<img src="http://goodcowebprojects.com/aspire/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/93430313_10158341459768851_2526347433349218304_o.jpg" alt="National u18 - probably 2000. Paddy White, Alan McCormack, James McFlynn , John Eves, Peter Dalton, Craig Longmore" />
National u18 – probably 2000. Paddy White, Alan McCormack, James McFlynn , John Eves, Peter Dalton, Craig Longmore
Today we hear from John Eves, one of our most experienced senior distance athletes, John lives in the UK but never misses a chance to return home to race in the DSD colours:
1. When and why did you join DSD AC?
April 1997 during my Easter holidays in 2nd year of school. We had a rugby coach at Gonzaga, Fr Jim Moran, he had coached Ollie Campbell back in the day and he recommended some of the lads in my year go train with Eddie McDonagh at DSD. It was one of those woeful situations where I wasn’t picked out at school to go train with the club – I think this was just because Fr Jim wanted the sprinters to work on their speed over the summer and I wasn’t in the school relay team.
Anyway I grilled the lads who went to the club on where and when the sessions were and milled out to Belfield one Wednesday at 5pm on my bike, weighed down by the sizeable chip on my shoulder. I had done some training myself for the schools cross country (race distance 3k, so I ran 3k as hard as I could 3 times a week for a month. If I didn’t break my pb it was a complete disaster). Think Eddie set us off on 4×300 and 4×200. Next morning 3 miles in Marlay – standard baptism of fire with the options being keep up or get lost.
2. What was your best event and what event did you like best
Cross country is my best event for sure. I absolutely love the full season of cross country over here in England. Pre-Christmas when the going underfoot is good it suits some guys and not others, some carrying form from the summer, others back from breaks. Then you get the big fuss over making the Euros and, then the weather deteriorates, the courses get longer and everything builds towards the National in February. You either perform when it matters or you have a year (or perhaps a lifetime) to stew over it. I really hope the cross country scene gets a revamp at home. That all said, it is hard to beat running a fast 1500m – see number 5 below.
3. What is your favourite training workout?
Give me a boggy, hilly field with long grinding reps in the depths of winter and I am happy out. If you can sprinkle in some naiive youngsters with too much speed for their own good who go out too hard on the first rep even better. Something like 12 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 12 minutes off 2-3 minutes recovery, each rep finishing with a kick off the top of a hill. Building character as much as physiological endurance.
4. And your least favourite?
The exact oppostie. Speed on the track in the height of summer where the naiive youngsters are now dickhead youngsters still with too much speed for their own good. I was once one of these.
5. What is your most cherished or proudest moment in your athletics career?
Very tough one. I have one Irish singlet to my name, which is only a development team but it means the world to me. Getting a national senior team gold with Joe and Al in 2015 was special as it’s my only one and completed the circle as we had done it as juniors as well.
I think my all time number one is the evening I ran my 1500 pb of 352 at an IMC in Ringsend in June 2006.I remember so much about that day. McGrath texting me in the afternoon “sub 355 or bust”. Me thinking, no chance. An overcast, humid day. Getting a poor start and being buried at the back coming through in 64 and it feeling quick (not a good sign). Running a 62 on the next lap, still buried but now the pace not feeling so quick (a good sign). The last lap, charging through the field, experiencing all the cliches of it feeling so easy, almost like I was watching myself run etc, gunning it up the home stretch and just missing out on 3rd in a dip. And then the euphoria after finishing the race. Puking for a good while. Calling McGrath after and just saying “352…352”. I will probably chase that ghost for the rest of my life.
6. What is your most loved athletics sporting moment of all time ?
I was lucky enough to be in the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to see Bolt win the 100m in 2008. Proper spine tingling moment. Likewise a year later being in Berlin roaring at Gillo in the World Champs final was bonkers and incredible. Watching Sonia win a silver in Sydney on a portable TV in a Leaving Cert Ancient Greek class was pretty special too!
7. What is/was your favourite race / athletics meet to take part in?
English National Cross Country. Epic courses. Epic racing. Epic numbers competing and competing hard – 6 to score, every place counts! The silence on the start line with 2000 others waiting for the gun to fire and your heart thumping out of your chest is a real moment of being truly alive. Horrendous at the time all the same.
