BORN TO RUN RUNNERS’ PROFILES

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.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – ANN O’SHEA

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.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – TONY PONTI
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  

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – Liam Horan

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.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – Noreen Quirke

Name: NOREEN QUIRKE

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 Marath

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.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES – JACK MORIARTY

Name: JACK MORIARTY

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.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES : HELEN TWOMEY

Name: Helen Twomwy

When did you start running? January 2019.

Why did you take up running? To get fit and meet new people.

What running experience have you? 5k, 10k, 10 miles, half marathons and was training to run the Dublin Marathon in 2020

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Loved the BTR 40 miler and the Rose of Tralee 10k – completing both with the great friends I’ve made in BTR.

What is your favourite running event? Loved the BTR 40 miler. It was tough but the atmosphere on the day was amazing.

Any running advice? Enjoy every run, keep going no matter how hard it feels, it will pay off.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? It’s a very special club in that you meet people with one common aim – to learn to run. You get lots of support from all the members. It gives you the opportunity to make a lot of great friends. The club’s motto is never leave anyone behind and that is evident in every run the club participates in.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Walking, reading.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES RITA RYAN

Name: Rita Ryan

When did you start running? I started running in June 2017.

Why did you take up running? I took up running as I had been walking for the previous few months with two friends I met during the Operation Transformation walk with Garvey’s and one of them suggested going to the Born to Run couch-to-5k.

What running experience have you? I’ve run everything from 5k up to a marathon.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Plenty of memorable moments especially first 5k and first half marathon in Listowel and my first full marathon in Tralee, and of course the Dublin City Marathon.

What is your favourite running event? Love the Dingle half and full marathons – such a beautiful place.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? I am very happy with what I have acheived. I only joined Born to Run to be able to run 5k and I have ended up doing much more with the help of the extraordinary people in the club . I guess my goal is to be able to continue running for another while.

Any running advice? Run for yourself at your own pace and enjoy the experience and the great company on the Born to Run group runs.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? I think Born to run is special because everyone cares about each other and encourages each other no matter what distance you are running. Nobody gets left behind, and such great friendships which are really special.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? I guess my mentors in Born to Run have been inspirational to me from the beginning. Without them, I wouldn’t have believed I could achieve all the different distances I have run. Also the feel-good factor I experience after a run, and the lovely cups of tea and cake from the dashboard diner .

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Mostly family stuff but I also enjoy great walks in peaceful places and I do a bit of knitting and a bit of gardening.

Most interesting fact about you? I’m light-hearted, I love to laugh and have a bit of banter. It keeps things interesting especially when out for a run with the great Born to Run gang.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES: MIKE BROSNAN

Name: Mike Brosnan

When did you start running? Starting running in January 2014.

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

What running experience have you? I have completed two marathons and many half marathons, 10k and 5k runs.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Seeing the annual couch-to-5k participants reach their goal of doing their first 5k.

What is your favourite running event? Dingle 1/2 marathon.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? I run for fun these days goals are for soccer!

Any running advice? Always remember to enjoy, you do the same distance in a run as the person who came in first.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? No one is left behind and all levels are catered for.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? The Sunday morning group runs with Born to Run would inspire anyone.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Relaxing while watching Liverpool or Kerry playing.

Most interesting fact about you? I’ve never registered for a race yet but still seem to get signed up.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES JJ O’CONNELL

Name : JJ O’Connell

When did you start running? 2013

Why did you take up running? To get fitter for other sports

What running experience have you? I have done many events from the shorter 1 mile to 100km.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? The tae and chats every Tuesday night club night, the stories (many too eventful to mention).

What is your favourite running event? Parkrun, Tralee 100km and Sixmilebridge. Clonakilty is up there as well.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? 100 miler, Marathon of the Midnight Sun and hopefully a marathon major.

Any running advice? Keep at it and consistency is key.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? The camaraderie in this club is outstanding from the incoming couch-to-5k recruits to the more established club runners.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? My family are my biggest inspiration – my mom taking up running again and completing a half marathon and my father playing soccer into his mid-fifties with our local soccer club, Rattoo Rovers.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Sports, both playing and attending, reading, genealogy.

Interesting fact about you? Went to Australia with my girlfriend Louise for a holiday and ended up doing the West Sydney Marathon.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES CATHERINE O’CONNOR

Name: Catherine O’Connor

When did you start running? I started running three years ago in 2018.

Why did you take up running? Kids all in college so needed to get out of the quiet house.

What running experience have you? None till I joined Born to Run, now I enjoy my 5km and my marathon is a 10km.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Completing my first 5km after doing the couch-to-5k. What is your favourite running event? The 10km in Kilkee, the views are amazing.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? To do another 10km soon.

