This year marks the 10th anniversary of Tralee Born to Run Marathon Club so to celebrate that important milestone a series of runners’ profiles will be published over the coming weeks. Our club is renowned for its welcome and success in turning people with no experience into fully-fledged runners and introducing them to the world of running. Through Born to Run, members have achieved personal goals and enjoyed countless happy lifetime memories, they’ve undertaken many fundraising events and ran all over the world. The profiles will highlight some of our runners who help bring pride to the famous orange jersey and celebrate the success of Tralee Born to Run over the past decade.


Name: Ann O’Shea
When did you start running? Sept 2013
Why did you take up running? To get fit
What running experience have you? All distances including 27 marathons, 40 milers, 60k, 100ks, 12 hr and 24 hr events
What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Doing the Rose of Tralee 10k with the club dressed up as roses and escorts, completing my first 100k in 2014, and doing the 60k around Central Park in New York
What is your favourite running event? Depends on the event and distance, they all have different things to love about them but the ones that stand out in my mind are the Tralee 100k and Listowel 24hr endurance run, they were like a day-long party with Born to Run and other runners.
Any running advice? Enjoy every run and learn from the runs that don’t go as planned, everyone has a run in them and respect the distances – one person’s 5k is another person’s marathon, everyone has their own reason for running.
Why do you think Born to Run is special? It’s a special club in that you meet people from all walks of life who have one common aim and that is to run and to support each other regardless of what their running ambitions are whether it’s 5k or 100miles and everything in between. The spirit is to leave nobody behind and that is evident in every run the club partakes in.
Who or what is your inspiration in running? It’s the chance to clear your head and just be there in that moment and time when you are running – think mediation while you are moving. And I guess what sticks in my mind is what my grandmother used to say to us when we were children that there is no such thing as “can’t” but try your best and see what happens, and I guess this is what motivates me
Outside of running, what are your other interests? Swimming, walking, triathlons, gardening, reading, crochet and knitting.

Name: Tony Ponti
When did you start running? July 2016
Why did you take up running? I was overweight and needed to get healthy.
What running experience have you? I have road and trail running experience up to half marathons.
What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? The Born to Run 40 Mile Relay in 2019 was great craic.
What is your favourite running event? Glenageenty
What future goals would you like to achieve in running? A marathon – Eventually!
Any running advice? You have good runs and bad runs, embrace them all.
Why do you think Born to Run is special? A sense of belonging. Lots of support and advice you receive from every friend. And most importantly a good laugh.
Who or what is your inspiration in running? My daughter
Outside of running, what are your other interests? Gaming and family
Most interesting fact about you? I used to play guitar in a band  


Name :  Liam Horan

When did you start running?: September 2012

 Why did you take up running?: I work for a charity called Novas, we provide services to homeless people and people at risk of homelessness. Ours was on of the local charities the Tralee International Marathon was supporting in their inaugural year. They asked that a couple of staff to volunteer to train for and take part in the race, so after much persuasion I gave in a decided to give it a go. It was meant to be one time thing but 8 years on I’m still running.

 What running experience have you?:  Well the plan to stop after one marathon didn’t work out and I’ve ran several marathons and ultra-marathons and all sort of other distances since then.  

 What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)?: Many great nights out and events part taken around the country with the Born to Run crew, but maybe the most memorable were the long runs training for our first marathons with huge crowds of us suffering and celebrating together at every new mile-stone of distance achieved.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running?: I’ve never competed in an event outside of Ireland, when we’re all allowed to travel again it’s something I’d like to do.

 Any running advice?: Enjoy it, but set goals and targets to keep yourself motivated and challenged.

 Why do you think Born to Run is special?: It’s a club where all are welcome no matter what level of fitness or ability you’re at. Everyone is supportive and helpful to each other and health, fitness and the enjoyment of running is more important than competing and wining.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – Kathleen Curtin

Name: Kathleen Curtin

When did you start running?: I started running on my 59th birthday in January 2017.

