Sheila Clavin - The reluctant runner

Karen Raine


Karen Raine


Sheila Clavin - The reluctant runner

Sheila Clavin (left) and Dympna Kelly competing for Ireland at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland

“Rowing was always my first love as a sport but when I moved to Limerick I found it wasn’t always possible to get out rowing on the river Shannon with it’s tidal waters and bad weather” the words of Sheila Clavin who this week spoke to Karen Raine.

“Therefore I started running and cycling to complement my rowing training. I really loved cycling, particularly Time Trial races and competed a few times at international level”

Like us all, it was not easy to 'start' running, but persistence is key.

“I wasn’t that keen on running back then but I persevered as relatively short training sessions had such a high impact on aerobic fitness and it was so accessible.

“I ran for fitness and fun for a few years alone and with friends. But I happened to enter an Open XC event in Newcastle West and was approached by one of the West Limerick AC coaches afterwards and asked if I would be interested in joining.

“I met a few of the girls in the club and they were great craic and so welcoming so I did join and have been a member now for 5 years.”

From that cross country, things would 'grow legs' for the former Irish international rower.

“I have competed in lots of different types of races with West Limerick AC from cross country, road races, relays, hill running and ultra marathons, there really is a distance and discipline for everyone.

“It’s great being part of a club, everyone encourages and helps each other out. It doesn’t matter if your finishing the race in first or last place, there’s always a friendly face and a bit of banter within the group.”

Juggling training with work was always an issue for Sheila, as rowing is such a time heavy and surrounding specific sport.

The switch to running has helped on that front and made for a better return from specific training.

“Being time poor with work and family commitments I find now that running has largely replaced rowing and cycling. I try to get out for a run most days and make a special effort to get to my local parkrun on Saturday mornings where I can usually be found pushing a buggy with my best supporter on board.

“Rowing will always make my heart sing but for now this once reluctant runner is happy to keep ticking over doing my few miles and there is no better way to stay in shape, clear your mind and catch up with friends than hitting the roads and running.”

Wise words indeed from a multi sport athlete who like most of us, in these weird times, gave running a go.