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Paul O’Donnell – the Virtual Interview

As a club we are operating during unprecedented times. We thought a good way to stay connected would be through stories from past and present members! We have done a series of Virtual Interviews to share with you all over the coming weeks First up we have Senior endurance athlete Paul O’Donnell
<img src="" alt="93136931_10157407957855292_156250317522993152_n.jpg" /> When and why did you join DSD AC? I joined DSD in 2015, after running Marlay Parkrun and schools races for a few years. Paddy McGabhann was on to me every day in school to go training, and eventually I decided to go. I was playing football at the time and had no intention of quitting but after a few months of training twice a week with the group, I decided to give up the football and concentrate on running. What was your best event and what event did you like best? My favorite event is cross country and is probably my best event as well. I love the lack of tactics. You just have to go out hard and hang on. You finish knowing you’ve given everything and if you get beat you know you were beaten by the better man on the day. What is your favourite training workout? Any progression run or long reps. Favorite session I ever did was a 1k,2k,3k,2k,1k on the track with Rob. Went on forever but we were both flying at the time and felt really good. And your least favourite? Probably 800m reps. They’re faster than race pace and seem to go on forever. Doesn’t suit my little legs☹️ What is your most cherished or proudest moment in your athletics career? Getting the European U23 steeplechase standard on the last day. I had given up hope of getting the time. I was meant to be flying to Manchester that day with the rest of the training group to watch a BMC that some of the group were racing in. I was convinced last minute to go down to Cork and give it one more shot, with the race taking place during the selection meeting. Thankfully I got the standard. Usually when I ring Donal it’s with bad news, so it was nice to be able to ring him this time and tell him I’d done it. What is your most loved athletics sporting moment of all time ? Being in the Olympic stadium in Berlin when Tom Barr won the bronze medal. Being quite new to athletics, I haven’t seen many Irish athletes medal on an international stage. So to be in the stadium when Tom came third was a great moment. What is/was your favourite race / athletics meet to take part in? European Cross country in Tilburg 2018. I was my first major international. There was such a buzz around the team houses and the course. The support from the Irish on race day was unbelievable as well. It was also nice to have a somewhat decent run for once What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Back strain. Still working through it but it’s a lot better now than it was. Hopefully a lot of Strength and conditioning will sort it out soon🤞 What do/did you eat before a race and how long before did/do you eat? Something light about 2 hours before the race. Usually a ham sandwich and a banana If you could have dinner with 3 sporting personalities past or present who would you pick ? Ronnie O’Sullivan, Eliud Kipchoge & Jimmy Bullard What is your next running / athletics goal? If national seniors goes ahead this summer I’d like to target the 5k. I’ve come 6th the last two years so hopefully I can improve on that this year. How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I know Donal is watching my Strava so I don’t want to get in trouble 🧐 What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Just take your time and don’t worry too much about results for the first few years. Get the training done and the results will eventually come. For one reason or another I never quite performed as a junior but it’s starting to come together now. All the training stands to you and makes you stronger in the long run. Do you have any memorable or funny story from DSD that you could share? A few of us were flying back from a race in Manchester last June. We flew in and out the same day. In the taxi on the way to the airport, Paddy was having some trouble checking in for his flight. It wasn’t until we got to the gate that I realized he had booked his return flight for July instead of June. He had to fork out an extortionate amount to get a last minute ticket for the plane home. Can you share an old picture from your running days First ever race for DSD in the U18 Dublin Championship in Phoenix Park/
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