What running experience have you?: I have done 121 parkruns and 83 (not)parkruns to date. I try to run at least 3 to 4 evenings a week which would incorporate 1 x 10k, 1 x 8k, 1 x 5k and I have also listed to do the Dingle Half Marathon in September next year.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)?: My most memorable Born to Run moment was when I completed the BTR Couch-to-5k way back in 2018. The exhilaration I felt having ran my first 5k without having to walk was simply amazing and it was all thanks to BTR.

What is your favourite running event? : My most favourite running event is definitely parkrun. My second favourite running event would have to be the Rose of Tralee 10k.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running?: My future running goals are to continue my training every week, to avoid injury if possible, to always try to enjoy my runs, to get out and run no matter what the weather is like, to encourage more and more people to do a 5k at least once a week and to do the Dingle Half Marathon next year.

Any running advice?: My running advice would be to (1) get fitted for the correct running shoes (2) run at your own pace and do not focus on getting PBs (3) run with a buddy or buddies you are comfortable with and (4) most important, enjoy every run!

Why do you think Born to Run is special? : Born to Run is a special group of people who look out for each other, encourage each other, listen and support each other and who are very proud to wear the Orange and Black club colours.

Who or what is your inspiration in running?: My inspiration in running is definitely my daughter Claire who is a member of a running club in Cardiff. Without her encouragement, I would not have started running at all.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? : Outside of running, I love to swim in the sea with my brothers, all year round. We call ourselves the Banna Polar bears. My brothers have been swimming all year round for the past 20 years – I have only been able to join them since I retired in 2019. I have encouraged members of BTR to join us for a swim and some have taken up the offer. My mission is to get more BTR members winter swimming… this is the challenge!

Most interesting fact about you? : My most interesting fact is that I met and had lunch and dinner with Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, when he came to Tralee in 1997 for a weekend.



When did you start running?: I started running around three years ago. My friend, Carmel, followed on around a month after I joined Born to Run.

Why did you take up running?: A few friends of mine had joined Born to Run and they told me about the fun they were having as a group so I joined.

What running experience have you?: I had never run before I started with Born to Run. I have built up my experience with the support of the group and last year completed the Dublin City Marathon.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)?: Crossing the finish line of the Dublin City Marathon with my good friend Carmel and seeing our friends from Born to Run waiting for us at the finish line.

What is your favourite running event?: The Rose of Tralee 10k, there is always such a great atmosphere.

Any running advice?: Start slow, keep improving, make good friends along the way and every step will get you closer to the finish line.

Why do you think Born to Run is special?: It’s not just about the running, you get advice, support and no matter what your running capability, there will always be someone with you cheering you on.

Who or what is your inspiration in running?: Trying to keep up with Carmel.

Outside of running, what are your other interests?: I love the outdoors, I’m always out walking or gardening. I also enjoy baking for family and friends. And most importantly spending time with my beautiful grandchildren.

Most interesting fact about you?: I went from walking to 5k to 10k to 10 miles to a half marathon and finally to a full marathon in the space of 3 years.



When did you start running? First started running again when I did the Tralee parkrun in November 2016.

Why did you take up running? To get fit and lose weight.

What running experience have you? In my teens, I used to do quite alot of running, won u18 in Dublin, Lucan 10km, sub 34 mins.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Finishing second in the Born to Run 40 mile relay team.

What is your favourite running event? Dublin full marathon.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? To complete the Liverpool full Marathon.

Any running advice? Build slow and progress, focus, try and get out 3/4 runs a week.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? The people involved and the spirit within the club.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? Rose Brosnan completing her 50k ultra, she persuaded me to do my first marathon in Dingle in 2019.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Music, painting, walking, looking after the grandchildren.

Most interesting fact about you? Outgoing, chatty, competitive, love Sunday morning running.

Epic Couch to 5k Journey Concludes

As we struggled to hold on to a gazebo that wanted to take flight on registration night, maybe we should have suspected that this year’s couch to 5k group were in for a tougher challenge than those who had gone before them. But even the most negative prophet of doom could not have foreseen the obstetrical that were put in this groups way on their fitness journey. Even so, several class red weather warnings and an unprecedented global pandemic couldn’t prevent these hardy and brave souls from reaching their goals as they finally had their lap of honor on Tuesday night.

