Next up an international marathon runner, who no longer lives in Ireland but is a proud Clonliffe Harrier. She has represented Ireland on the roads in Europe, now living in Paris, Barbara Sanchez.
Bio:Barbara,39 years old, mum of 2, living in Paris after spending 10 years in Dublin. French with Spanish parents and with an Irish passport too.
What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I started running when I moved to Ireland in 2005 but I practiced Modern Pentathlon and Triathlon before, so running was not completely new for me. I did also a little bit of cross country when I was 15/16 but nothing very serious, I was more interested in swimming at that age.
When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I would say it was in 2010, I am confused with dates, time has been flying for the last 10 years 🙁
What is your favourite training workout? There is a new sport called swimrun, it comes from north of Europe and it’s becoming very popular in France. I love it and I would say that it’s my new focus. That explains why my favourite workout is going to the pool running, do my swimming and come back home running again.
And your least favourite? Because I didn’t start running young, I am not used to sessions on the track and really I don’t enjoy it. The worst could be a session like 15x400m
What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? My favourite race is a race in June in Paris area called Oxytrail. It’s 23 km in fields, forest, really enjoyable as they have races for kids too. It’s a nice sporty day to spend with friends and the whole family. I also love the San Silvestre of San Sebastian in Spain, it’s 8km on the 31st of December.
What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I could say the Dublin marathon in 2010 but more recent I would say the Boulogne half marathon last December where I ran in 1’14”57 and it was 6 months after giving birth to Charlotte, my little girl
What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? My worst injury was perhaps the stress fracture few months before the European championship in Zurich. I was lucky to be able to use an anti-gravity treadmill. I could stay fit even if I couldn’t run on the road. It’s an amazing machine that I could use thanks to a Clonliffe runner.
What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? I am not sure to be the right person to advise an aspiring athlete as I got injured very often between 28 and 35 and I would say, life balance was one of the main reason. This advice doesn’t mean to choose between career, family and athletics but if an athlete wants to focus on running for few years maybe some choices will have to be made at least for these years.
Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? I don’t have a funny story but I can say that the most amazing people I met in Ireland are members of the club:) Eugene Coppinger is like a father for me and Declan Power is my daughter’s godfather. If my husband agrees and one day we go back to Ireland, I would definitely train in Morton with the group on Tuesday and Thursday.
What’s your favourite meal? I am French so I love desserts, fresh bread and cheese. And because I am from Bordeaux, I have to add Red Wine to that list 🙂
Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) International: Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal and Kevin Mayer for athletics. Irish: If I have to give one name for an Irish athlete I would say straight away Pauline Curley. She was racing at the same time as me when I started running Ireland and she is the most positive runner I met, she had always a kindly ear. In French we would say that Pauline has a “sound mind” which is not always the case in sports.
What’s your favouite? A. Film B. Song or Album C. Book For the book I am not sure it has been translated but the title in French is La Tresse from Laetitia Colombani
What’s your favourite holiday destination? I have not been to many places so far but my backpack trip to Cuba when we didn’t have kids is the most memorable souvenir.
What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I like swimming and Vinyasa Yoga. I also enjoy yoga with kids, it’s a cool activity to share with your children. In Paris life is very busy and crazy and time is “gold”, that’s why any activity you can practice with your family is really good and badly needed.
If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? I don’t know to be honest. I think to improve our sport the changes need to come from the national athletics associations first. The differences between countries even in Europe are huge in terms of doping controls for example. The guidelines should not be so different between countries.