My Running Life: Oliver Dunne

Oliver Dunne: ‘I run to allow me to stuff my face with anything I want, which is a fair trade-off’.

Oliver Dunne: ‘I run to allow me to stuff my face with anything I want, which is a fair trade-off’.


When did you start running and why?
My father, Ollie Snr, was a top Irish sprinter and athletics has always been part of my family. He even missed my birth as he was running in the 100m all-Ireland final. Luckily for him he won, otherwise he would still be in the dog house. Our first family photo together is my dad, mam and I with a huge national trophy so I guess I was destined to run.

What has been your biggest achievement?
I won three all-Ireland athletic school boy medals, a silver and one bronze for sprinting and another silver for long jump. No golds unfortunately.

What’s the one thing you’d change about running?
I’d like to not hit the wall so early. I’m always between the first and second kilometre and then I’m fine after I run through it but the thought of it before I start off is horrible.

Where’s your regular run route?
I regularly run two routes. One from my home in Malahide along the coast, Portmarnock beach and around Howth. Alternatively, I just jog around the Malahide Castle grounds.

What’s your regular training schedule
I try to run three days a week but it’s hard to find the time unless I run around 7am before the school run. I’m not a morning person and I work really long days. My energy levels are pretty low after a hard night in the heat of the kitchen so running then is not an option.

What are you training for?
At the moment I’m just trying to keep fit. In my job I’m surrounded with little tasty temptations all day long and the constant picking soon shows. So I guess I run to allow me to stuff my face with anything I want, which is a fair trade-off in my eyes.

What do you wear on your feet?

Have you any niggly injuries?
Not at the moment. I have a long-term back problem but once I keep that in check by proper stretching, I’m pretty lucky with injuries.

What’s on your iPod when running?
I don’t listen to music when running. I like to clear my head and make plans or come up with some new dish ideas. I find it very therapeutic and generally have a good day on training days as I feel I’m one step ahead of everyone that day.

What was your most embarrassing running moment?
I pulled up in a 5k fun run with a stitch just before the 2km mark.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?
I was chased by a gorilla in Uganda in 2003. We were tracking a group of mountain gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest when a lone adolescent Silver Back came charging for us. We were advised during our briefing before we set out that if we were charged, we were not to run under any circumstances, but when our guide came sprinting past us in the opposite direction, I legged it.

What is your favourite running tip?
Slow down, it’s a marathon, not a race.

Oliver Dunne is the Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner behind Bon Appetit and Cleaver East restaurants in Dublin.

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