favourite? A road session with a long speed interval (7 or 8 mins). They always seem to destroy me, and it’s very hard to stay at the right temperature as you’re not doing laps to undress and re-dress – yes I’m a diva.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I don’t have a lot of racing experience, but in general a 5 mile road race anywhere is always great fun, especially when there’s a good sea of black & amber around! My first ever road race was the famous Raheny 5, and had such a blast with my training pals.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) First off, winning ‘newbie of the year’ in 2019 – this made me feel so welcome in such a fantastic bunch of people! Then, coming second (on handicap) in the 1 mile Grand Prix race in May 2019 and winning my first ever prize money in athletics – spent the next day on some replacement spikes and anti-stink-trainer-balls (I’m sure that’s what they’re called). I thought: If primary school Peter could see me now (he hated athletics) he’d be confused…

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I stretched my LCL and partially tore my ACL in a dance-related injury (think dirty dancing – I was Patrick Swayze at the bottom of the stage). I’m aware that it’s not a major injury compared to many others, but to me it was pretty crushing, as I had never been properly injured before, and now couldn’t run for about 3 months. Physio and consistent stretching got me through it, and I’ll never forget the joy of running again, even slowly, when I was on the mend. On days when I feel lethargic, I think back to that and it makes it pretty manageable to go out to the track in the sideways rain on a December evening.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? I’m not a seasoned athlete, so remove this bit if you like, but I would advise anybody who doesn’t already to start keeping a physical running log. I keep a hand-written one, and it’s a joy to read back over one year of progress in terms of mileage, races run, times, and anecdotes that go along with it. Go get one now!

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) One of the GP track races in 2019 – I stumbled mid-race around a traffic cone, and on the second lap around stopped to throw it into the pitch inside the track while giving out to it (I may have cursed at the cone). The best part was one of my training buddies nearly passed out laughing at me, so I caught him for once on the straight. You know who you are!

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: Scrambled eggs on toast B. Outside competition: Pizza with waffles – student style

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – Sonia O’Sullivan B. International – Usain Bolt

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – incredible dialogue! B. Song or Album: Fontaines DC – Dogrel (for something loud) C. Book: Shantaram by David Roberts

What’s your favourite holiday destination? The River Shannon (in a nice boat, when it’s sunny, not actually in the river…)

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Usually sailing, but given recent restrictions, I’ve become very interested in gardening – if we’re back to the club in time, I’ll put forward some fresh peas and carrots for a GP prize.

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Continue to encourage children to participate for fun from a young age – offering the chance for competition for those who want it, but equally offering a fun outlet without a racing element for those who simply enjoy running socially and the physical and mental benefits that come with it.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Outgoing, loud, friendly

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Complete a full series of races (whatever series that may be when things re-open)

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Consistency is key. I’ve relied heavily on these three things: Firstly and most importantly – the reliable Tuesday and Thursday text from Pam & Ben detailing our session for the day. Thank you both so much, this means more than you can possibly imagine to us all during this time. Next, a running watch – I hadn’t been interested in one before this, but luckily acquired one from Dec just before restrictions began so that I could hold myself accountable for a session and measure the distance! I found out that 400m is actually a very long way in a straight line! Finally, a pen to write the session on my hand (no I don’t want to hook up my laptop to programme each session…) Thank you so much Pam and Ben for keeping us going during this strange time. We don’t know when, but when we get back together again, it will be a day to remember forever. Stay Safe everybody. Bertie. P.S. My name is Peter, but I was christened ‘Bertie’ thanks to a mix-up with my surname (Peter Bissett / Bertie Bassett) and I’m happy with either 🙂

Peter & Bertie play a two ball at the K Club!
At the Irish Runner 5 Mile, Phoenix Park

No. 57: 60 Seconds with Harrier Leah Bergin

This morning an athlete who has been a Harrier for 19 years and is developing into a fine 400 runner under the guidance of John Shields. A valued member of the track and field team both indoor and outdoors over all the sprint events, relays and more, Leah Bergin.

