My Running Life: Senator Jimmy Harte


When did you start running and why?
I played a lot of football when I was younger and then in 1988, when I was 30, I started to do a bit of recreational jogging.

A couple of mates were also doing it and we just got into a routine. I ran the Dublin marathon that year.

What’s been your biggest running achievement?
Finishing a marathon. I’ve done 12 of them – five in London and seven in Dublin. The last one I did in Dublin was my fastest time – 3hrs 45mins in 2008.

Is there anything you’d change about running?
Sometimes drivers are not mindful enough of runners. And sometimes I see people out running with dark clothes on and I think that’s dangerous.

What would be your regular running route?
Myself and a mate of mine do a six-mile route in Letterkenny. We jog most of it and walk part of it. When I’m in the Seanad, I’d run by the canal or in the gym.

What’s your regular training schedule?
I’d run three to four times a week. I plan to do the Mark Pollock ‘Run for Mark in the Dark’ this month. It’s 10km. Like any runner, I need a target to get me out of the house.

What do you wear on your feet?
Either New Balance or Asics.

Have you any niggly injuries?
Achilles and hamstring would be the most common for myself. The big failure I have is not stretching enough.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t listen to music when I’m running and I advise people not to because it is distracting. On the roads, you need your wits about you. In the gym I’d listen to Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I did the London Marathon in 2006 and when I got to the finish line my timing chip had fallen off.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?
Outside Letterkenny there’s always a few dogs. That’s a regular feature. I think you just have to scare them back. Potholes are another problem, especially in the wet weather.

Have you a favourite running book?
Roger Bannister’s book, The Four Minute Mile, is motivational.

Have you a favourite running tip?
Be patient. If you haven’t run before, don’t expect to run 10 miles after two weeks – that will certainly give you an injury. Increase your distance by about 10 per cent a week.