A great meet the runner this week with Conor Keating! Only a recent convert to running, Conor has already amassed a string of impressive PBs, footballs loss is Sportsworld gain!

When did you join Sportsworld?
In January 2014 shortly after I started working in Dublin. I had never really done much running to that point, apart from a bit of shorter distance, as I had played soccer for a number of years with local teams in Tipperary and college teams with UCC. When I came to Dublin, I thought it was a bit late in the soccer season to join a team so I decided I would give running a go just for a few months…

Where do you work?
I work as a trainee accountant with Crowe Horwath in Grand Canal Dock.

What is your favourite club session?
I like the Terenure lap session along with the 6-8 sprints. The lap has a good mix of downhill and uphill and I enjoy the short sprinting.

What is your favorite race distance?
I feel I’m best at either the short distance track races, like 800 metres, or else a half-marathon in terms of longer distance. I feel I have good stamina and sprinting ability but maybe not the speed over a longer distance so I prefer something shorter races. I also like to build into a longer race and I find 5k and 10k is a bit hectic early on.

What is your favorite meal before a big race?
I just make sure to get a good breakfast of cereal and milk and then maybe a ham sandwich an hour or two before the race depending on when the race is on.

My Favourite place to train/compete is?
Bushy Park is a great place to run and I also enjoy the track sessions, with the club, on the track in Tallaght.

I go home to Tipperary a lot of weekends and I don’t mind doing some sessions there by myself as there is a lot of good places to run close by. Our garden is about 60 metres long so if I don’t have much time I can go there to practice a few short sprints or run up and down it a few times. Just up from my house there is a side road, which is a Cul-de-sac. It is about 3k up and back which is perfect for a fartlek session or a 25 min jog if I go up and down a few times. There is a nice 80 metre hill up to the village which is ideal for a good hill session. In the village itself there is a community field where I can get my spikes on and do cross country sessions.

Finally I live just up the road from the ‘old’ road to Dublin (a newer road was built a few years ago) which doesn’t have too much traffic and a big hard shoulder. Naturally you can run as far as you like on this road and I used this for some of my long runs when training for the 2014 Dublin Marathon. All I need now is a running track! I live in Two-Mile-Borris so I might ask them to build one when we get our Super Casino, Replica of the White house and horse race track. [P.S: We don’t think the Casino (Irish legislation forbids Las Vegas style casinos or White House, though we still might get the new race track – the horse race track that is).

What is your target for the next year?
Run Straighter! I have a bit of an awkward running style where I lean off to the left a bit and I can throw my right leg a bit out to the side at times. The legs can feel a bit sore sometimes because of this and I reckon I’m wasting a lot of energy doing this so I am currently trying to correct this with the help of Michael O’Grady and Caitriona O’Kelly who both have given me exercises to work on.

In terms of racing targets I want to focus, for the next couple of months, on the track races so I plan to enter the graded track races on Wednesday nights. You can pay reduced overall fee to enter all 8 of the meetings so I might do that and try to make as many as I can. I would like to have a few goes at the 800 metres and see how close to 2 minutes I can get and also try the 1500 metres.

What is your best Sportsworld memory?
My best Sportsworld memory is running my first track race in June 2014. I had done well in a few Saturday morning track training sessions so I was encouraged by Emily and Myles into coming along to a graded track on in Irishtown stadium on the a Wednesday night to do an 800 metre race. I remember there was a few of us doing the 800 metre that night; Gareth was doing the B race and Michael, Will (and someone else, sorry!) were doing the C race. Emily was also there to encourage us.

I had originally entered the C race on the online registration but when I turned up on the night, in the knowledge that I had ran on a track about 3 times and couldn’t remember the last time I watched an 800 metre race, I decided to take the easier option of doing the D race (basically I didn’t want to trail home in last place. I didn’t realize that you’re supposed to run with spikes on a running track! I ran the race in normal running shoes (about twice as big as what everyone else racing was wearing) but the race went surprisingly well as I finished 2nd in 2 mins 14 secs.

My best overall running memory would have to be when I did my first ever road race, about 2 months after joining the club, in Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny in February 2014. I finished just behind Sonia O’Sullivan in the race, and as there was a big long straight at the end, I managed to catch some of the applause as I crossed the finishing line. I also got the above photo taken with her at the end which was pretty cool.

What international events have you ran?
I haven’t ran any international events yet but I would like to give the Great North Run a go in Newcastle some time.