8. What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it?
I completely screwed myself running the Dublin Marathon in 2009. Then took a whole 6 days off after so continued to screw myself and dig into overtraining, constant fatigue, illness, everything…took me until 2013 to start to run well again. To get over that one took me pretty much giving up on trying to run fast ever again. The harder I tried to make things happen the worse I did. So after a few pints too many at a mates’ weddding I resolved to just try to enjoy running and training for it’s own sake. Little by little things came back together again.
9. What do/did you eat before a race and how long before did/do you eat?
No superstitions on this, just follow standard rule of eat anything and lots of it the evening before. A coffee 2-3 hours before a race is a nice ritual but can’t always be done. Generally a big breakfast and nothing else if racing in the afternoon. Late night races in Watford or Belgium best not to overthink things, have a sandwich 4-5 hours before and nibble away on some jelly babies. Blast some techno or heavy metal to get the blood going if needs be.
10. If you could have dinner with 3 sporting personalities past or present who would you pick
Emil Zatopek – infinite chat about training, racing and life!
Iron Man Mick Murphy – champion cyclist from the 50s who also moonlighted as a fire eater. What’s not to like? Him and Zatopek similar era so should get on well.
Hmmm third guest…since those Italia 90 documentaries aired a few weeks ago I’ve been thinking a lot about that World Cup. I was 7 it was the first big sporting event I properly engaged with. Think I have to go with John Aldridge. I was a big Liverpool fan too so he’d tick a lot of boxes. If Aldo was busy I’d take Cascarino.
11. What is your next running / athletics goal?
Assuming I get the chance this summer sub 1420 5k, sub 30 10k and then crack the marathon in Dublin in October, be in the mix for the national medals.
12. How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times?
See 11. I have had no issues with motivation. Training has been so important for this period to provide a purpose for each day and something to structure the day around. 13. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete?
I’ll just dust off my soapbox here:
If you think you’re good, it’s only because you’re a big fish in a tiny puddle. Every single year dozens of kids win medals in the age group championships. You win your age group or even set an age group record, great, but remember in a few years when you’re senior, you’re up against all the kids who won their age groups, all those who were in the sport but didn’t train and those who were never even in the sport when they were kids. So prioritise learning how to race as a junior over actually winning races. If you won your last race by sitting and kicking, see how you do in the next race running from the front, or throwing a surge in at halfway. Get one of your mates to take the pace out hard and see if you can hang on. Wait til 50 to go to kick. Kick at 500 to go. Try everything. Build up a bank of experience, take the pressure off yourself and when you get to senior you are already ahead of loads of guys.
Also once you get past puberty, remember you can’t run a pb every race you run. In fact, the better you get the harder those pbs are to break. Also you can’t run well every time you race. It is impossible. So recognise and learn how to run “good” races even if you don’t run a pb and how to make the best of a bad situation. Go into every race knowing what a “good” result is, one you can build off. Work towards that in the race and crack on from there.
14. Do you have any memorable or funny story from DSD that you could share?
I took a year out before going to university to try make the junior team for the World Cross. In hindsight, a mistake. I was too young and immature to handle training full time and overtrained. Anyway having tried to plan everything meticulously we head out to ALSAA in Eddie’s van. Ed has pulled his classic trick flashing the badge at the toll bridge “90-D…” probably about 10 of us in the back wedged in between javelins and tracksuits. All nervous chat and excitement. We then notice the air in the back of the van turning rather opaque and it getting quite hard to breathe…perfect preparation for a National cross country! Van chugs to a stop and we pile out the back coughing and heaving in our newly minted DSD tracksuits. No one had a mobile phone so I am not sure how but we did all make it to ALSAA. I think others driving out just pulled over and picked us up. Anyway driving home that evening we passed the scene of the crime and the van was gone, never to be seen again. Eddie turned up in new van the next week. The show went on.
That was also the day of the Duel in the Mud between Matthews and Power. That should have got a mention in question 6. What a race!
15. Can you share an old picture from your running days
This picture is from a National u18 I think. Probably 2000. Paddy White (won Irish Schools 5k, lives in Australia now, incredible knowledge of the life and times of Andy Sinton) , Alan McCormack (national cross country champ 2008, hugely underrated 800m runner in the late 90s juvenile scene), James McFlynn (canvasser for Sinn Fein before it was cool), me, Peter Dalton (coaches at a college in the States now I believe, once crashed a moped in Malta on a training camp), Craig Longmore (a riddle wrapped in an enigma if ever there was one).