Scrumpy adds a little excitement to every run

Gavan Farrell: His biggest achievement to date was completing the Dublin marathon when he had man flu.

Gavan Farrell: His biggest achievement to date was completing the Dublin marathon when he had man flu.


He took up running when he gave up rugby, and has never looked back since

When did you start running and why?

I dabbled in 2004. But this was me, very naively, saying I’d do a marathon with pretty much no training – I had to pull out through the park. It wasn’t my entry so it’s not in the books, thankfully. I learnt for the next year.

I started running as I gave up rugby and didn’t want to become one of those lazy lads who just play golf during the summer, which I definitely would have.

What has been your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement was completing the 2011 Dublin marathon when I shouldn’t have even started, due to man flu. I was “gone” by about 14 miles and walked about three in total. Every few minutes I thought “just drop out now” but I kept going until the end. Most of this was down to a guy called Gary, who was on one of our national radio stations. He was overweight and was walking the whole thing. His determination kept me going.

What is the best thing about running?

Getting out in the fresh air with mates on a Saturday morning and just enjoying catching up. Most of my mates who run are in their 40s (I am 34) so it’s good to try to keep up with them.

What is the one thing you’d change about running?

The injuries.

Where’s your regular run route?

I’m lucky that I live in Skerries. There are a lot of routes to choose – from the countryside to along the beach. My regular one would mostly take in the beach.

What are you training for now?

I plan on doing either Amsterdam or Dublin later on in the year. If things work out, I’ll do both.

Are you a morning or evening runner?

Morning, morning, morning. Although having a day job doesn’t lend itself to this so I mostly have to run at night. You have to work around a lot of things but unlike other sports there are very few restrictions, if any, on when you can run.

Do you stretch?

Never, which is probably why I’m injured so much. After long runs I would go for a swim for a few minutes. “They” say it’s supposed to be good for you but I have my doubts.

Have you a good or bad diet?

If terrible was an option here, I’d go with that. If crisps could get you through a marathon, I wouldn’t have to train. My diet is one of the things that I am working on to improve.

Do you have a personal trainer?

No – it would mean I’d have to answer to someone, I do enough of that already.

What’s your average training week?

In previous years I would have done a fartlek session on a Monday with one/two short runs (5 miles) during the week. Then a long run on Saturday building up a mile or two every week. I’m going to join a running club to put a better structure on how I can improve as a runner.

What do you wear on your feet?

Asics. I thought you had to?

What’s on your iPod when running?

I don’t listen to music. I ran with an auld lad years ago in Herbert Park who wasn’t happy with all the runners listening to music. He was giving out saying “Run with your thoughts – even the bad ones can be sorted.” Each to their own though.

Have you any niggly injuries?

Where to start? Calves mostly and when they are okay, the body reminds you of something else it’s not happy with.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?

Yes. There’s this old dog around where I live, called Scrumpy. You’ll be out for a run and he’ll keep following you, waiting for his time to pounce. He makes you very nervous but his bark is worse than his bite.

What’s your favourite running book?

Born to Run

What’s your favourite running tip?

Don’t jump in – start off slow and build up, even if that means one minute of running. There’s a 5k in Skerries on Saturday, February 16th, at 10am in aid of Feileacain and the IRFU Charitable Trust (see runireland.comfor more details) – what better way to start your year?

Gavan Farrell is doing a 5k run in Skerries on Feb 16th, which will raise funds for the IRFU Charitable trust and Feileacain (StillBirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland). Entries:

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