Tri Talking Sport and Run Ireland brought their hugely successful Mind Over Miles event to Dublin last week, presenting an evening of inspiration and motivation to a full house of 180 people in the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley.
After kicking off proceedings, Kevin Thornton was the first of the guests to be interviewed by host Joanne Murphy. Kevin, Ireland’s fastest middle distance triathlete, gave us an insight ino his life as a profesional triathlete in Ireland and his rise to success in the sport whilst balancing his work commitments. He spoke openly about his race strategy for IM 70.3 Dublin and how he adjusted his strategy on the day to overcome a puncture when leading the race that saw him finish third in the International event. He offered insight and advice for newbie triathletes on how they can immerse themselves in the sport through the support of a club.
Eimear Mullan and Ritchie Nicholls added a sense of fun and entertainment to the lineup. The couple are due to get married later this month and talked about their training and living schedules and how they were enjoying training in Ireland under the watchful eye of Eanna McGrath at Base to Race.
Eimear, Ireland’s fastest long distance female athlete, is one of only 50 women in the world to go sub 9 hours at IRONMAN, a feat she accomplished at IRONMAN Barcelona in 2015 after a less than ideal season of racing, plagued by injury and a disastrous race at IRONMAN Mallorca the previous week. She has her sights set on returning to full fitness and strength, working off her injuries to aim for podiums at her targeted 2016 events.
Ritchie returns to racing in 2016, his sights set firmly on training and racing well this year. The Scottish athlete was IRONMAN 70.3 European Champion in 2013 and is focusing his efforts this year to return to podiums across Europe. Ritchie spoke about the sense of camaraderie and friendship formed while training with the team at Base to Race and how it was quite different to previous team approaches and set ups.
The audience Q&A saw Kevin join Ritchie and Eimear on stage along with teammate and elite triathlete Susanna Murphy who spoke about her journey to triathlon following a succesful time as an elite swimmer. Susanna took up the sport of triathlon in 2014 and, following a beakththough year in 2015 on the Irish and International scene she is one to watch for 2016 as she aims for ITU racing on a worldwide stage.
Next up was Beth McCluskey, the current National Cyclocross Champion, who wowed the crowd with her humble and sincere approach to the conversation surrounding her return to sport following a dreadful head-on collision with a car in the Alps in 2014. The former international track and field runner turned champion mountain biker spoke honestly and openly about how she committed herself to ‘not being in pain anymore’ as she worked her way through a tough 18 months of rehab and recovery that saw her take the National Championship title in her first year of racing in cyclocross.
Frank Greally was next to be interviewed; he regaled the audience with an insight into his life journey in sport, from his time as a runner in Ireland and the US to his 35 years at the helm of Irish Runner and his return to running in 2015 to celebrate his 45 year old 10,000 metre track record, all of which is documented in his new book, Running Full Circle. He spoke about what had spurred him to return to running last year, as well as his plans to return to Santry for another event in 2016. He also told us that, as athletes, we are not working hard enough or doing enough tough sessions in training, and this is part of the reason we are not producing faster runners at elite and amateur level.
Ray O’Connor, in his witty and engaging manner, had the crowd laughing in their seats as he told tales of failure on his road to success so that his errors wouldn’t be repeated by us in our endeavours. His story of his Connemeara 100 mile completion, a race he himself organises, showed us his emotional and deep passion for running and for success in sport even when everything, including your body, is screaming out for rest. The owner of Run Ireland and chairman of Marathon Club Ireland is planning a regular return to running in 2016, with the goal of completing his 150th marathon in 2017.
Gerry Duffy was the final guest on the night. His motivational presentation saw the audience stretch, move and think about what our goals are and how we should define and achieve them. The Mullingar native’s insightful presentation touched on many areas of goal-setting and practical advice on achieving goals in all areas of life. His journey in sport and his career as a speaker and author in the face of challenges and obstacles left the audience in no doubt that goals are achievable, his own story providing much inspiration and motivation for the fulfilment of our own goals.
The last part of the evening saw the final four speakers form a panel, with Beth McCluskey, Frank Greally, Ray O’Connor and Gerry Duffy on stage for a Q&A with the audience. The event was packed full of inspiration, motivation and a very honest insight into the lives of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their chosen sport, all delivered in an entertaining, engagaing and interesting style.