I’m 26, I work as a special needs assistant What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? My brother was racing at an event in santry. I was 7 at the time and they held a race for younger kids and I won. I was delighted with myself and decided I wanted to take up athletics.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? In 2001, My brother ran for Clonliffe Harriers and trained with Gladys so I joined too

What is your favourite training workout? 6×200 or split 400s the week of a race even though I die of lactic after

And your least favourite? Anything over 300m, a session with 600 reps is always a killer

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Probably the national league. Good day out and it’s funny watching people do events they don’t usually do. I did Javelin one year and hardly made the grass

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I’d say my first year with John Shields when I broke my pb by 4 seconds and finished second in the national U/23s

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? When I was 15 I broke my leg jumping over a hurdle. I had a cast from my upper thigh down to my ankle. I had to be dedicated to doing rehab three times a day and finally got back training within 6 months.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Don’t compare yourself to other athletes. Enjoy the sport and celebrate your own personal achievements.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) At the end of warm weather training last year Emma Kelly had one too many and decided to ask a local if she could use his bike, barely got 5 metres before she fell off.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition Pasta B. Outside competition mad egg

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish David Gillick B. International Jessica Ennis Hill

What’s your favourite…? A. Film Anything Disney B. Song or Album Lewis Capaldi or Kodaline C. Book The importance of being Aisling

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Vilamoura

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Drinking coffee and pier jumping

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Definitely lifetime ban for drug cheats

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) competitive, fun, gullible,

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Break 57 seconds for 400

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Since we’ve been able to go 5km from home it’s been easier to train as I can go to my local park. I like to have something to work towards so I set myself small goals every week to achieve which helps to motivate me.

Told you Leah’s a long term Harrier!
Leah with Lauren Carr

No. 56: 60 Seconds with Harrier Liam Roarty

Today an athlete who has been at college and then lecturing across the water for the past few years. He is a frequent visitor home to Clonliffe and always fits right back into the training group under Peter McDermott. He is always available for selection for Clonliffe teams, cross country in particular and as you will see is an athlete who loves to “Keep it Country!”.

Bio: Liam Roarty, I run XC, 3000, 5000 and 10K for Clonliffe and Morpeth Harriers in England. Recently finished working as a Sport and Exercise Psychology Lecturer at Sunderland College. Coached by Peter McDermott at Clonliffe and 1966 Commonwealth Gold Medallist, Jim Alder at Morpeth.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? For most of my childhood, I was in and out of the sport. I ran for Fingallians when I was 9/10 as I was the fastest player on my football team and my dad wanted me to work on my sprints. However, it was a brief stay. When I was 13, I was asked by my PE teacher in Colaiste Choilm to represent the school having won gold in my year in the 100m sprints, hurdles and the high jump in the school sports day. I ran 100m and did the high jump in Santry for my school in April 2009 and it didn’t go well. It was a bit of a shock to the system. I decided to pack it in as football was my sport at the time and I always wanted a ball at my feet. I started taking athletics seriously when I left school.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I hung up my football boots as I fell out of love with playing the sport and decided to put on the spikes. I always knew Clonliffe was a very prestigious club so I joined in October 2013 when I was 19 and I have been an active member ever since (time flies)!!

What is your favourite training workout? I like Fartlek sessions because it is on and off in terms of intervals. At Morpeth, Jim Alder gets myself and the lads to do this 6 mile fartlek session around the town which consists of inclines, declines, flat running, bends and a long sprint to Morpeth train station. It is class!

Liam with Morpeth coach the great Jim Alder

And your least favourite? Long Tempo runs – they will always be the death of me!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? The English Nationals Cross Country – the brutality and pace of the race is relentless! The atmosphere is incredible and all about mental toughness.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) My most cherished moment in athletics is the British Universities XC 2020 at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh in February. For the first time, this year, they had an alumni entry which I pounced on and was able to compete. I came 81st and screamed at the top of my lungs when I hit the finish. Everything fell into place on the day and I felt I could keep going. George Gandy was delighted for me because he knew how much that meant to me and the adversities I went through. I have the vest and number framed and going to put it up on my bedroom wall. Along with that, Jay Rossiter got Dan Jarvis of St. Marys at the line to get a bronze medal. Two lads from Clonliffe, who left to go to Uni in England around the same time, slayed our demons and achieved what we wanted to achieve.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I picked up a knee injury on Christmas Day 2017 (of all days to get injured) whilst running in Raheny with Jay Rossiter and Colm Rooney. I was out for the whole of the 2017-18 season as it took ages to recover due to stress and anxiety. I went through a series of unfortunate events in 2018; not being able to run BUCS XC for Loughborough, the tragic passing of my coach at former club, Sunderland, having to go under the knife ten days after the funeral and trying to finish a Masters. I went to see Olympic racewalker, Colin Griffin who works as an S&C coach in the SSC. He noticed I was adding pressure to my knee while I was running and completely changed my running technique and provided me a programme to strengthen the knee and get ready for the 2018-19 season. If there is one word I could describe Colin, the man is a SAINT! He is very intelligent, knows running and a really nice lad!

