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  • Writer's pictureBarra Oconnell

10 years an Eagle, with Ruairi Egan.

Eagle A.C is very lucky to have a large number of longstanding members and we would like to acknowledge and celebrate these runners. This weekend marks 10 years since Ruairi Egan joined Eagle A.C. We have put a few questions to him to mark the occasion and to find out a bit more about the man behind the clipboard!

What brought you to running & to Eagle AC in particular ?

I spent most of my younger years on the back of a horse, I come from a horse mad family. Rarely did anything on my own two feet. When I hit 40, I decided it was time to get a bit fit and started playing squash a few times a week. Then I realised I wasn’t fit enough to enjoy it properly so started running as well. Absolutely hated it! But caught the bug somehow and within a year was doing my first race in Courtmacsherry, to my great surprise. A friend of mine (Gearoid O’ Leary) decided we needed to join a club if we were going to get anywhere. Eagle seemed to have the friendliest reputation so I emailed and John Quigley quickly replied. We rocked up to the track this week 10 years ago and I’ve been an Eagle since. Pat Murphy welcomed us and ran a tempo with us, still one of the hardest ones I’ve done, thanks Pat.

What would you say is your favourite thing about being an Eagle?

I like that Eagle has a long history, that we are always well represented at races, that people running at all paces can wear the singlet proudly and the club continues to warmly welcome new members as it welcomed me ten years ago.

In your 10 years of being an Eagle what would you say is your proudest achievement?

Being the race director alongside Karen Bevan for last year’s club races, after the 2 COVID years. It was a great feeling to get people out to our races again and in huge numbers, with the support of our brilliant members as always.

What is the most unusual race you have ever run?

During lockdown, our usual training group was broken up and Fin and myself had to run the hills around our home area without Karen. They were tough, hilly long runs so we gave ourselves a goal of the first ever “Upton marathon” to keep us going. In late March 2021 we ran 3 loops around the local roads for 26.2, a nice way to end lockdown with one of my best pals, club captain Finbarr Lehane.

Do you have a favourite race over the past 10 years, or any that stand out as special?

My favourite was London in 2021, I had a nasty car accident during lockdown in late 2020 and wasn’t sure I’d get going again but managed to get back enough to get around under the watchful eye of Karen again. An amazing event, an amazing weekend and the only time I’ve cried crossing a start line.

Do you have a favourite Running photo?

Yes, That time I led the London marathon!

London Marathon 2021

Staying on the topic of race photos, what is your favourite thing to shout at race day photographers as you run past?

Clearly a setup question here! I have a long standing joke with Derek Costello, I shout “get my ass” anytime I pass him in a race with his camera. The bystanders always look concerned but Derek always obliges. No idea when or why it started but it gives us a laugh anyway!

Do you have any races that you would really like to run, but haven’t got to yet?

Oh I’ve always wanted to do Boston. Got a qualifying time for one of the ones that was cancelled for COVID so thought I’d lost my chance but happily made the cut again with my Dublin time last year so will be heading over next April (There are advantages to being old Damian Kenneally)

Kinsale 5 mile 2019

You have had your fair share of challenging injuries over the past few years. Which one has been the most difficult & which one has been your favourite? As you are the master of comebacks, what advice would give to someone who is challenged by an injury right now?

Love this question. To start with the last part, get yourself to a proper physio like Patrick Carroll in Ballincollig to make a plan to recover and build some strength to avoid any repeats. He’s converted me to gym work twice a week instead of just adding more miles, and promises me he’ll keep me going until I’m Richard Piotrowski’s age (103 I think). My worst injury was fractured vertebrae after the crash. I’m not sure there can be a favourite injury, but I really enjoyed telling people I broke my butt lately (small bone stress injury on back of my pelvis). As Martin Daly says, “I’m between injuries at the moment!”

Any regrets over your past 10 years of running?

Personally none, but I regret that some great friends had to call it quits along the way.

What are your running ambitions for the next 10 years?

At this stage, keep on going. We have some amazing older runners in the club, Richard, Ken, Joe, Mike, Pat, the Martins, Viv, I’ll try to represent the more realistic mid 50 year olds I think.

Inniscarra 4 Mile 2019

So what is the secret Ruairi, to 10 years of successful running? Not sure about the successful bit! Well all the books say “listen to your body”. I get a laugh from that because if I listened to mine, I’d never get out the door! Maybe the secret lies somewhere in between!

What inspires you to keep lacing up those trainers? We lost my younger brother in an accident 25 years ago. I think that inspires me to get the most out of things and to not take it all too seriously either. So with running, I try to do my best but enjoy things as well. I’ve had the chance to do lots of things he didn’t.

Any advice would you give someone who is thinking about joining Eagle AC? Go ahead and join, and then offer to be race director (please). Thank you to Ruairi for sharing some great stories with us & we wish him the very best of luck for his next 10 years & more, with Eagle A.C.

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