Any running advice? Everyone has their own goals, some of my group have gone on to do marathons but for me it’s 10km.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? No one is on their own, no matter how slow or fast you are, someone is always there beside you to encourage you.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Hill walking.

RUNNERS’ PROFILES CIARA O’Callaghan

Name: CIARA O’Callaghan

When did you start running? 2010

Why did you take up running? My good friend Gail txt one day going she had this plan and if we did it, after 6/8 weeks we’d be able to run for 30 mins without stopping … Gail has a lot to answer for 🙂

What running experience have you? 16 marathons later and countless 5k, 10k & half marathons.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? The Saturday mornings out in the oyster…

What is your favourite running event? Hands down Dublin Marathon, but also all the local events that give the opportunity to participate with our running pals and support local initiatives.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? A sub 4.02 marathon 🤣

Any running advice? Every run is different so enjoy every run and whether it’s a good day or a bad day, the hardest part of a run is getting out the door … and you’ll never regret getting out that door! Cos it’s when you can’t get out you realise how lucky we are to be able.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? Besides the relentless work by the committee to keep the show literally on the road some ten years later, the people make it special … you just never know who you’ll end up running beside and sharing stories with on any given day.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? Usually seeing the long run crew who have reached a particular distance for the first time and their sense of accomplishment and also ALL underdogs!

Outside of running, what are your other interests? GAA and sports fanatic, musical theatre lover

.Most interesting fact about you? While not the most interesting, I sailed on the Titanic… Tralee Musical Society’s 2009 production of the ill-fated ship’s journey 😉 I’m also a gifted sleeper😴

RUNNERS’ PROFILES TOM DILLON

Name: Tom Dillon

When did you start running? The summer of 2018.

Why did you take up running? I took up running to get out and active but most importantly to make friends and meet new people (I can never feel a stranger in Tralee again after joining Born to Run). I wanted to do it for positive mental health too.

What running experience have you? I have run 5k and 10k events, longest distance so far has been 12 miles.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? My most memorable Born to Run moment, among many, is the first night I ran 5k. It was our C25K graduation run and it was a glorious summer evening. I can never describe the feeling of achievement having run 5k on my own and what an amazing feeling to be cheered home across the finish line by a guard of honour from the Born to Run crew on both sides of the road into the Aqua Dome. Receiving my medal was a very special moment and of all the races I’ve done since, it still is my most special.

What is your favourite running event? My favourite running event is the Banna 5k/10k, great views and you get to go to the beach after!

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? For the immediate future, a half marathon but long term, it would be amazing to run the Marine Corps Marathon and the London Marathon.

Any running advice? If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong! You can do it.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? Because of the amazing friendships, welcome and sense of helping each other out without expecting anything in return. The lifeblood of Born to Run is the willingness of everyone to help the next person, from the volunteers who mentor the C25K recruits to the committee, the dashboard dinner crew, those who buy birthday cakes to mark our big days, this club is awesome! I’ve met so many great people through the club. I’ve ran miles with them in sun, wind, frost and pouring rain, walked the Camino, climbed mountains, drank tea, danced, laughed and smiled. This club gives so much to the town of Tralee, and sets an example by its spirit of camaraderie of how things can be done.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? I was asked this question recently. My inspiration is our late friend in Born to Run Conor Cusack. I was so inspired how he started from scratch and went on to run 103 marathons, running took him all over the world and he made friends everywhere.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? Too many to mention, I’m a history geek so history obviously but also I like training for triathlon, hiking and doing absolutely nothing – an often unappreciated hobby!

Most interesting fact about you? I was born on February 29th so I only have a birthday every four years.

RUNNING PROFILES ANNE KELLIHER

Name: Anne Kelliher

When did you start running? September 2012.

Why did you take up running? I saw a sea of people running out of the Aqua Dome one evening and decided to join them the next day, and as they say the rest is history!!

What running experience have you? I have done 9 full marathons and quite a few half marathons, 10ks and 5ks.

What is your most memorable Born to Run moment(s)? Running down the Neil Armstrong Way in Tralee to the finish line of my first marathon in March 2013 to a lovely local welcome. I just wanted to bottle that feeling of accomplishment and the supportive atmosphere. Seven months earlier I thought “me, run a marathon… never!

What is your favourite running event? My favourite running event is the Tralee Marathon Series and more recently Tralee parkrun.

What future goals would you like to achieve in running? My future goal is to keep running daily.

Any running advice? Follow a programme to suit your goals and buddy up with someone that has the same mindset.

Why do you think Born to Run is special? Born to Run holds a special place in my heart because it’s where I fell in love with running and made some very special friends.

Who or what is your inspiration in running? Tommy Horan.

Outside of running, what are your other interests? My interests outside of running are yoga and going for a dip in Derrymore Beach.

Most interesting fact about you? I was the fourth lady home in the Run Galway Bay Marathon in 2016.

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