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? 1. Time, patience, but most importantly, CONSISTENCY. That was drilled into me the day I met Peter McDermott and has become my motto ever since. 2. Enjoy yourself, focus on your own development rather than others.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) April 2019 – We were doing the Howth Hills session and midway through the session, Shaun Conaghan was having a go at Sean Carrigg because he was leading at the top (as instructed by Peter McDermott). At the end of the session, there was handbags between the two parties and a few explicits exchanged. Whilst the two of them were having a go at each other and getting separated, Peter is just standing beside his car, hands in the pockets with a smile on his face and doesn’t say anything. We put our kit on, get a snack in and get in Peter and Gerry Cullen’s car respectively to go back to the Marine Hotel. Myself, Colm Rooney and Carrigg get in Peter’s car with Carrigg sitting in the front. Peter gets in last, looks at Carrigg and says in his Roscommon accent, “I see yourself and Shaun had a little bit of an altercation today.” It was so well-timed and said!! Peter being an avid Manchester United supporter then proceeds to tell Carrigg a story about Matt Busby, the Man United manager witnessing a fight between two players on the pitch through his office window. Busby goes to the pitch, grabs the two lads and says “Gentlemen, this is Manchester United! We don’t do that here”. Peter puts his hand on Carrigg’s arm and says “So Sean, in your case, this is Clonliffe Harriers!” Classic Peter!

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition – Pasta B. Outside competition – Indian food, particularly Chicken tikka Masala

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – John Treacy for his sheer mental toughness. *That* finish against Ovett is my favourite finish of all time. Treacy put a cocky Steve Ovett in his place. B. International – Jim Alder – One of the most resilient people I have ever met and very fortunate to be coached by him at Morpeth. His father died in the WWII, mother died of tuberculosis, lived in multiple foster homes, moved to Newcastle and bullied in school for having a Scottish accent. He won Commonwealth Gold in the Marathon in Jamaica and European Bronze in Athens ’69.

What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Bohemian Rhapsody B. Album – Definitely Maybe by Oasis (I was born the day after it was released) C. Book – Please Don’t Go by John Hartson

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Sicily and Ghana What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Socialising, going to the cinema, playing guitar

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? I would ban athletes who dope for life. They get away with murder! I would televise more athletics competitions, XC as an Olympic event and athletes who run for an adoptive country should only be allowed if they have been a resident in the country for 3 years.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Nice, quiet and modest What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) My next goal is to have a good cross country season to build the strength and stamina for the track.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I have decided to have a break from sessions and am running for enjoyment. It’s important to be kind to the mind and body during this time. I will start focusing on competition when the storm passes.

Exiles Liam & Jayme Rossiter at BUC XC 2020

No. 55: 60 Seconds with Harrier Lacey

When Daniel Lacey transfered to Clonliffe it was a big blow to them and an even bigger blow to us! Only joking! A true Clonliffe man, wears his heart on his sleeve, always gives of his best, now in the senior ranks and serves a truly exceptional pint of Guinness.

Bio: Daniel Lacey, 19 year old from Santry , middle distance athlete who is coached by Joe Cooper, the Clonliffe bar’s most valuable worker and Clonliffe’s most beloved member!

