My Running Life: Willie White

Willie White: Finishing the Connemarathon was a big achievement - "I'd never run that far before."

Willie White: Finishing the Connemarathon was a big achievement - "I'd never run that far before."


When did you start running and why?
I was walking the children to creche in April last year and I saw an ad for the Samsung Night Run. I’d never run in my life. It seemed like an interesting thing to do so three and a half weeks later, I ran it. After that, I did the Port Tunnel Run, the Great Pink Run and the Movember Run.

What has been your biggest achievement?
The Connemarathon in April this year. I did the half marathon. There was exotic scenery, it was a tough course and it wasn’t a very nice day. Finishing was a big achievement. I’d never run that far before.

What’s the one thing you would change about running?
I wish I were better at it. My best time is about 57 minutes for 10km; I probably need to do fartleks or something. I wish I’d discovered running earlier because you can just run out your front door.

What is your regular running route?
I live in Phibsboro so I have Glasnevin, Drumcondra, the Phoenix Park and Cabra available to me. You get to know your neighbourhood. A few times I’ve gone out for a run and got lost. With my job, looking at performances in other countries, I run when I’m away. Last Saturday morning I ran in Amsterdam before my flight. I was in Santiago in Chile in January, with a layover in Miami so I ended up running in three continents in one week. It’s an interesting way to see cities.

What’s your regular training schedule?
It depends on work and family. The optimum would be three times a week, with a minimum run of 5km and a long run at weekends.
What are you training for?

I was training for the Great North Run in Newcastle last weekend. It’s a half marathon so I was trying to get my distance up.

What do you wear on your feet?
I wear a Mizuno Alchemy shoe.

Have you any niggly injuries?
Yes. I started running without a pair of proper shoes and I developed plantar fasciitis. It’s a band underneath the arch of your foot and if it isn’t sufficiently stretched before running, it can become aggravated. The big injury that I had was runner’s knee. I got some dry needling for it. My muscles were twitching so violently that I bent one of the needles. But it seemed to help.

What’s on your iPod when running?
Yesterday it was DJ Rupture. There’s a good playlist from Running. com on Spotify. It has a bit too much Bruce Springsteen on it but otherwise it’s fairly good.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I did my first 10km, I wore a heavy cotton top. I didn’t take into account that certain parts of your body can become quite chaffed. Now I know.

What’s your favourite running book?
I’m reading Born to Run [by Christopher McDougall] at the moment, it’s about the Tarahumara, these guys who run in sandals.

What’s your favourite running tip?
Stretch. It’s boring but it’s good for you.

Willie White is the director of the Dublin Theatre Festival. The festival runs form Sept 26th-Oct 13th.

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