No. 18: 60 Seconds with Harrier Declan Power

A master athlete and Morton Games LOC member: Declan Power.

Bio: IT worker, settled back in Dublin after some years overseas. In recent years joined Morton Games Organising Committee liasing with overseas athletes. As a Masters athlete I have won medals at regional, national and international level at distances from 5000 to half marathon, on track, road and cross country.

What age did you take up the sport and why? I joined about 10 years ago after completing a few marathons. I signed up for a promotion to run a mile, in Morton Stadium. I broke 6 minutes and was rewarded with a red, plastic bracelet!

Why did you join clonliffe? I enjoyed the novelty of running on a track, prompting me to check out the local club and learn how to train properly. Clonliffe is welcoming and has a long, rich history.

What is your favourite training workout? Long tempo… with hills as a bonus.

And your least favourite? Short lung-busting reps, 400m or less.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? 10,000m on the track. It’s tough, mentally challenging and there is no hiding place. Highgate 10,000m is a great event, while on the roads, my favourites are Dungarvan 10 Mile and City-Pier-City Half Marathon in the Hague, Netherlands.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Breaking 3 hours in the marathon – by 2 seconds! I gave up marathons after that, though have undertaken pace-making duties for elite female athletes in recent years. Most rewarding moment was a few years ago in Paris half-marathon, when finishing fast to break Top 40 in a very competitive field and high profile race, when everything just clicked on the day.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Several years ago, I ruptured the plantar fascia in my foot. It was quite painful and side-lined me for a few months. It was my own fault. I got over it by resting, allowing it to heal and easing back to training. Since then I learned to regularly take a break from running, usually during Winter and focus on other areas to maintain fitness and re-charge.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? See above. From experience, I would say don’t force your training while dealing with an injury. “If it hurts, it ain’t healing”. Be patient, and don’t jump straight back into high intensity training following a significant layoff.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) On a team trip to the Euro Clubs Cross-Country a few years ago, I was surprised at the capacity of my team-mates to consume every dessert on offer at the dinner table, and repeatedly come back for more! All of them were considerably faster, stronger athletes than me, so it had me re-evaluating my approach to nutrition!

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition Banana and water B. Outside competition Lamb Biryani

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish John Treacy B. International Lasse Viren

What’s your favourite…? A. Film Baisers volés B. Song or Album Thick as a Brick (Jethro Tull) – a song that’s also an album C. Book The Secret History (Donna Tartt)

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Paris

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Cinema

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? With the Diamond League set to drop distance events over 3000m, then World Athletics should do more to promote and support other Meets that feature 5000m & 10000m such as Highgate, Pre Classic, Ostrava Golden Spike… and Morton Games! For instance, they could link those meets as part of a League or Grand Prix. There is still large interest in those events and most of the top marathoners come from a track background.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Skinny little fecker

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Another year of running sub-16min for 5k. To keep the curve flat(-ish), if you’ll excuse the expression.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I’m used to training and doing sessions on my own, so motivation is not a problem. I will miss the racing, so I may incorporate some solo time-trials every few weeks. I also remind myself that we are lucky to be able to run (at least at the time of writing!).

Galway Bay 10k: Declan with Gary O’Hanlon, Sergiu Ciobanu and Brian MacMahon