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Peter Mathews- the Virtual Interview

Our next guest is synonymous with hard work, guts and Mud ! He is a legend in Irish distance running circles and famed for his edge of the seat battles with an equally tough Seamus Power back in the day. Today we hear from Peter Mathews:

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1. When and why did you join DSD AC?

1991 – I think most people have probably heard this story before but when I was out around streets in Ballinteer Eddie MCDonagh spotted me and more or less hounded me until I agreed to join the club.

2. What was your best event and what event did you like best

Cross Country/ but I enjoyed track races a lot more from 1500k to 10000k

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3. What is your favourite training workout?

5 X 8 min hard 2 mins recovery preferably on the hills in Marlay park

4. And your least favourite?

It would have been a track session that myself, Noel Berkeley and Seamus Power did when we were in Kenya – training for the 10k – the sessions consisted of a 4K effort followed by another 4K effort followed by a 2k effort – split up as follows; start with 400 m hard straight into 400m steady then 300m same followed by 200m same followed by 100m same, then you would start straight back to 400m and go down the ladder again, that would give you your first 4K, take a lap jog, and repeat another 4K as above, take another lap jog and then do the same for 2k, this session was great for changing pace in the middle of a 10k race but the toughest session I’ve ever done!

5. What is your most cherished or proudest moment in your athletics career?

2010 when I won the British and Irish Masters at home in front of my family and the home crowd, I’ve run in European and World Cross Country Championships but this was better as I ran for Ireland and won at home

6. What is your most loved athletics sporting moment of all time ?

It was the 10k in the 2000 Olympics between Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat it was a brilliant race between 2 of the best distance runners of their generation, they matched each other stride for stride all through the race and on an amazing last lap the lead changed hands several times as both men fought hard for the gold medal which Gebrselassie took on the last stride.

7. What is/was your favourite race / athletics meet to take part in?

The European Cross Country Championships in Malmo in 2000, it brings back great memories as as a team we managed to bring back the bronze medal

8. What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it?

The injury that kept me out for the longest was Osteitis Pubis, it got so bad that if I was to cough I had to bend down double because of the pain down into the groin and up into the stomach – it’s an inflammation of the pubic bone mainly due to weak core muscles, it took me about a year to get pain free, I had to go on a course on anti-inflammatories in conjunction with core strength exercises, which I do to this day.

9. What do/did you eat before a race and how long before did/do you eat?

It would depend on the time the race was on at, some would be morning or early afternoon, in this case I would have breakfast which would consist of porridge made with milk, about 3/4 hours before the race, if the race was going to be abroad I would eat whatever was on offer in the hotel and not be too fussy, just control what you can control, if it was an evening race I would have breakfast as normal, a lighter lunch then race!

10. If you could have dinner with 3 sporting personalities past or present who would you pick

Jurgen Klopp, Muhammad Ali and Paul Tergat

11. What is your next running / athletics goal?

just to go out to Marlay park and enjoy my run

12. How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times?

Thank god I’m working away doing my classes online and getting to run in Marlay Park whenever I can

13. What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete?

At 16/17 I had never even thought that I would be a runner, it just wasn’t on my radar, I started running when I was 18 and loved it, I never thought about running competitively, and never thought I would be that competitive anyway! But once I got into it I really enjoyed the competitive side of it, things were quite easy for me at first but then injuries started to hit, and that was my first real test as an athlete, but I persevered and found a way back, so my advice to aspiring athletes is and I know this sounds like a cliche, but never give up, even when things seem hopeless, keep looking for the way back because if you really want it, you’ll get there!

14. Do you have any memorable or funny story from DSD that you could share?

It was my second time racing the Dublin Cross Country Championships, myself and Gerry McGrath were battling it out with 2 Clonliffe lads and a few others, we were in the last lap, I was feeling good, and was going to make a move, Gerry in his wisdom feeling I was a novice told me to hold my fire, so I took the senior mans advise and got out sprinted coming up the straight to finish 4th, i knew from that day on NEVER to listen to Gerry McGrath!

15. Can you share an old picture from your running days

This is one of my favourite pictures, the national Cross Country Championships 2002. Myself and Seamus Power had a great battle that I managed to win in a very very tight contest



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