My Running Life: Matt English

Matt English (centre) completing the 2010 Dublin City Marathon in under four hours

Matt English (centre) completing the 2010 Dublin City Marathon in under four hours


When did you start running and why?
It was really when I stopped playing other sports and wanted to keep fit that I started running – probably about 10 or 12 years ago.

What has been your biggest achievement?
Three years ago, I signed up for the Dublin City Marathon. We did a fundraiser for Special Olympics Ireland and had about 35 people running, virtually all of us first-time marathon runners. I broke the four hours so I was pleased about that.

What’s the one thing you would change about running?
The voices in your head telling you not to go out running. And I’m 50 next year, so the morning after a long run it’s the sore ankles and sore knees.

What is your regular running route?
My office is based close to the Phoenix Park so I’m blessed. Often when I run into the park I’m not quite sure what route to take because there is such a variety.

What’s your regular training schedule?
Twice a week I either do a lunchtime run or an evening run, and I’ll go for a run at the weekend as well. Getting closer to the Dublin City Marathon, I’d try to do a 10-12 mile run at weekends.

What are you training for?
Limerick is hosting the Special Olympics Ireland Games next June so I want to make sure I can do the Great Limerick Run on May 4th in a respectable time. Special Olympics Ireland is one of the main beneficiaries of the race.

What do you wear on your feet?
For my birthday last year, my sons pooled together and bought me a really good pair of Nike shoes. They are fluorescent blue and I really like them.

Have you any niggly injuries?
It’s really just wear and
tear with age. I get sore ankles and knees, particularly if I’ve done a long run. I’m carrying a little bit of weight – running is good for losing it, but it does put a bit more stress on your joints.

What’s on your iPod when running?
Again I must thank my sons. They’ve loaded up loads of music for me: Oasis, U2, Coldplay. They’ve also put on some Eminem, which is good for running.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I did my first half marathon, I wasn’t wearing the best top and I was unaware of the need for Vaseline. Also, you feel a bit of a fool when you’re out running and you get lost.

What’s your favourite running book?
I haven’t done a lot of reading about it. I’m very lucky that I work closely with John Treacy of the Irish Sports Council and with Sen Eamonn Coughlan. I’ve got a lot of advice from them.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?
I was at a conference in Bucharest about five years ago. I had read that you should watch out for wild dogs. I went out running one evening and a pack of wild dogs started surrounding me. It was very scary.

What’s your favourite running tip?
Running marathons, it’s the speed not the distance that kills you, so make sure you run at the pace that’s right for you. And ignore the negative voices in your head.

Matt English is chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland