CARL O'CALLAGHAN - THE INTERVIEW

Q. On your profile it says that you first got in to running in 2010, what made you start?

A. Originally I started in 2010 after booking the Manchester 10K on New Year’s Day!  The date of booking tells you enough.  Joined RRR in Oct 2014, which is when I would say I really started in anger. The biggest driver being to get fit & lose some weight, both I have now achieved but really enjoy running.

Q. I think your profile might be a little out of date - what is currently your proudest achievement from your running?

A. This would have to be completing the London Marathon (my first ever) in 2016 in a time of 3:30.  Loved the race from start to finish, hence I will be doing it again in 2017 with an improved target.


Q. As you know I have finally signed up to run a marathon. What is your number one tip for anyone who is taking this step up in distance?

A. I can't take credit for this tip but it is one that stuck with me.  You run the marathon in the 3 months training beforehand; stick to the training & the day will look after itself. The other tip is to slow down on the long runs; it is about time on your feet not pace.

Q. You walked away with the Group 3 Gold this year blowing the rest of us away; what do you put your superb improvement down to?

A.: My improvement surprised me but on reflection put it down to two things:

1: Marathon training over the winter

2: Cross country - as hard as it is, the strength & base fitness it gives you is fantastic.

Q. So tell us a bit about cross country & its appeal.

A. Appeal is an interesting word when you turn up to a park which as you get deeper in winter is more like a mud bath! In all seriousness, cross country racing is totally different from a road race. Whilst speed is always a factor, stamina is the key for cross country & this sets you up for the following road season.  On top of all of that, it is a good laugh & what else would you want to do on Saturday afternoon?

 

Q. Apart from running London Marathon again, do you have any other running ambitions?

A. Improving times across all distances is always an ambition, beating the previous years’ time in any race is always good. If I could pick a couple, as close to 40mins for 10K as possible & 1:30 for a half marathon.

Q. What is it about Royton Road Runners that keeps you with us?

A: The support at training & races is the big differentiator that is visible to anybody who is a member at Royton & to members of other clubs who witness the support & comment about it. It would be remiss of me not the mention the legendary away trips which make the social side of the club as much of a positive as anything else. 
 

Q. If someone was looking for a club to join what would you say to convince them that it's a good idea?

A. Most people start running alone & often with a set of earphones plugged in! This is in fact how I started in 2010 with an ambition then to run 10K in 50mins, I got within 2mins of this on 3 attempts in 3 consecutive years. Having got fed up with not progressing I took the plunge & came to RRR. I quickly found running with others gives you that bit you are missing & drives you to another level - 6 months after joining, I ran 10K in 47mins. The support & advice in training & races makes all the difference, I have never looked back.

 

Q. Your lovely wife Jenny is also a member of the club, tell us a bit about her running?

A. Jenny has been massively supportive of me especially when I was marathon training. Her achievements have been incredible; she did Run England 2 years ago & was going really well. Unfortunately she got ankle ligament damage at the end of 2015 & only returned in Feb 2016. She then went on to run her first half (at Oldham of all places) & then win her group at Derwent on the last race of season - that is a great story & inspiration to everybody!

 

Q. You say on your profile that Michael Johnson is your sporting hero; can you explain why?

A. The gold medals he collected at the 1996 Olympics for 200m & 400m, breaking both world records, are well documented. The underwritten part of this story shows great persistence & resilience as he had to pull out of both the 1988 & 1992 Olympics due to injury & illness respectively. If at first you don't succeed, try & try again!

Interview conducted by Garry Bower