This morning an athlete who has been a Harrier for 19 years and is developing into a fine 400 runner under the guidance of John Shields. A valued member of the track and field team both indoor and outdoors over all the sprint events, relays and more, Leah Bergin.
I’m 26, I work as a special needs assistant What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? My brother was racing at an event in santry. I was 7 at the time and they held a race for younger kids and I won. I was delighted with myself and decided I wanted to take up athletics.
When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? In 2001, My brother ran for Clonliffe Harriers and trained with Gladys so I joined too
What is your favourite training workout? 6×200 or split 400s the week of a race even though I die of lactic after
And your least favourite? Anything over 300m, a session with 600 reps is always a killer
What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Probably the national league. Good day out and it’s funny watching people do events they don’t usually do. I did Javelin one year and hardly made the grass
What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I’d say my first year with John Shields when I broke my pb by 4 seconds and finished second in the national U/23s
What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? When I was 15 I broke my leg jumping over a hurdle. I had a cast from my upper thigh down to my ankle. I had to be dedicated to doing rehab three times a day and finally got back training within 6 months.
(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Don’t compare yourself to other athletes. Enjoy the sport and celebrate your own personal achievements.
Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) At the end of warm weather training last year Emma Kelly had one too many and decided to ask a local if she could use his bike, barely got 5 metres before she fell off.
What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition Pasta B. Outside competition mad egg
Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish David Gillick B. International Jessica Ennis Hill
What’s your favourite…? A. Film Anything Disney B. Song or Album Lewis Capaldi or Kodaline C. Book The importance of being Aisling
What’s your favourite holiday destination? Vilamoura
What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Drinking coffee and pier jumping
If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Definitely lifetime ban for drug cheats
How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) competitive, fun, gullible,
What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Break 57 seconds for 400
How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Since we’ve been able to go 5km from home it’s been easier to train as I can go to my local park. I like to have something to work towards so I set myself small goals every week to achieve which helps to motivate me.