Search our Archive


Mooreabbey Milers: Behind The Scenes Where Magic Happens

Mooreabbey Milers: Behind The Scenes Where Magic Happens

OVER the past 15 weeks since Covid 19 rudely interrupted our packed running schedule I've looked at our international stars, our runners, our first races, how we run, how to look after ourselves and even the stars of the future so now I think it's time to give homage to magicians that make it all happen behind the scenes.

As you all know events take time to organise, any funding has to be applied for and there is always red tape to be sorted but there is a select few that are always chipping away at it behind the scenes.

With all that said this week I have put the spot light on our reigning chairperson Patricia Ryan. Firstly Patricia the club have been through exceptional times in recent months due to the current climate situation can you tell me can you tell me how the club has adapted?

Our generation have never experienced a time like this when our country was put into lockdown due to a pandemic. Athletics Ireland, in accordance with HSE and government restrictions, banned club activities and suspended permits for races. Initially exercise was restricted to within 2k from home and then up to 5k.

For a club that was used to meeting and training together twice a week, doing a trail run on a Wednesday night together and then groups meeting up for a long run at the weekend or travelling to a race together, these restrictions were a shock to the system to say the least.

We had to adjust to running alone or with our husbands or wives or even our children cycling with us which was lovely. For myself I couldn't enjoy the trails as usual because they lay outside of my exercise radius so the roads had to do and I actually grew to tolerate it!

Personally I have to say that I enjoyed taking a step back and having evenings to myself instead of tearing off to kid's matches, training, races and meeting etc. The weather was amazing and I could keep an eye on how others were doing by looking at the likes of Strava and social media. Lynda, you yourself kept us all up to date on who ran what virtual race for which charity such as the Garden 10k for Feed the Heros.

All our members really missed training, not just for the speed sessions or the motivation of regular, scheduled meetings but the social aspect was a big loss. As the country began to reopen, our committee discussed resuming training, via Zoom meetings. Liam O'Donnell volunteered to take up the important role of Covid Safety Officer.

We put a plan in place and put it before our members. The club has been back training for a few weeks now. With huge demand for training spots everyone is required to pre book a place before each session and for contact tracing.

Everyone attending have been very compliant with adhering to social distancing etc. and are all giving their best effort and getting great results. The club are delighted to have welcomed some members to the team recently also.

During the lockdown people seemed to be out and about more, walking, cycling and running, some for the first time and we all appreciated the outdoors and realise how lucky we are to live in the country in a beautiful area. Over the years the club has grown from strength to strength under the guidance of a great chairperson and committee.

Can you tell a little about your current background team, who they are and a little on what they do? Mooreabbey Milers AC have always had a strong team on the committee since the club was formed. I have had the honour of serving as chairperson for the last two years and am blessed with the support that I get from the committee members around me.

Our secretary is calmness personified, Kevin Lenihan brings a relaxed air of calmness to the table during meetings which is needed at times. The money man is John Hayes who runs an efficient and tight ship when it comes to the club's finances.

Our PRO extraordinaire is Lynda Hynes O'Donoghue. Lynda continues to impress with her weekly newspaper and social media reports, keeping our club news in the public eye. Stuart Moloney is the Development Officer and he brings fresh new ideas to the table and encourages members to get the very best out of their training and themselves.

The energetic Marie O'Shea is the Registrar and Communications Officer. She keeps us all up to speed on club goings on and has the task of registering new and existing members.

As mentioned above Liam O'Donnell is the current Covid Safety Officer but also keeps us looking well and kitted out as he is the club's Kit Officer. Jane Griffin is known far and wide for capturing runners up hills, on trails, roads and tracks. She is our ever reliable club photographer.

Juliette McSweeney is the Children's Officer. This is a very important role and Juliette keeps us informed about courses and requirements. Damien Holian serves as our Funding Officer. He has played a pivotal role in securing funding for the new lighting and walkway development in the community field where we train.

Tricha Blackburn holds an Ordinary Member role on the committee. She is really enthusiastic about the betterment of the club and she organises races such as the Cahir Half Marathon and the Curley 4 Mile race. Tricha trains beginners who wish to join the club and she has a great way about her.

Last but not least is the unanimously elected Honorary President Tom Blackburn. Tom is a really valuable person on the committee and is the backbone of the club. Each and every committee member brings their own talents, ideas and valued views to the table and their involvement is what continues to drive the success of Mooreabbey Milers AC forward.

Finally I would like to conclude by telling you about the boss herself Patricia Ryan. Patricia is an active and prominent member of Mooreabbey Milers. A natural born leader who leads by example she has a calming demeanour and a good will nature to all. Patricia has enhanced the lives of many of her fellow athletes. 

Tom Talks 'Coaching' 

THIS week Tom talks a little on coaching, what use is it? Is it worthwhile? And what should you look for in a coach.
No matter what you do it is better to get some advice on how to do the best you can. You can’t know everything, but knowledge is key.

If you look at county teams and who manages them their systems differ and sometimes we get a manager who brings something new and turns that sport inside out. It’s the same with running, there are good ones and not so good ones, but they will all have their own ideas and some work and some may not. But what programme will work for you.

Some people spend a lot of money on programmes and advice, there is no system which will works for everyone. The best programme is the one you commit to and but all the advice and coaching is worth nothing if you don’t do the work. Beyond that the thing which can scupper you is overdoing it.

If you pay a coach for advice or if you go online and get a generic program, it is your level of involvement and what you want out of it that matters. Know what you want and then it is easier to plan for it. Be realistic, know your limits and know when to quit.

That’s what makes training easier and worthwhile. Looking for a Coach is only as difficult as you make it. If you are a beginner and want to do a couch to 5 k, I would say, go to your local club as usually they will have a programme. Most of these start in the new year as this is the time where most people make their mind up to get fit.

If you are running with a club and want to run a faster 5k or 10k, just to see what you can get your time down to again talk to your club coach and see what he or she can suggest. If you are more serious and feel you should be up with the best runners, then look at your best times and find a coach you would consider to be able to get you there.

If you get a programme from them work hard follow the programme do your best to complete it. If you don’t give the programme and the coach the respect that they deserve, and you don’t follow the programme to the finish then the coach will not know how effective his advice to you was and your money will be gone your time wasted and the coaches too.

So many people want to run a marathon, I have met people who were only running a few weeks and they wanted advice on what they have to do to run a Marathon. My advice is simple you need to be running for at least 2 or 3 years before considering running that kind of distance.

The Marathon isn’t where you start it is where you finish. So many people start training for a marathon and end up injured. You need to be strong and well balanced as an athlete to run 26 miles that takes time and a lot of work.

The amount of people who start off training for marathons each year. The amount of people who enter marathons each year and the amount of people who end up in bits trying to finish a marathon is scary. But the real disaster is the amount of people who end up in hospital because they didn’t have enough work done or pushed themselves too much.

But the real tragedy is the people who will die of a heart attack or stroke and all because they haven’t the time to train properly or take the good advice from there coach or club members.               

New Members 

A very warm welcome to new club members Siobhan Kinnane, Kevin Dillon, Anne Barry, Jane Hedigan and Niki O'Donnell. A small club with big hearts, we hope we will become your second family. 


We are currently back at training on Tuesday and Thursday nights between 7 and 8 pm for adults only. Our set up has a new framework that we have to incorporate into our training schedule. 

After carrying out our meticulous risk assessment our plan going forward now involves having 3 coaches available each Tuesday and Thursday night with pre booking essential.

Should you have interest in joining us at our training sessions please message us via our social media page Mooreabbey Milers AC on facebook and we will point your running shoes in the right direction.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.