Today we hear from board member Gerry Dunne – one of the hardest workers behind the scenes the club is lucky to have.
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1. When and why did you join DSD AC?
I joined South Dublin A.C. in September 1980. I had been running for Dunleer A.C. in County Louth as I was in school up that direction. Dunleer was in the NACA which was one of the Athletics organisations at the time. To have a chance of running internationally, you had to be in the other one known as the BLE, which South Dublin was. One of the great characters in athletics, Lar O’Byrne of Cloniffe Harriers, encouraged me to join a BLE club – he probably meant Clonliffe but as my older brother Brian, and a number of others from my school, was in South Dublin, that was the club I joined and have been a member of ever since.
2. What was your best event and what event did you like best
Cross country was probably both my best event and also my favourite, but the glamour was always on the track and whereas 1500m was probably my best, I always loved the lesser run 3000m. All of that said, my best times were arguably on the road.
3. What is your favourite training workout?
Not sure about the word ‘ is ‘ but speed work on the track was my favourite – any session
4. And your least favourite?
Running long distances on my own, especially if not too fit, was and is my least favourite.
5. What is your most cherished or proudest moment in your athletics career?
My one Senior International cap – 19/12/87 in Cardiff – televised International Cross Country with some of the top runners of the time, in particular from Kenya and Britain (I wasn’t in their league ) – Irish team captained by our own great Dave Taylor. I came 34th out of about 70 so respectable but made even better when the TV coverage showed the official results with Gerry Dunne Ireland in 6th place. I could but smile and still have it recorded.
6. What is your most loved athletics sporting moment of all time ?
John Treacy coming 2nd in 1984 Olympic Marathon with Jerry Kiernan 9th and Jimmy Magee’s amazing commentary, especially in the home straight.
7. What is/was your favourite race / athletics meet to take part in?
There was something about the Cork City Sports in the Mardyke that was hard to beat, on the odd occasion I was there. It was not easy to get into it as they always had high quality fields, especially in the middle distance events. Otherwise, the National Senior Cross Country every year was an amazingly competitive event, especially when DSD had some great teams in contention for the Team Title, which we won quite a number of times.
8. What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it?
Achilles Tendon in two successive seasons, out for 6 months both times. Initially, the worst cure for any athlete – total rest !!!!! Eventually, I had orthotics made by my then physio Mary McGuinness (great 800m runner and club athlete ) and apart from them breaking once in over 30 years I have been wearing them every time I run since.
9. What do/did you eat before a race and how long before did/do you eat?
When I was competitive, I ate 3 hours before a race and always something plain, like brown bread and water or maybe tea. I recall a guy in school eating sardines shortly before a race and have never seen anyone more sick in the middle of that race. Never take that chance !
10. If you could have dinner with 3 sporting personalities past or present who would you pick
Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi and Martina Navratilova
11. What is your next running / athletics goal?
Tokyo 2020 has been put back so I think I’ll give it a miss next year and just try to stay fit and healthy, with the odd race here and there to make me still think I’m an athlete. Seriously, aim is to enjoy and if that includes a few races, then great.
12. How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times?
It’s not difficult when it is what keeps you sane. Hardest part is the lack of cameraderie before, during and after training. Once you are out on your run, you know you were right not to give in to those thoughts of not bothering.
13. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete?
Really important to enjoy your training and your races, listen to your coaches and club mates, never get above your station and when you are going well, treasure it.
14.Do you have any memorable or funny story from DSD that you could share?
Went to a committee meeting in 1987 and was heading for the bus to try to get home when a fellow club/committee member offered me a lift home. Little did I know she had ulterior motives. We married in 1992. That Linda one !!
15. Can you share an old picture from your running days Below is evidence of Gerry’s fine form – leading out a field including Gerry McGrath.
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