No. 46: 60 Seconds with Harrier Stuart Roche

Great to have another sprinter blast into the limelight. This athlete has been with the club for many years competing at European Club level as both a Junior and Senior and in 2014 was a vital component in the 4 x 100 national winning team that broke the quater century old club record.

Bio: Stuart Roche – 27 year old sprinter (how time flys) handsome insurance man by day And will always run a killer 3rd leg bend on the 4×100 for the club.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Started running as a sport since primary school around 6-7 running in the Bunscoil all the way into adulthood. I took up athletics as I always played football as a kid into my teenage years and was the fastest in all my teams I played for so gave running competitively a shot. As I got older it was difficult to balance 2 sports so after I got my first cap for Ireland running in the Celtic Games I decided to stop playing football and take up running as my full time sport. I do miss playing football but it’s hard to replace the freedom of running on a track fast.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I was running for Lucan Harriers all the way up until about 12-13 and made the switch to Clonliffe as my own coach at the time suggested I’d be better being coached by John Shields to try and progress further in the sport also there was not many people my age to train with at my local track. Also my local track was stones and gravel so it was very appealing to know I would get to train on an actual tartan track.

Young Stuart impresses John Shields at that first session on the Santry track!

What is your favourite training workout? Favourite training workout is probably any kind of block work or flying 30’s,40’s or 50’s. Basically anything fast !

And your least favourite? In the winter time we usually do 6-8 200’s off 2 minutes recovery which is difficult or another session would be 4×300’s and then 2 fast 150’s after, my lungs for distance work isn’t the best so its never a fun time.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Irish Milers Club have their athletics meets throughout the year my favourite meet is the one in Greystones. It’s a small track right near the sea with beautiful surroundings and its well organised and on time which is great for any runner. Plus my 100m PB is from that track so it holds good memories. That or any race at Tullamore racetrack as you’re always guaranteed a fast time there. The Morton Games is very fun as well as it attracts many high class runners who you would never normally see competing unless travelling abroad.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Proudest moment in athletics is probably winning the national 4x100m relay title with my club team mates in 2014 and breaking a club record that was standing for over 25 years and our current record still stands today. That or representing Ireland in the Celtic Games when I was 18. It was great to put on the green vest.

4 x 100 national champions 2014: Ciaran, Isreal, Stuart & Keith

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I think I have had every injury under the sun from hamstrings to quads to calfs to Achilles (probably my lack of flexibility) but my worst was a season or 2 ago I tore the lower part of my hamstring 20m into a race which took me about 4-5 months to heal properly through rehab and stretching and rest. Still trying to get back 100% from it.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Be consistent with your training. If you have a routine or schedule stick to it. Try not to over train also and take everything out of yourself before a race. If you miss a training session or if you have a race and it’s a bad one try not to let it get to you too much, forget about it and move onto the next one. Far too often I see good runners let bad races get to them and it has a lasting effect. Lastly try not allow yourself to be over coached. Listen to your coach but maintain some of your own original ability and techniques you had from when you started. If you forget everything you know and become a “manufactured” runner it can be both good and bad. Lastly enjoy the process. If you do not like running you’re not going to keep doing it so try have fun as best you can no matter what level you are at it’s a great hobby to have even if you do not do it competitively

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) One time on the European junior clubs cup trip in Leiria Portugal myself and the guys were walking through the down and went into a carnival. One of the shot putters from Slovakia had a go and the punch bag machine. He sprinted at it and threw a punch and nearly knocked the machine over. If you were there you would laugh.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition B. Outside competition A. Scrambled Egg and toast before leaving the house always sets me up for the day. B. Outside of competition I love pizza, who doesn’t!

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish B. International A. I wouldn’t personally have an Irish sporting hero or someone I looked up to. B. Internationally I have always loved Justin Gatlin, my favourite sprinter of all time. Beautiful runner to watch. Most people would disagree with that choice or argue opinions on it but each to their own .

What’s your favourite…? A. Film B. Song or Album C. Book A Favourite film of all time would be the first Die hard. Yes it is a Christmas movie and who doesn’t like John Mclane. Yippee-ki-yay, ****** B – Favourite song would probably be Out of Touch Hall and Oats (Retro) C – I don’t read at all unless I have too so I wouldn’t lie to you and tell you something I haven’t read!

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Orlando Florida in USA. I Love going to the theme parks like universal studios Disney magic kingdom and island of adventure. I would go back every year if I could. Close second to that would be Dubai.

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I love horse racing and I go to as many race meetings as I can throughout the year. You could say I am fond of a bet or two but don’t ask me for any tips. I also love video games and play online every day when I get the chance. Football would be a close 3rd .

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? I would try to advertise it more and to show more athletics meetings on TV whether it is BBC, or Eurosport etc.. Try to promote it more in schools for younger athletes coming into it and to put more money in the sport in terms of earnings so that the good runners stay in the sport and don’t change to sport that pays more.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Happy Nice Helpful

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) To get back running a full season injury free without any issues. PB’s are not important at this point just looking to be healthy on the track and the rest will follow suit.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? From working remotely at home staring at a screen and sitting in a chair 9 hours a day it makes it easy to want to get up and do something whether it’s some weights in the garage or going to the park for some long runs or short runs. The fresh air keeps you sane!