Name: Niall O’Callaghan
Years involved in Athletics: 22 with a long siesta in the middle….
Other sports participated in: Soccer, GAA in my younger years
1. What is your earliest running memory?
Racing Liam Reale and Mikey Costello (son of Willie) over in Croom on a grass track, a summer open race. Two tough cookies
2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Insatiable desire to see how far I can push my body, and how much it will take, and what that feels like. Believing that on any given day you can compete with your peers and suffer just for just that one millisecond more, and hang in there.
3. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment in athletics ?
Representing Ireland at underage level would have always stood out, but after a 10 year absence from all sport, picking up a pair of runners at 29 and running a 3 hour marathon 9 months later, that was pretty satisfying too I can tell you.
4. What do you currently /did you do in your training that are/were keys to your success?
Consistency of training and ensuring your working hard enough day on/day off was key. No point running easy pace 4/5 times a week, you might as well be watching Eastenders.
5. How many miles on average did you run per week?
Varied. Peak Marathon training up to 80, but more frequently 50-60 for Cross Country/Track
6. Do you prefer road racing, track or cross country?
I’d have to say championship Cross Country. Too much in the past few years road racing has become less competitive. At the start line you can pretty much predict where you’re going to finish, based on the field. Whereas with Cross Country, the field is stronger, with far more competition and you’re actually in a ‘race’ where tactics and guts matter as much as speed and stamina, not like a time trial at a local 10K. There aren’t half enough Track races to even consider this discipline, sadly.
7. Favourite race distance?
Tough one, I would probably say 5K, because it gives you enough time to react in race, but is still over relatively quickly! It requires huge amounts of speed, you’re in the ‘death zone’ for the majority of it, but also requires the stamina to survive. Nothing like a quarter of an hour of oxygen depravation and lactic acid build up to make you feel alive!