Yes this year’s was a far from ideal programme, with a wind and rain lashed opening night, several weather canceled training secession and lastly just days before the final night’s celebrations were due to take place, the world became almost unrecognizable, as Covid 19 put paid to our best laid plan. Credit must go to all those who carried on regardless and concluded their journey on Tuesday night (18/08/20) even if the celebrations weren’t in the style they undoubtedly deserved and which the club would have loved to bestow on them.

Credit too, to Ann and her large team of mentors who gave their all to help this fantastic group along the way since January, they sacrificed huge amounts of time and effort, they are certainly a credit to the club and truly embody the spirit and heart of what Born to Run is about. Congratulations to all once again on your achievements and hopefully this is just the end of the beginning of your time with the club, as we look forward to spending may years on the roads with you and to the night we will be introducing you as a mentor to a hundred or so nerves but expectant faces, eager to commence their own voyage from couch to 5k and beyond.

BTR Return to Full Training

It is with great relief that BTR welcomed back to training our members on Tuesday night (30/06/20). Meeting in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Brandon Car Park as the Aqua Dome remains closed (and we wish our friends there a speedy and successful return to business) the crew assembled for a brief run out the St Pat’s GAA club and back to ease us back into activity after the months of lock down. It was a happy and chatty reunion as people caught up with each-other’s news from the intervening months. It was a reunion tinged with sadness though as it was our first evening’s training following the death of club stalwart Conor Cusack and an impeccably observed minutes silence was lead by club chairperson JJ O’Connell.

The couch to 5k group, whose programme was so cruelly cut short at the very last moment, also returned to training and it was a delight to see so many turned out to get their fitness goals back on track.

Social distancing, hand hygiene and good cough and sneezing etiquette continue to be essential and we ask everyone to be vigilante in their adherence to this. Also pleas be extra cognizant of other road and foot-path users giving people plenty of space when passing them. Everyone should have received their return to training questionnaires by now and if you haven’t done so already, please get it back to club secretary Rose Brosnan ASAP at

It’s fantastic to have the club back in action after this very difficult time and hopefully we can look forward to a long period of uninterrupted running with our wonderful friends and club-mates.

Slán a Chara, go N’éirí an Bóthar Leat ar do Thuras Deireanach

Kind, Caring, Positive, Happy, Inspirational, Determined. Just some of the many words used in the last few days to describe our good friend Conor.

In all the lovely tributes to Conor, one word has been used more than others and that word is Gentleman. If you check its definition in a dictionary it will tell you that a Gentleman is a man who is of good family, civilised, educated, sensitive and well-mannered…how perfectly does that describe our friend!

The Cusack coat of arms is predominantly Blue & Yellow and these colours signify loyalty, truth and generosity and Conor certainly lived up to his family morals. Conor was generous with his time and gave of himself so much, from his tireless fundraising for charities close to his heart, to mentoring the beginners who joined our Born to Run family over the years. He gave of himself and never sought anything in return, only companionship and company, along the road.

Conor was a proud person. He was immensely proud of his hometown and particularly proud that he was a Kerryman and when his travels took him out foreign, he wore the green of Ireland with great pride.

Conor was a determined person. Joining the Born to Run Couch to 5k program in 2013 he had a goal and nothing was going to stop him reaching it. And in Clonakilty in 2018 an emotional Conor crossed the finish line to complete his 100th marathon. What he achieved in those intervening years was nothing short of amazing.

Over the years, Conor would let us know through Social media that he had ‘lost’ his running mojo but we all knew it was only ‘misplaced’ and he would be back out on the roads in no time.

Conor’s friendship and kindness spread far and wide, like ripples on a pond. We, his friends, felt those ripples and will continue to feel them for a long time to come.

“Conor, you touched so many of our lives and because of that, you occupy a space in all our hearts that will be forever filled with great times, great memories and great stories, and as long as we hold you in our hearts, you will never be dead.”

To finish, Conor would often post a goodnight message on Facebook before he’d go to sleep for the night, sometimes it was a positive message, other times a beautiful sunset photo taken from his home. On June 9th Conor said goodnight to his many many friends with these words… “At the end of the night, before you close your eyes, be content with what you’ve done and be proud of who you are” Goodnight Conor, know that we are all very proud of you and we will miss you greatly.

