No. 29: 60 Seconds with Harrier Richie Owens

Here’s a great one from one of the club’s top middle distance athletes, an athlete who scored top points for Clonliffe in the European clubs track and field in 2017 to assist the club in taking brilliant bronze in group B. It’s also a great pick up for any athlete who’s been through or going through injury, how to lift yourself up and move forward, from a guy who has had the odd injury or two! Richie Owens.

Bio: 29-year-old, retired 800m runner concentrating on the 1500m – 5000m Originally from Wicklow currently working as a Financial Analyst in the Dublin Docklands.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Drifted into and out of the sport for most of my childhood eventually getting more and more committed as I went through school, made all Ireland schools as a senior and fully committed when I moved to college. Athletics is the purest form of sport; you get out of it what you put in

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Joined as a deadline day deal in September 2016, had long since outgrown UCD and Messer’s McGuinness, McDonald and Flynn didn’t let me consider anywhere else. People like Joe Cooper and Killian Lonergan had for years also been extremely encouraging. The club has a real family atmosphere.

What is your favourite training workout? Honestly very few sessions I don’t get genuinely excited about from 2min reps on grass, long tempos to anything on the track I’m generally motivated to get after it.

And your least favourite? I am probably most scared of any of the 800m track work 2 sets of (2x400m in 55) with a 1min between reps and 10-15minutes between sets. Anything in Santry park where Cathal Doyle and Ian Guidan absolutely spank me also horrible.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? National Outdoor track and field, if you’re not going to make an European or World team it should be your Olympics.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Captaining a shock UCD team victory in the Varsity road relays over DCU in 2011. Don’t think anyone outside of myself and James Nolan thought we would have had a sniff of winning. Individually coming 6th in the National 1500m in 2016, ran a 54sec last lap and in a blanket finish ended up less then a second from third and less than two from first. Moved into 3rd with 50m to go and was sure I had the medal in the bag.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? For years I would tear hamstrings but once you hit 25 majority of people will learn they aren’t invincible and the Achilles and other tendons flair up, I’ve always been religious with my rehab but still learning.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Patience is key, my progress was shockingly slow looking back but year on year I improved eventually it adds up at 17 I ran 2.00 for 800 and 4.22 for 1500. Year on year I took 1 or 2 seconds off eventually running 1.51 and 3.48 at 25/26. Not every athlete is Mark English people need to have solid expectations.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Rocking up to McGowens or whatever establishment has been chosen post Morton Games or National Seniors as part of the David Flynn entourage is always a rush, VIP guest list, skip the que, free drinks.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: Brown Pasta and Chicken B. Outside competition: Pizza

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: James Nolan B. International: Steve Prefontaine

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: Snatch B. Song or Album: A$AP Forever, A$AP Rocky C. Book: anything by Ross O’Carroll Kelly

What’s your favourite holiday destination? California

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Drinking Coffee and following Rugby

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Double down on 6 major European Athletics meetings each summer, get them back to the prime time with the best athletes and proper television coverage. London, Monaco, Rome, Brussels, Zurich, Oslo…. Give the sport a focus and a pinnacle, can use lesser races to qualify and race to get into the big 6.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Delusion, Obsessed, and Full of Sh*T

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Same as every other year National Outdoor 1500m

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Training is a great escape for life, no matter what happens in work/life go for a run and problems and issues always seem to sort themselves out. I work off 3 hard training weeks with 1 week easy, these blocks of train structure my life, bringing me into shape and help the weeks and months fly past.

National Road Relays, Raheny
Richie on his way to winning the 1500 at Euro Clubs, Portugal 27/5/17