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Took up athletics at about 11 with Fingallians as I had aspirations to be a sprinter but as I went into secondary school was forced into a move over to cConliffe from my schoolmates

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Joined at around 14 after a good year as a minor in St.Aidans under Alan O’Neill’s supervision and after a few months of persuasion from the Aidans lads I gave in and made the move over

What is your favourite training workout? 1k sessions in Trinity

And your least favourite? I enjoy most sessions but probably tempo runs are my least

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? All Ireland schools track or National Cross country

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Winning the all Ireland schools 2k steeplechase as an inter was a very proud moment

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Unfortunately I have had my fair share of injuries over the past couple years, but when at the start of 2018 I picked up a knee injury that put me out for about 9 months which was unfortunate as I was coming off a very strong XC season

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Enjoy it and work hard

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Basically carrying Ian Guiden home on the last night of the Seville trip this year was a memorable one , I am sure he would like to give his side of the story.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: pasta B. Outside competition: pizza

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: Wouldn’t say I have a hero but I get inspired by my teammates and people around me performing well. B. International: same as above

What’s your favourite…? A. Film : Parasite B. Song or Album: Too many to choose from C. Book: The Harry Potter books are the latest books I’ve read.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Loved Budapest when I was there during the summer

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I like going for a game of football

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Certainly advertise it more and make it easier to watch races for the non hardcore fans

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) An exceptional bar man

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) To run a few new Pbs in the next year or so on the track

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Not being too strict on mileage and just running for as long and for as hard as I feel on any given day, some days I go for 20 minutes some days I go for 100 just depends how I feel.

Seville XC, Jan. 2020

No. 54: 60 Seconds with Harrier Nicola Fallon.

An athlete who at one time was described by her coach as his “meal ticket and way out of here”, but unfortunately injury intervened and those best laid plans were torn up! So both coach and athlete are still with us! Still the lady in question has returned to the fold in a coaching capacity and is a valued member of the team: Nicola Fallon.

Bio: I am 34 and living in Rathfarnham. I ran for Clonliffe Harriers mostly as a Junior for over a decade. I was a middle-distance athlete who also ran XC to build moral fibre as Joe called it. I’m a qualified Geologist turned secondary school teacher. I am helping Joe Cooper to coach the Juniors and am currently on maternity leave from my post! I am the Mum of a 5-month-old girl who thankfully came the day after the 2019 National XC championship, I know Noel Guiden was worried I would have the baby on the National XC course. Five months on I am no longer “huge” as Kilian Lonergan told me that evening in the bar. 😉

What age did you take up the sport of Athletics and why? I started running in primary school. Our school always entered the Santry Games. The trials and training were held in Dalymount Park so the prospect of getting out of school was the first appeal and a trip to the sweetshop on the way home, the second. Each year I put myself forward for the trials and made the cut, from there, I really started to love running. I was told in later years by one of the groundsmen in Dalymount that he used to bet on me with the other groundsmen, that I would win my race.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? In sixth class the distance of 500 metres was on offer in the school’s Santry games. The day of the race I decided to take off from the gun and go on to win. My teacher told me she was approached by someone who worked in Morton stadium and that she was to tell me to join a running club. I looked across the track and saw Clonliffe Harriers, I didn’t know of any other clubs, so it was an easy decision.

What was your favourite training workout? I am long retired now. As an athlete I used to love training on the “Munich lap” as we called it in the Phoenix park or a fartlek session in Trinity sports ground.

And your least favourite? I always felt the need to front run when training so 12x400s on the track was tough mentally. I had a habit of letting my head wander mid-session so trying to focus was a killer.

What is your favourite race/athletics meet? Morton Games of course😊.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in Athletics? I was unfortunate that I used to pick up quite a few niggles, but I was lucky to have had some great individual and team successes in the black and amber. In 2001 at the age of 15 I won my first All-Ireland 1500m medal and I got the call up to run for the Club’s Senior Women’s A-team in the National Road Relays in Raheny. We won team bronze making it my first National Senior medal and a big achievement for the Club’s Women. I have been lucky to win several All-Ireland medals but a year to remember for me as an athlete would be 2003 as a 17-year-old. 2003 was my most successful and memorable year as an athlete. That year I had the most consistent block of training coached by Joe Cooper. I won the National Junior and U19 All-Ireland 800m & 1500m. I broke through 2:10 for 800m, 4:30 for 1500m and ran a sub 5-minute mile. As someone who wanted to run track all year round these races were certainly great memories. I finished Top 5 in the National Junior XC and I led the team home to take the National Junior Team Silver. The National XC Championships were held in Rathdrum that year and Joe had us well primed with hill sessions. That was a really proud moment for Joe and his Junior Ladies 😊. Anyone who has ever been coached by Joe knows the time and effort he puts into you as an athlete and a person, so it felt particularly special to show up on the day for him. The pat on the back and some kind of slagging after meant you did well. He seems to have become soft these days and gives a compliment rather than a slag… 😉. In 2003 I also won my first All-Ireland Schools XC individual medal in the Senior Girls. This was a big moment considering my hatred for cross country races and with it being held in ALSAA down the road, the support was out in force from the Club. That year I got to put on the Irish vest for the first time which is something every athlete wants. I got selected to run on the Irish Schools team and for Ireland. Winning team gold with my teammates in the Senior Girls race for Ireland in Wales is a medal that means a lot. Another race to remember is me getting to race against and share a lane with Sonia O’ Sullivan. Finally, before I hung up my spikes I ran one last XC, winning team gold at the National Novice in 2005. It was yet another great day out with the club.