Continued Easing of Restrictions

With the ongoing unwinding of lock-down restrictions athletes may now train in groups of 15 or less. Remember the same social distancing rules of 2 meters apply and hand washing and other hygiene guidelines continue to be in place.

We hope you all continue to stay fit and safe and we’re looking forward to returning to full training very shortly.

Return to Limited Activity from May 18th

Born to Run is delighted to announce that in accordance with specific government guidelines all members can return to limited group activity from Monday 18th May.

This is a very welcome development and I’m sure you all are excited to be getting away from the weeks of solo runs and reconnecting with other club members.

However official club training remains suspended and members are responsible for insuring they adhere to government guidelines when partaking these activities. Key parameters that must be met on Phase 1 of the Government road-map are;

People can engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, either individually or in very small groups (maximum 4 people), where social distancing can be maintained and where there is no contact.

Training must only take place within a 5k radius of the members home.

Remember to avoid personal contact so no hand-shaking, hugging high-fives and so forth.

You should stay at home if you: Have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, have been overseas in the last 14 days, have flu-like symptoms or are feeling unwell.

Some useful guidelines are provided here by Athletics Ireland, and by government here, we would encourage you to read them.

We know it’s though these days but everyone is in this together by being apart and as a club we’ll come back stronger than ever when this is all over. Until then be safe and run strong.

Training Suspended

Born to Run Tralee Marathon Club in light of recent Government announcements will suspend training until the at least the 29th March

It has been a difficult decision, but our first thought is to protect the health of our runners. We understand that this decision will result in inconvenience and disappointment to our many runners, however, we are sure that all will understand that the decision is taken in the best interests, not just of our runners, but of the wider community.

People should follow the advice that has been provided by the appropriate agencies regarding the best way to minimise the risks to infection as well as what you should do if you feel unwell and are developing symptoms. This can be found in greater detail within the links below.…/472f64-covid-19-coronavirus-guidance-…/

Unfortunately due to ongoing developments in the Corona virus (Covid 19) situation, and in light of this mornings directives from the government the difficult decision to postpone this years Couch to 5k graduation had to be taken. We deeply regret any disappointment caused and the lateness of the decision but in the interest of public health we felt it was the correct one to make. Please keep in contact with our social media pages on Facebook and here for updates as they develop.

We will let you know as soon as we do when this event will go ahead and we thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

In the meantime we would encourage you all to keep your training going and we hope you all feel proud of your progress to date. It’s been our pleasure to have you all with us over the past 8 weeks. Hopefully when this crises passes we will be all on the roads together again in the near future.

Club Notes March 2020

40 MILER: Registration for this year’s 40 Mile Ultra and Relay event which takes place on July 25th is open at
PARKRUN: Huge congratulations to Noreen Quirke who completed her 150th parkrun last Saturday.COUCH-TO-5K: The 2020 couch-to-5k participants will take part in their graduation run this Thursday, March 12th, from Áras an Phobail at 6.30pm. Well done to all the participants, coaches, training coordinators and the mentors who volunteered their time each night! Just a special note to the graduates to say if you want to keep running, just come long to the Aqua Dome on Tuesdays and Thursday nights at 6.30pm! 10 MILER: Congratulations to Michelle Greaney on hosting a hugely successful 10 Miler and 5k run on Sunday March 1st to raise much-needed funds for charity.  TRAINING: Club nights continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30pm from the Aqua Dome. New members always welcome. For details of routes and training schedules, check out the Born to Run Facebook page. Anyone who may be out from running at the moment, please join us on Tuesday nights anyway for the cup of tea and a chat.  

Lap of Honor Approaches for Couch to 5K Group

All the hard work is nearly over and the finish line is in sight for our hard working couch to 5k novices. It’s not been easy with the weather doing it’s best to put a spanner in the works on an ongoing basis but this group is made of stern stuff and have refused to allow their progress be haulted.

We hope the club will come together on March 12th to see them run their first 5k and complete the programme in style at Aras An Phobail. All finishers will be presented with medals and refreshments well be available afterwards.

Thanks to everyone who took part and to all our mentors who supported our participants. We hope this is only the beginning of many years of running with Born to Run