What do you like doing when you don’t run?
A lot of my time has been taken up going to lectures and studying for accountancy exams recently! Besides that I like going to the movies, watching sport (especially rugby and hurling; not soccer – I like playing soccer but soccer is hard to watch compared to the last two.) and going out for meals etc. with friends and family. I also enjoy travel and I have just returned from a trip to Madrid.

How/When did you start your adventure with running?
As mentioned above I joined Sportsworld when I just moved to Dublin in 2014 and thought I would only do it for a few months before the new soccer season started but after the buzz associated with the race in Mount Juliet I got the sense that running might be for me.

Another funny thing is that I think I joined Sportsworld as it was the first running club I found when browsing the Internet, I’m sure I didn’t put much thought into what club I would join. No actually I definitely didn’t as though Bushy Park is about 30 mins from my office on the bus, I was actually living in Glasnevin (what?!) when I joined. Thankfully, at the time, the number 9 bus goes from Terenure Road West right up to nearly the door of my then accommodation in Glasnevin. Gladly I now live just up the road from Bushy Park these days. I can go home after work on Tuesday and Thursday and then it is only less than a 10 min jog to training.

Tell us about your PB’s / What is your biggest achievement?
Most of these are fairly default PBs as I haven’t run any more than 2 of these races apart from the 10k.
My PBs would be;
5K – 18 mins 14 secs
10k – 38 mins 32 secs
5 mile – 30 mins 59 secs
10 mile – 66 mins 10 secs [Frank Duffy 10 Mile 2014 – I’m fairly sure I broke my 10k PB in this race because, for once, I tried to go hard from the start in this race and this lasted until 7.5 miles when I blew up (getting a stitch) before having to trot the rest of the way to the finishing line (a harsh lesson learnt that day).
½ Marathon – 1 hour 27 mins
Marathon – 3 hours 33mins 46 secs (this particularly PB is likely to last for years)

I have only done one race on the track so far – the aforementioned 800 in 2 mins 14 secs.
Plan is to get proper track spikes and try to set some solid track PBs this year.

How often do you run / What is your typical weekly mileage?
I try to get out 5/6 days a week between the club sessions, running home from work (It’s about 5.5kms) and running at home at the weekends. I’m not too sure about the mileage, but at the moment it is mostly shorter distance stuff to try to prepare for the track season. I’m not a big fan of keeping track of exact mileage, pace, heart rate at training and prefer just to do it on feel. I don’t generally wear a watch either at training or in races as I find it a bit off-putting.

What would you say is the best thing about being in a Running Club?
Being part of a running club is great to meet new people and for your physical and mental wellbeing.

What made you join a Running Club?
Following on from the above I was just looking for something to keep me busy when I came to Dublin, I hadn’t taken running anyway seriously before that – Though I had a half decent level of fitness from the soccer I had played previously.

What was your first day at the Club like?
The first time I came to the Club I wasn’t sure of the way and I didn’t get there in time for training after asking a few people. Everyone was already gone out and I just met Paddy who gave me the run down on the club and I told him I would be back next week.

The following week I did actually make it down for training and Paddy introduced me to Emily who was very welcoming and encouraging in the session itself which I appreciated. The session was my favourite session, (Terenure lap plus sprints) and I got on OK. A few people started talking to me, which was nice, and I have gradually met other people in the club through training, races and the club nights out.

Why is running important to you?
As well as the physical and mental benefits, running helped to keep me sane last year when I successfully completed my final exams in Chartered Accountancy. I was very busy with work, lectures and study but still managed to come down to the club on either Tuesday or Thursday as well as doing some other running which helped to keep me fresh and motivated.
I’ve signed up to do my Tax final exams this summer but I still should have time to do some of the track races and some other training.

Is there anything you would like to see more of or less of at the Club?
I’m looking forward to the new talks after training on stretching etc. I would also like to see more advice re. tailoring your training to prepare for certain types of races like track races, rather than just one general training schedule in the club.

Who is the person in the club who inspires/drives to run better?
Obviously Emily and Myles are very generous with their time in training us and giving us advice. It’s a very friendly club and I have picked up a lot of tips from other members. It’s great that the club enters a lot of teams in cross country/road races which is great for camaraderie and for pushing you on. Trying to see if I can get closer to the faster lads and girls (It’s definitely necessary to put this in given the results of certain races) in the club also motivates me to improve.

Do you do any cross training / other sports on a regular basis?
I still play 5 a side soccer in Irishtown stadium with the lads in the office after work sometimes; as long as we can get enough people depending on who is out on Audit, has lectures, exams to study for etc. It can get a bit competitive sometimes, as you can imagine, so I hope I don’t end up doing a Rory McIlroy on it!

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