What was your worst injury-and how did you get over it? I suffered on and off with shin splints and knee pain. Building my legs up with specific exercises helped the knee pain and unfortunately rest was the only cure for the shin splints which resulted in blocks of missed training.

What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Have fun with it, think less and train hard. Everything else will follow.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? Joe had organised to bring our junior team over to Hannut in Belgium. We had been shown pictures of our accommodation and it was this amazing stone building which resembled a castle. Unfortunately for us when we got to Belgium our accommodation was quickly christened ‘Chateuax le Shit’ and everything else that followed was nothing short of Fawlty Towers. We did win first International Women’s Team and there was a marriage proposal so it was a memorable trip lets just say😉.

What is your favourite meal? Italian when I was competing, no change now

Who is your sporting hero? Sonia O Sullivan, watching her run and her success growing up was always an inspiration. Also, Brian O’Driscoll. He is a rugby player, Joe Cooper.

Nicola shares the lane with her sporting hero Sonia O’Sullivan

Favourite film? World War Z. Favourite Music? Like all types but will always be found in a dance tent at a festival. Favourite Book? The Book Thief, Gone Girl and any kind of thriller.

Holiday Destination? Alcudia, Majorca.

What is your favourite activity outside athletics? I play tag rugby and being an ex-athlete, I am a speedy winger.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? Talkative, Funny and Friendly.

What is your next running/ athletics goal? I have started back running more since the lockdown, so my aim is to run a quick 5k by my next birthday.

No.53: 60 Seconds with Harrier Niall Counihan

An extremely valuable addition to the Clonliffe track & field team ranks in recent years and who “integrated” well despite being hampered by a Munster accent! A top points scorer in National league campaigns and a top pints man in Europe! Triple jumper Niall Counihan.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? 12yrs old in 1st year in secondary school. My favourite sport at the time was basketball and I was fast and well able to jump, but a teacher by the name of Phil Roche tried to transform me in to a track and field athlete.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? At the end of the 2017 season. I was always an admirer of the club and when I had the conversation with Timmy Crowe, he gave me Joe Cooper’s number and that was that.

What is your favourite training workout? Plyos in the pit, I love taking drills and getting competitive with myself about how far I can go with them.

And your least favourite? 400’s are disgusting. I don’t know how 400m runners do it and have fun.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I love indoors because you don’t have to worry about wind and rain, so national indoors are my favourite.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) As an athlete it was when I won national indoors in 2015. I had only really come back to the sport a year or two earlier from a long term injury that I thought I’d never recover from.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Dislocated ankle in 2008 during a jump in training. I tried to keep coming back months later and it kept giving me trouble so I eventually put the idea of jumping to bed. After years of playing rugby and running on grass, my ankle got stronger so I started doing workouts with some athletes I was coaching and started seeing progress. The rest is history really.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Surround yourself with good people and never EVER forget about them. Nobody does it alone and the good people around you will help you along.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Probably when Keith Marks was in Portugal for Euro clubs and went up against some really good long jumpers. They were big strong looking guys and Keith looked about 12. He was dancing like a lunatic before one of his jumps and absolutely smashed it. 7.48m I think and beat a professional athlete in the process. None of the Clonliffe guys were surprised because we know what Keith can do but the look on everyone else’s faces were priceless.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition – I eat a lot of fruit on competition days B. Outside competition – pizza

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – Keith Earls B. International – Doug Howlett

What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Saving private Ryan B. Song or Album – Sam’s town by the killers C. Book – any match day program from Thomond park

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Lanzarote

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I own a gym which keeps me busy, I like to keep fit and strong. If I’m not in the gym I’m at home chilling with my dogs. I’m a massive Munster rugby fan so I go to a lot of rugby matches both here and overseas.

