No. 31: 60 Seconds with Harrier Mick McMahon

Today one of Pam & Ben’s Chargers, a man who like the Prodigal Son left these shores for pastures new only to return some 15 years later to Santry. Naturally enough whilst wandering around Santry he happened upon Morton Stadium and Clonliffe Harriers and so read on..

Bio: I’m Mick McMahon, 42, hailing from Stoneybatter originally. I’m a recent resident to Santry having spent 15 years living in Sydney. I enjoy music, live gigs and discovering new musical gems. I would class myself as a long distance runner.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Some of my earliest memories of athletics were taking part in the local Summer Project sports day events. My first memory of taking part in a race was when I was around 5 or 6 completing the pajama fun run around Stoneybatter. I got into competitive running with my secondary school, St Declan’s in Cabra. Running was a standard part of the PE curriculum as well as basketball, football and GAA; however running was by far my favorite and where I excelled. Laps of the Bogies and shuttle runs where amongst the sessions that I looked forward to in PE. My first cross-country meet was in Multyfarnham, Westmeath. It was a wet and mucky meet. Not owning a pair of spikes, my Nike air Pegasus did not quite have the traction in the mud which I needed to take off. Needless to say I fell at the start but got up, pulled back a few places and finished the race to score points for the team. Post secondary school I gave running a miss for several years until I was living in Sydney. Over a number of homebrew’s, a mate challenged me to take part in the Sydney Striders running clubs 10km series. This returned the running bug to me. I began to take part in the clubs series as well as various Sydney half marathons, City to Surf’s(a 14km run from the CBD to Bondi) and Corporate runs. I PB’d one of the 10k Striders runs in 2005 thanks to a gent behind me chasing me with a double buggy and child crying. Since joining Clonliffe less than 12 months ago I have taken that 2005 PB from 41:03 down to 38:59 – being part of a club definitely pays dividends! Running is and always has been my stress relief and gives me a focus.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Having returned from Sydney and settling in Santry I wanted to get involved with a club to get some sort of structure and discipline to my training (as well as enjoying some team comradery and socialising!). My wife suggested that I should get involved with a club. However, I procrastinated about it for a full year before getting up to the clubhouse to join in August 2019.

What is your favourite training workout? I’m a big fan of mile repeats. Possibly because it was the first session I did with the club.

And your least favourite? Pyramid track session – they push me to the brink of hurling!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? The Dublin City Marathon has to be my favourite- there is nothing like the cheers and encouragement you get throughout the course around Dublin.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I reckon my proudest moment was back to that first cross-country race meet in Multyfarnham. Getting up, having been ran over by the field of runners behind me, then reeling in several runners on the course to pull back from last and complete the course stands out. Funnily, Cursum Tenere, Finish the course, is the Latin motto for St Declan’s!!

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I was signed up to do the Dublin City Marathon in 2017. The timing coincided with me leaving Sydney so I thought it would be a good idea to have an excuse not to go out several nights a week by going training instead! I did a series of scenic runs around Sydney, which was sensational! As I was getting towards the end of my long runs I had a niggle in my fibula. I threw caution to the wind and went ahead on my final long run when visiting my brother and his family in Brisbane. I was 19K in and I had to call my brother to come and pick me up, as I couldn’t put my foot to the ground. After a misdiagnosis by my podiatrist and being treated for a calf muscle issue, I was eventually diagnosed with a stress fracture of the fibula that can only mend itself with rest. Moral of the story is, I should have had a few nights out and I wouldn’t have overloaded on the training!

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? ALWAYS LISTEN to your body, if it doesn’t feel right don’t continue. As a marathon runner we tend to try and push through the pain barrier and ignore what our body is telling us – I’ve learnt this the hard way not just once but twice – the first time above, the second time was ending up in St James after last years DCM which left me with the club nickname CPR Mick! There is no failure in pulling out of a race if you don’t feel great, there will always be another one! Do you have any memorable or funny story from

Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Haha – I thought that I wasn’t here long enough but I do…..I attempted to join the club 3 times….The first 2 times there was no one about the clubhouse however, third time lucky I thought I’m not leaving till I chat to someone…..I chatted to our head of security John who pointed me towards 2 guys chatting (not knowing which one was the coach!). I waited 5 minutes or so for them to finish their conversation and they both split off in different directions, I took a punt on who the coach was and went walking after the guy who was heading up towards the exit gate of the clubhouse. As I called him he looked at me blankly and shrugged his shoulders. I asked if he could tell me about joining the club and he responded in broken English that he was there to try and join to the club too!!!! I eventually got chatting to Pam who gave me the full run down.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: Pizza and Pasta B. Outside competition: Lamb shanks and mash

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: Eamonn Coughlan B. International: Eluid Kipchoge

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: Gallipoli B. Song or Album: Tough question, there are so many……Song.: REM, It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) Album: Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York C. Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

What’s your favourite holiday destination? New York

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I enjoy cooking and getting stuck in to the garden!

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Pretty much like a majority of people, I’d ban drug cheats for life – no chances whatsoever.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Dependable, loyal and fun.

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Sub 18 for 5k and sub 3 marathon

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I’m keeping up my Tuesday and Thursday sessions with the help of our fantastic coaches and motivators Pamela Cooper and Ben Lawlor. Setting targets and taking part in the My results virtual runs are really helping too.

New kid on the block, Mick McMahon in the 2020 Raheny 5