My Running Life: Gavin O’Donovan


When did you start running and why?
I first started running four years ago when a charity 10-mile road race called “The Great Island 10” was launched in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.

What has been your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement was finishing the Dingle 50-mile road race last September. It was the first “ultra marathon” I ran. An ultra marathon is anything longer than a marathon.

What’s the one thing you would change about running?
There is not much I would change apart from the perceptions about running.

Many people see it as a difficult undertaking which is only for certain people, but this needs to change. Running is a sport that anyone can start and enjoy.

Where is your regular run route?
My regular running route is the course of the Great Island 10-mile race, which was voted one of the top 10-mile routes in Munster. This route has plenty of hills and is very challenging.

What’s your regular training schedule?
My regular training is usually four 10-mile runs, a 20-mile run at the weekend, depending on the length of the race I am training for, a rest day and a day in the gym, which could either be resistance training or going for a swim.

I take one rest day a week, which is just as important as the training days.

What are you training for?
My next run is the Dingle ultra marathon. It’s a 50-mile run, starting in Camp. From there, we will run into Dingle over the Conor Pass, then cover the Dingle marathon route. I completed it last year and it was one of the best races I have ever run. It is limited to 100 participants. See

What do you wear on your feet?
I wear Asics Gel Kayano 18s. Having tried a few different brands, I find they suit my feet the best.

Have you any niggly injuries?
I don’t have any injuries but I do find it takes a while to get loose when I warm up.

What’s on your iPod when running?
I don’t run with an iPod as I usually run in a group. But when I do run on my own, I find it takes away from the pure enjoyment of running.

The odd time I do listen to music, my iPod has everything from Rammstein to Mozart.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment was when I was on a training run with a group and, as we passed some tourists, I tripped. While I was falling, I reached out and took a tourist with me. Thankfully, he was very gracious about it.

What’s your favourite running book?
My favourite running books are The Lore of Running by Prof Tim Noakes and Who Dares, Runs by Gerry Duffy.

What’s your favourite running tip?
My favourite running tip is to ensure you are properly hydrated and fuelled for whatever run you are doing.

Gavin O’Donovan from Cobh, Co Cork, is a 21-year-old arts student at UCC. He is running the Dingle marathon in order to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society. For more information visit

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