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  • Writer's pictureBarra Oconnell

Eagle AC Member Profile : Sandra Manning

Name: Sandra Manning

Member of Eagle AC since: 2014 (I think!)

How long have you been running? What made you take it up?: Started athletics when I was 7 (have several county, Munster and All Ireland sprint medals) but gave it up again mid teens and took it up again after I had my first baby when I gave up hockey.

Favourite thing about running: Head space from work, kids, life in general. I always feel better after I've been for a run. Usually if I'm running in the morning I'd have my day and work schedule organised in my head by the time I get back. Also love being part of a club; heading out on long runs the miles would fly by as the company is great.

Favourite race distance to run: I prefer the longer distances so half and full marathon. Not a fan of the pain game that is 5k races or anything where I'm in the red from the start!

What is your main goal for this year: The goal had been to go for a sub 3 hour marathon in Dublin but that goal post has well shifted! Now the goal is to stay focused, stay fit and injury free so that when races start to come back next year (hopefully) that I will have a good base level of fitness to work with and can hit the ground running.

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date: I have two really. Barcelona in 2015 (10 minute PB) and again in Dublin 2019 another 10 minute PB. Both races had incredible support and the atmosphere was just amazing.

Tell us something most people might not know about you: I used to play hockey for years, literally lived and breathed it. Only gave it up as it's not the sport you can play without a cruciate ligament. I was unfortunate to have torn the same one twice so couldn't bring myself to go through a second operation so I packed it in and started pounding the roads instead. Would love to go back playing again though!

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting): Have a few.

1. Roy Keane. I have been a huge fan of his since I was a teenager and lucky enough to have had the pleasure of meeting him. He's a love him or hate him kind of guy but I have huge admiration for his attitude and expectations from his sport and his own work rate on the pitch was always phenomenal.

2. Sonia O'Sullivan. Sonia was a household name I grew up with particularly being involved in athletics from an early age she was always someone I looked up to. She had unbelievable natural, raw talent and her achievements paved the way for women in sport not just athletics.

Lastly Usain Bolt. He was such a breath of fresh air for athletics; his pre and post race antics were brilliant. I think if I ever found out he wasn't clean I'd be absolutely gutted. Not many people know he has scoliosis which makes his achievements that little bit more impressive.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running: Go for it, you won't regret it. The hardest part of running sometimes is just getting out the front door. There's no better feeling than running a pb no matter what position you finish or finishing a tough session you thought you might not be able to do. Also join a club - having someone to train with will drive you on and you get to meet some great people.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island: My husband and two boys I'd be lost without them. Actually scratch that, they would be lost without me!!

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