My Running Life: Denzil Jacobs

When did you start running and why?
Age 17 in the Voet van Afrika Marathon in South Africa where I was born. I resumed at 19 following a car accident which ended my javelin career, in which I had represented my country internationally for six years in a row. My family encouraged me to return to running.

What has been your biggest achievement?
Completing the Clonakilty Back2Back marathons 2013 in a sub eight- hour total time for my very first Back2Back marathon challenge.

What's the one thing you'd change about running?
Nothing. Running is like life. It has its ups and downs but in the end you get to the finish line if you persevere. There's no better feeling in the world than achieving your goals.

Where's your regular run route?
No regular route, it starts in my home town of Tullamore and I go where the wind takes me. Speed training takes place at the Tullamore Harriers Athletics club stadium.


What's your regular training schedule?
I train six days a week, Monday is a rest day, speed training on Tuesday and Thursday, 10 miles a day Wed-Sat and 18-22 miles on Sundays if I am not racing. For my upcoming 10 in 10, the schedule drastically changed to more long runs with a general pattern of two weeks hard distance running followed by an easy week.

What are you training for?
I'm running 10 Marathons in 10 days to raise €10,000 for the Saplings Special School for Autism in Carlow, where I work as senior paediatric occupational therapist. Donations can be given to the school or online to

What do you wear on your feet?
I don't stick to one brand of running shoes. I wear Adidas Adizero Boston 3 for racing in official marathons, but train in New Balance 890's, K-Swiss tubes and Nike Lunar Swift.

Have you any niggly injuries?
Thanks be to God, I have been injury free throughout my marathon running history.

What's on your iPod when running?
I don't listen to anything during runs. I simply love enjoying God's creation in the form of nature and my fellow runners.

What's your most embarrassing running moment?
Taking a tumble over a traffic cone because I was too busy admiring the thousands of spectators and drummers in the Cork city marathon. I was mortified and if you ever wanted to see a black man blushing blood red, that was your chance.

What's your favourite running book?
Gerry Duffy's Who Dares, Runs 32 marathons in 32 days in 32 Counties.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?
Once when running through farmers' fields in Moate, a herd of cows decided I wasn't welcome and came full force heads down to trample over me. It was my fastest kilometre ever in a long run and the highest hurdle I've ever scaled without touching it.

What's your favourite running tip?
The 3Ps – plan, prepare, prevail.