Charlotte Stevens

A flyer through my door for circuit training in Shanganagh Park encouraged me to start running. I went along to the first session and it was three days before I could walk again, I was so unfit. It was suggested that swimming or jogging a few days a week would complement the training. For years I walked the dogs in the park and would see Sean. Noelle and many of the other regular runners and it often crossed my mind that it would be lovely to be fit enough to go out for a twenty minute run after work to clear the mind. So I started alternating jogging the length of a field and walking a length and was thrilled when after months of slogging I could finally jog 5k without stopping.

The regular runners in the park were very encouraging, all offering completely different advice and tips! It was with a degree of nervousness that I joined Bray Runners in the Spring of 2011 but I was made feel very welcome and encouraged to enter races and join in the training sessions. That year I entered the Dublin Race Series as I wanted to complete race distances up to half marathon distance. I was delighted to have started running building up to completing a half marathon days before I reached 50.

I had great hopes of improving my running and entering more races in 2012. However after some Spring races I had to go back to the beginning again as I became anemic and even walking a kilometer became difficult. For a month I could only manage a mile at a very slow jog, and gradually built it up to four mile runs. Getting back to the Thursday training sessions in the park last Summer helped me return to racing and complete the Fit4Life Race series. I had learnt the hard way the importance of nutrition to a runner.

This year my goal is to try and improve my times at 5K and 5 miles and maybe build up to a ten mile race later in the Summer but most important to me is to keep on running and enjoying it. While racing is fun and improving my times is great, I really just love running and get so much enjoyment out of putting on my runners and going for that run after a long day. Improving times are just the icing on the cake!

2011, Pb for 5k, 24.34.

2012, Pb for 5k, 23.32.

2013, Pb for 5k, 22.26 

Joseph Cawley

My first memory of a running race was at an U-10 community games meet in Sligo. It was the 200m. Early in the race I fell on the grassy track but still managed to easily win that first ever race.

I have very fond memories of attending various sports days during these years.

It seemed it was every Sunday in summer Mum and Dad would pack us all (6 of us then) into the car and head off somewhere in Mayo or Sligo.  We would attend as many as we could. 

Two other noticeable athletics achievements stand out from back then.

It was probably U14 community games in Sligo again. I had just won the 600m event, and I had also had entered the shot putt. I was still small then but I had been secretly training for this at home with a concrete ball. As soon as the race finished I ran over to the area where the shot putt competition was almost finished. I was given one trial throw and then with the one throw I was allowed I managed to win by only cm's from a lad twice my size

The other win that stands out was in St Muredach's college 2nd level where I won the senior 800m event. That was a noticeable success in the boy’s college then. 

However Gaelic football would form most of my sports activity after this whether with schools, club or underage county.

Fast forward to 2007 and living in Wicklow (now aged 35). Loosing speed over the first 10 meters to younger green horns and with "home" Gaelic football games now 185 miles away, I decided to try something else

I had been given a Polar sports watch for my birthday by her good self and this gadget provided the excuse to take up running. I had always good discipline at GAA training on my own so I had no motivational issues with it.

But I hadn't a clue how to train correctly then. All my runs were lung busters but before you I knew it I had run my first race in almost 20 years in the Connemara half marathon. A respectable 1:42 and I was hooked.

I moved up to the marathon distance straight away and loved the Dublin Marathon day in 2007 where I finished in 3:14.

Even though been self coached I continued to make good progress back then when I mostly ran the HM's and had 6 - 7 PB's of these in a row .

In 2008 I ran the Connemara marathon (3:22), Berlin 3:01, Dub 3:03.

I got my big break in 2009 when I managed to break 3hrs in Dub - 2:47 and the following year 2:41 putting it down to consistent training for the Connemara ultra twice in 2009 & 10. I also had my first marathon win albeit not a huge field in Cyprus in 2010, a day I will never forget.

I failed to make marathon time improvements during 2011, both 2:43 in London and Dublin again but I had my most memorable day in London in 2012 where I finished in the top 100 with a time of 2:36.

My other love is triathlons. I remember watching this in Sligo in the early 1980's and was fascinated.

I decided to give this a go during the summers and started doing Sprint and Olympic race distances in 2008 and moving up to half Ironman distances in 2010. I found the swim / cycle were great for cross training during my running off season. The races were interesting too. Because of my less than average swim (thankfully much better now) I enjoyed moving up the field in the bike and run sections.

2012 saw me complete my other life long ambition of completing a full Ironman. I almost performed to my very best in Barcelona that day well until 28k into the run and with better nutrition management will be key on my next attempt. (10hr 08 mins)

2013 targets? An annoying groin injury had hampered my running this spring (sorry winter) but the plan is still to run well in the Boston marathon on this 15th April and then some unfinished business in another Ironman in Almere Holland in Sept         

Marathon total = 15 incl. 3 ultras

PB's –

5k - 16:37. Wicklow 5k Road '12

5 mile - 26:35 Kildalkey '12

10k - 34:20 - Dunshaughlin '12

10 mile - 56:05. Dungarvan '12

HM - 76:28 - Kinvara '12

26.2 mile - 2:36:21 - London '12


Additional information