No. 33: 60 Seconds with Harrier Philip O’Doherty

Next up another Lifer. A guy who has served time as a senior, master and now, even though he is too modest to say so, double jobbing as an athlete and coach: Philip O’Doherty.

Bio: I turn 60 in six weeks’ time – roll on the new age category. Raised in Santry – went to St Aidan’s. Living in Malahide for the past 34 years. I organise a group of intermediate and masters runners in Clonliffe – I wouldn’t want call myself a ‘coach’ (not compared to the real coaches in the club)

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Originally, in Aidan’s running cross country in first and second year. Then a gap until I was 19 and started taking part in BHAA races in the very early years.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? August 1984 – for some reason I have still have a copy of the application form. I wanted to improve my running. I had a ten year gap from 1993 to 2003 and have been active since then.

Strange but true, Philip still has his Application form to join Clonliffe!

What is your favourite training workout? I’ve always enjoyed sessions geared towards 800m racing – 10×200, or sets of 4×400, 4×300, 4×200

And your least favourite? Any reps over 600m, which is ironic because that’s mostly what I get my group to do by way of sessions.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I’ve always enjoyed the National Road Relays in Raheny. Great to participate and to spectate with good atmosphere.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach)? I have been lucky enough to win a fair few Masters’ individual medals but my proudest moments where in team events when I struggled to finish with an injury but got there to help the team to medal, in particular the National Masters’ cross country in Galway and the World Masters’ Half Marathon in Malaga, Spain.

Going down! World Masters Half Marathon, Malaga 2018

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Five years’ ago, I developed Posterior Tibialis Tendinopathy and have never got over it in spite of spending thousands. It has put paid to my track racing but, thankfully, I’ve got it to a manageable level and can now train and race distance events

What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Don’t wait until you are old and crocked to start strength & conditioning work. Make it a life-long habit.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? I always enjoyed the Thursday evening 10 mile ‘easy’ runs when someone would take off at the end of Griffith Avenue and turn it into a race home. I remember one evening yapping away only to turn around and run head first into a lamppost. Everyone else though it was funny anyway.

What’s your favourite meal? I’m not really conscious of my diet in or out of competition – Roast beef with all the trimmings combined with a nice glass of red wine.

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish Eamon Coghlan B. International – Steve Ovett

What’s your favourite…? A. Film –Godfather Part 2 B. Song or Album- London Calling by The Clash, for something more recent Michael Kiwanuka C. Book- Catch 22

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Definitely Italy

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I play golf once a week but very badly

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Do whatever it takes to root out doping.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) A bit annoying.

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!)? I have won a Masters’ championship medal of some sort every year for the past fifteen, I would like to have the opportunity to maintain that streak.

Giving it all at 2015 National Masters 800 Indoors

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Suffered a glute strain a few weeks’ back, so was out of running action for a while. I’m lucky that Malahide Castle is within my 2k limit, so should have no excuse.

Competing for Ireland at Master’s International Cross Country