Friday, June 24, 2011

[49] What Irish Eyes Are Reading

High School Track Star Cover Girl
I managed to snap up a copy of Irish Runner's July 2011 issue purely by chance when I stopped by a Newstand in Busáras Bus Station on my way to Enniscorthy for the Strawberry Half-Marathon Road Races. I was tickled pink when I found the race highlighted as "Strawberry Delights" and given the June spotlight in the "Fixtures" (summer months racing schedule).

Despite it's 30 year history, Irish Runner Magazine's web presence is non-existant aside from a registered domain name with under construction banner. It it linked to Athletics Ireland where one may pick up a subscription and keep up with everything related to Irish Runsport. I am hoping as they move toward 2012 Olympiad taking place next door in London, they will develop a greater web presence, like that RW:UK. As much as I would love a subscription, I doubt mailing the issues to the States would also be 25 Euro for six bi-monthly issues.

Disclaimer: This issue was the 30th Anniversary of IR, and there is extensive coverage of the evolution of Irish running over the years. However, it was difficult to to select a gem from the 16 pages worth of editorial content as it presented a fascinating look into how running has helped mold the Irish culture. I will cop out here and give it a gold star and a "best in show" ribbon as it fascinated the run geek within. The items selected resonated with me on a personal level, and I am certain that others from the IR readership may disagree with my choices.
"A Rose and Role Model" (pages 6-7): The reigning 2010 "Rose of Tralee",  Ms. Clare Kambamettu, is highlighted with regard to her involvement in the National Lottery Irish Runner 5-Mile Road Race on July 16. Also, a novice to running (starting only two years ago), she logs 8K five times weekly. Running as been incorporated into her charity work work scheme, and is scheduled to participate in four races over the next six months!

"New Frontier" (pages 8-9): Focuses on RTÉ travel presenter Kathryn Thomas who runs for charities like Respect, serves as an ambassador for the National Lottery Dublin Marathon (hoping to finish with a sub-three hour time), and discusses her running bucket list. Her most fascinating run? Rubbing between villages in Namibia while on location in 40C () heat!
"Unleash Your Potential" (pages 14-17): Of the six points outlined in the article, my interest was immediately drawn to items #2) Periodisation and #3) Time Trials. I have considered these menu items to be something to focus on in the future, once I start seriously training for the 2012 NYC Marathon or attempt to shatter some of my current PBs. However, devising a training schedule should not be something I commit to only when necessary. If I am to advance as an endurace athlete (saying it never gets old), I need to take a holistic approach to my training, and law down the law in my serfdom.
"Marathon Countdown" (pages 20-25): With the Dublin Marathon scheduled for Monday, October 31st, the IR staff consults with Coach Brendan O'Shea and presents five 16-week training plans for those intending on successfully completing 26.2. Schedules range from seasoned vets searching for sub 3-hour finish to those seeking to walk/jog it out in 5:30-8:00. As the NYC Marathon takes place a week later, I could theoretically apply this schedule now and possibly take one a marathon by early next year.

Irish Models, Jenny Lee Masterson & Michelle McGrath for the National Lotto
"Running Science" (pages 28-29): Five short pieces discussing the scientific side of running ranging from physiological to psychological, but explaining them relatively simple terms. Since taking up running, I have struggled to find articles which explain physiological limitations, recovery strategies, and injury prevention in layman's terminology (or explains all the fancy science-y words). Also, the piece on Usain Bolt reminded me that I need to write a piece about when I interpreted for the Jamaican National Track & Field Team in 2007.

"Discovering the Write Stuff" (page 46) by Ian O'Riordan: A personal story of how the sports writer developed his voice and love for the sport by following his father's footsteps. As the magazine is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, he reflects on how sports writing has involved in Ireland and how IR impacted his writing career. Best line from the article "There's no blood thicker than ink." I think I need to post that somewhere.

"Florida Pearl" (59-59; 61) by Malcolm McCausland: Irish Paralympic Athete, Jason Smyth, is currently training for his next set of medals in the sprinting category in Clermont, Florida. He's running alongside American Olympians such as Tyson Gay, one of the fastest men in the world, but holding his own. One of my former colleagues, Ness, was a Paralympic athlete, so reading Smyth's story reminded me of the magnitude of the human spirit. The article also touches upon Stargardt's Disease, the vision limiting disability which Smyth continues to triumph over to bring home gold for the Irish.

"The Next Generation" (pages 62-67): Covergirl, Amy O'Donoghue, is one of the twenty-two rising stars of Irish Track and Field. The article boasts the students' personal bests, events, athletic clubs affiliations, and even their secondary school designations. The photographs showcase their determination and celebration. Ireland's T&F future is shining pretty, darn bright.

Best Novelty Race Advert: World Championship 5K Dracula Cloak Race benefiting a research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the heritage of Bram Stoker.  
  • Tag Line: "On the day Clontarf skyline will be raining vampires-- so watch your jugular!!!"
  • Mandatory Apparel: "Everyone taking part must wear a cloak!" (Dude, a race with racing cloak wind?!)
I sincerely hope that Irish Runner develops their site, so I may follow the trends from the US. As I had a difficult time finding the magazine in Ireland, I am certain I will not be able to find it outside of Ireland (without paying through the nose for it).


  1. The single page advert was really cute. One photo had a lady in a proper running kit but with this miniature cape flapping in the wind.