'It has become a sport rather than a project'
MY RUNNING LIFE:After his mother and grandmother were diagnosed will serious illnesses Dermot Hughesfelt the need to do something proactive
When did you start running and why?In 2005. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and my grandmother with Alzheimer’s. Both have since passed away. It was a difficult time and I felt the need to do something proactive. At a weak moment (probably in a bar) I committed to running the Dublin City Marathon with a view to raising funds for ARC Cancer Support and The Alzheimers Association. I raised over €10,000 that year.
What kept you going?After resting up for four years and reaching a record 15½ stone in weight, it was agreed in The Abbeyglen Castle Bar at Christmas 2009 that all the Hughes brothers (Aidan, Brian and Ronan) needed to rediscover their belts. The youngest and most sensible brother, Ronan, managed to get our credit card numbers and out of nowhere we had been entered into the Berlin Marathon 2010. With a time of 4 hours 36 mins I came a respectable 4th out of the four lads.
Since then I have signed up for two marathons a year and my weight currently stands at 13 stone. It has become a sport rather than a project.
My wife, Martina has since taken on the sport and has three marathons under her belt. My kids, Jack and Anna have run the Sky Road 10K Challenge in Clifden for the past two years and now all my sister-in-laws are keen to sign up. So the bug is catching.
What’s been your biggest achievement?Doing a personal best of 3 hours 53 minutes in the Paris Marathon this year.
Any disappointments?I set off too quickly and then had to walk the middle part of the London Marathon last year. I now understand the saying: “It’s the speed that kills you and not the distance.”
Best thing about running?The privilege to be able to run as well as getting away from the wife and kids for a few hours.
One thing you’d change about running?It should be injury free.
Where’s your regular run route?I have two regular routes. Blackrock to Bray then down the Stillorgan dual carriageway to Donnybrook Church and back to Blackrock: variety, hilly and noisy. Blackrock to Sutton via the east link and back: flat and scenic sea views.
What are you training for?The Amsterdam Marathon on October 21st.
What’s your goal for the next marathon?I would like to run it in sub 3 hours 49 minutes and not come fourth out of the four brothers!
Are you a morning or evening runner?Definitely an evening runner. Although I have been know to get up at 5am once this year to do a 10 mile run due to other commitments.
Do you stretch?Absolutely. It really annoys my wife as I loiter around the house doing my various stretches for up to 20 minutes prior to running. I stretch after most runs under 16 miles but cannot motivate myself after the long runs due to being too tired and lazy.
Good or bad diet?I eat breakfast every day. In general I mind what I eat during the week. I do tend to break out after long runs and on Saturday nights. I take a gel every five miles on long runs and must have some Lindt dark chocolate a half an hour before I start.
Do you have a personal trainer?No. But I regularly use a physio (Paula Roberts) from the Step Aside Medical Centre. I should also mention Paul Kelly, my running partner, who has hung up his boots temporarily!
What’s your average training week?For the past three weeks I have averaged over 40 miles per week in the lead up to the Amsterdam Marathon. I train three days a weeks. One long run 16-22 miles, one tempo run 10 miles and one Fartlek over six miles.
What do you wear on your feet?Whatever Amphibian King in Bray prescribe for my feet. I switch between Asics and Mizumo. I always wear twin skin socks and always replace the insoles for extra cushioning.
What’s on your iPod when running?I need no distractions with music and wires hanging out of my ears. Avoiding traffic and focusing on my technique is more than enough
Any niggly injuries?Lower back, left knee and both Achilles.
Ever been chased by an animal?No. Maybe I’m too fast!
Favourite running tip?Hydrate on Guinness (after long runs only) in Jack O’Rourkes in Blackrock with a mate who is willing to go to the counter for the refreshments. I visualise my pint to keep me motivated over the long haul. Paula Radcliffe has yet to discover this magic secret.