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? I’d like to see zero tolerance when it comes to drug cheats. Lifetime bans. They destroy the integrity of our sport.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Competitive, confrontational, obsessive

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) I’m Looking at a future in coaching. I feel like I’d have a lot to offer from that side of things, and with my strength and conditioning coaching background and resources, I think I could help produce some serious talent.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I’m focusing a lot on my business for now and training when I can. I’m not finding it easy because after I had to close the gym I struggled mentally for a while. But I’m getting there now. I find that being productive in any kind of way helps.

Hands up who thinks Niall is the club’s best triple jumper!
Yet another Track & Field League Title
Favourite Meet: Indoors

No. 52: 60 Seconds with Harrier Shane Rooney.

Clonliffe really is a club that has equality at it’s core, sure we even have a Cavan man as a member! That very man steps up to the plate for 60 seconds this morning.

Bio: I’m Shane and I’m originally from Cavan but having been living in Dublin for about 27 years….you can take the man out of Cavan but you can’t take Cavan out of the man.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I was not remotely sporty as a kid and only took up running in my mid-30s. I decided to give running a go as my housemate kept telling me how great it was to get out and clear your head. My first ‘race’ was in aid of AWARE and I was bitten by the bug the moment I crossed the finish line (panting and red faced). I’ll never be the fastest, but I run because it’s a great release, great for my mental health, and a great way to meet people.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? After I completed my first Dublin marathon (back in 2010…I think) I knew I had to join a club if I was to keep at it, however I waited for a few years to build up the courage. In 2015/16 I was at a training session hosted by Gary O’Hanlon and met Stephen Doyle. Stephen has a great way of convincing people to do things and he persuaded me to join CH after we completed a ‘Donut run”. I had planned to meet Stephen at the club but I couldn’t see him when I arrived and was going to get back into my car. I bumped into Declan Grant and Mick Gleeson who were also looking to join the Club, so I immediately had something in common with two people. I also owe a lot to the twins, Karen & Laura (I still can’t tell them apart), as they took me under their wing on the first night.

What is your favourite training workout? While not a formal training workout, I love the group long runs we do before the Dublin marathon. You get to spend time with some really great people and hear some great stories.

And your least favourite? I’m not a huge fan of getting my feet wet, so I’ll have to say the sessions in Trinity grounds.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I love the Dublin Race Series, it’s well organised, always a challenge and you get a free banana. One of my favourite club races was the 2018 Grand Prix 10 Mile in Malahide when myself and Aideen O’Connor had to keep repeating “I am a warrior, I am a champion, I can do this….”

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Building the courage to join the club was huge turning point for me and I’m proud of myself for getting out of the car that Tuesday night. From a race point of view I have two: (1) Running alongside Aisling Andrews to get a sub 20 min 5k (while being shouted at by Mark Dowling and Stephen Tracey) (2) During the 2018 Dublin marathon I got chatting to a girl who was really struggling at mile 18, I persuaded her to run with me for a mile and she ended up getting a PB. After the race her boyfriend sent me a message on Facebook to say that she was going to drop out just before she met me. My race wasn’t great (let’s just say Pam started calling me Tiny Tears) but I was chuffed to hear I helped someone dig in and keep going.

Shane and Aisling Andrews

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I’m touching wood as I type this, as any injury I’ve had has been very short term and nothing too serious.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Repeat the mantra “I can, I will” For people at my level, I suggest signing up for a race, set yourself a goal and focus on achieving it…the feeling you get from crossing the finish line makes everything worthwhile. Surround yourself with believers and positive people.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) The club has become a huge part of my life and I have made many great friends and there have been some great stories along the way. From me crying through the entire 2018 marathon, the Cologne 3 missing their flights, post marathon parties, Evelyn and her yoyo, Pam attempting to kick me out of the WhatsApp group for sharing one too many holiday photos, the Clonolympics, to scaring the bejaysus out of Aisling as she was hiding between some bins!!!! We have had so many laughs; they keep me coming back each week.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition – Pasta the night before and porridge in the morning. B. Outside competition – For starters it would be the chicken wings from the Elephant & Castle, for mains it’s an Indian from Kajjal in Malahide, and for dessert it’s an icecream from Storm in a Teacup

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – As I’m from Cavan I have to say Catherina McKiernan (athletics) who I love seeing at the Malahide parkrun and Alan O’Mara (a Cavan GAA player) who has spoken so bravely about experiencing depression. Outside of Cavan I think the O’Donovan Brothers are fantastic ambassadors for Irish sport. B. International – Jana Novotna, I just loved her passion and willingness to show her emotions, I will never forget how upset she was after losing the Wimbledon final in 1993, but she didn’t give up and came back to win it in 1998. I got to see her playing a maters match at the US Open and she laughed when I shouted “I love you Jana”.

