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  • Writer's pictureBarra Oconnell

Eagle AC Member Profile: John Sheehan

Eagle AC Member Profile:

Name: John Sheehan

Member of Eagle AC since: End 2015 – My old school mate Denis Looney roped me in.

How long have you been running and what made you take it up:

Since 2015. Well actually, I used to hate running and hadn’t done much sport for many years. Then I was working away from home during the week (in Carlow) and enjoyed the free nights for a while but started to get bored of trips to the pub (remember when they were open?). I just laced up an old pair of runners one evening and started running. The truth is when you start it can be tough, especially on your own. I was talking to friends who ran and they recommended installing a running app on my phone and the rest is history, I caught the bug! Being a competitive animal, although generally running on my own I am always racing against myself and the running apps are a great motivator.

Favourite thing about running:

Running helps to clear my head of any worries that I may have been carrying throughout the day.  It helps make me feel stress-free and I sleep better than before.  I also enjoy training for a specific event – it gives a purpose and discipline.  I never thought I would turn-down drink to be ready for a run the following morning!  Without question running has improved my physical and mental health and provides me with more energy.  I also enjoy the social element of running and the ball-hopping on something like Strava.  I now have some running friends that I might only meet once or twice a year but it is great to follow their progress.  I enjoy getting to the track when I can.  Now that I am mainly working from home I have more opportunity to get to the track so hopefully it will stay open. 

Can you remember the first Eagle AC member(s) you ran with: My Primary School class-mate Denis Looney – Around the CIT track in 2015.

Favourite Cork race and why: My favourite race to do is probably the Cork City marathon. 2019 was probably my most enjoyable as I was not under pressure to make a time. I had ran the Boston Marathon about 6 weeks earlier and one of the highlights was running by the all-female Wellesly College near the half-way mark. You go through the “Scream Tunnel” where the students’ loud cheers, high fives and “kiss me” posters kept me going as you feel like a hero. Anyway, at about the same point in the Cork marathon I passed an all-female reception committee – dressed in pyjamas, smoking fags and drinking coffee. This was a real “Welcome back to Cork Boy” and I thought to myself it’s a far cry from Boston! I laughed for the next 3 miles thinking about it!

Ultimate/Overall running goal: I hope that running the Dublin City Marathon in a PB in 2021 can be a goal. Also, anytime I get the chance to beat Dermot I’m going to take it. Looking forward to the next club 5km and it will be all elbows and arms.

Most memorable/funniest running moment to date: I was running my first cross-country a few years ago in Beaumont Park and behind a male & female runner going down a narrow path through a grove of trees. There wasn’t much room and the man was cautious and slow to overtake. I spotted my chance (well coached by Pat Murphy earlier) and as we reached the corner went between them both to go ahead and the jury is out on the “root cause” but the guy ended up splat against a tree as I disappeared into sunset. I’d say he is still looking for me!

Tell us something most people might not know about you:

I spend a lot of time “on the water” in Union Hall and also love running the hills around there.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting):

Jimmy Barry-Murphy, John Treacy & Michael Collins.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running:

There are huge opportunities to get involved in running now and it is more important than ever with so many challenges from Covid-19 to get out and about. Eagle AC have some fantastic organisers and motivators to help with training sessions, long runs at the weekends etc. The likes of Karen, Mairéad, Elaine, Tom Fox, Darren etc. have brought me on over the past 6 months. My advice would be to join a club and take advantage of the training sessions. The long runs (at the right pace!) don’t seem too long when with company. Running is a great way to get to know new places and work/holiday destinations. IF you could go on a run with one elite athlete (at your pace!) who would it be and what would you ask them:

Local elite - Dermot Slyne - I would love to go on a run with Dermot and ask him how it feels to run with a real hurler.

John Treacy - I absolutely loved his victories in the World cross Country Championships in 1978 and 1979 in muddy fields into the wind. I would ask him what it felt like beating the overly cocky Steve Ovett in the 1980 Crystal Palace 5000m race with his last stride.

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