What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Far from Heaven B. Song or Album – Mr Misunderstood by Eric Church C. Book – The Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Japan is amazing and Iceland is beautiful, I’d go back to both places tomorrow (if it wasn’t for the 2km restrictions)

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I’m a bit of a crafting nerd and I make family frames using scrabble pieces. I also love going to the cinema….just for the butter popcorn.

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Aside from attempting to combat the drugs in sports problem, I really liked the post London Olympic initiative in the UK were people were encouraged to try out all sports. I’d love to see people being encouraged to club open days and getting to try out a session and meet other members.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) ‘Please stop talking’

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) I’ve promised Anne Lyons that I’ll give mountain running a go….she’ll hunt me down and drag me up a mountain if I don’t join her at some stage.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Some weeks are easier than others, and Pam is great for posting weekly sessions. I’m grateful to Laura Kiernan, Marie Howard and Declan Grant who keep me in check and set weekly challenges.

Dublin Marathon job done!

No. 51: 60 Seconds with Harrier Eamonn O’Neill

This next 60 secondser is a very recent addition to the Clonliffe ranks, only six months a Harrier, but is a two time entrant in the Guinness Book of Records!

Bio: Two time Guinness World Record holder for running the fastest marathon dressed as 1. Sumo Wrestler and 2. Surfer (This had to be done in basic flip-flops and carrying a surf board). Need for speed junkie and lover of a half marathons. Give me that PB!

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? After running the 2006 Port Tunnel 10k with my brothers, I fell in love with running. My oldest brother had ran a marathon and that quickly became my ambition and ran my first in 2008. I kept running because of the events and medals, I continue to run now because of the culture, peacefulness and clarity.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe Harries 6 months ago. I joined because I had just moved home from living abroad and had always wanted to join a running club but never had. I just know I can learn so much more and be motivated by my fellow team members by becoming a Harrier.

What is your favourite training workout? I have a love hate relationship with Tempo sessions. In the mist of it I hate them, but after bashing out a solid hard effort you feel awesome afterwards

And your least favourite? It used to be the track. Never went near a track until 2017. After I got over the fear of it, now it’s not so bad.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Ireland – Kinvara Half Marathon, Galway Europe – Race The Train in Towyn, Wales Canada – Grizzly Ultra Marathon in Canmore, Alberta Australia – Ultra trail Australia in Blue Mountains, Sydney

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Running across the Sydney Marathon finish line, in exactly 3hrs flat and having my sister waiting for me in the finish area while we both burst into tears. It got me to the Boston Marathon.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Worst injury was a sprained ankle. I just rested over the summer, enjoying life and forgetting about running for a while until I slowly joined back.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? There is still so much I need to learn but one piece of good advice I’ve heard is that running is a game of patience. Achievements won’t come quick or easy. You just need to be patient.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Not yet but will looking forward to creating some.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition – Avocado and Toast morning of the race B. Outside competition – Enchiladas

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – Katie Taylor B. International – Mo Farah or Eliud Kipchoge What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Terminator 2 B. Song – Champagne Supernova by Oasis C. Book – Sonia O’Sullivan’s Auto-biography

What’s your favourite holiday destination? The Canadian Rockies

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Ultimate Frisbee, Bicycle Touring, Kayaking

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? More emphasis on an all-inclusive culture, increased diversity and inclusivity.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Adventurous, outgoing, considerate

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Get another Boston qualifier or break another Guinness World Record How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Understanding that my training up until the lockdown started is my new stepping stone and starting place. Events may be cancelled or rescheduled but it gives me more time to become better and achieve my goals with more ease.

2018: Eamonn World Record for running a Marathon as a surfer, with board & flipflops!

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