BY LEE MAGINNIS
Friendly, likeable and usually with an infectious smile on her face, Caitlyn Harvey has recently become a regular at races across Northern Ireland and further afield. Be prepared to see a lot more of her. With a great natural running style, she has been improving rapidly since concentrating on the sport.
Caitlyn kindly took some time out to answer a few questions. Enjoy the read.
What is your favourite race?
Anyone that knows me will tell you I don’t particularly like racing! I just like to run, I get far too nervous which is why I stopped running when I was U14 but as time went on I realised that if your going to train hard you might as well race as its a way of showing how hard you’ve been working. I don’t think any race stands out in particular as an individual, but I enjoy team events, in particular the NI road 5K Championships -winning ladies team Gold with the girls from Annadale. We had been training together for a while and it was our first team event so extra special to win as we have all become such close friends.
What do you put your rapid improvement down to?
Training! I never really trained before, I would have run once or twice a week just for hockey fitness and then always got roped in to helping people out in different team events for the club which kept me involved, but once I decided to start introducing a bit of consistent structured training in I found it a big help and started to see improvements.
What are your ambitions and targets for this season?
I had quite a bad calf tear at the start of winter which put me back a bit but I am planning on doing a few 5000m and 3000m on the track and hopefully a few 5K and 10K road races with the hope of just chipping away at my times, staying injury free and continuing to enjoy running.
Long term aims? I’m still relatively new to the running scene and so for now I don’t really have any long term goals, I am just working on building consistency and seeing where hard work can take me.
What are your PBs?
All of my PBs have actually been set last year
5000m – 16.49
1500m – 4.34
Who is your coach?
I recently joined Annadale striders last summer and so am training with Paul Lawther and Paul Younger who have been knowledgeable, supportive and encouraging over the past year (along with providing the best chocolate digestives after the track on Tuesdays)!
What is your favourite training session?
Anything involving a tempo, I enjoy just sitting at a pace and ticking off Kms or a long run.
Training – group or solo?
I mostly ran solo during the first lockdown so I don’t mind it, just stick in some headphones and plod along. But since joining Striders last year, I definitely prefer a group! It’s always so much easier especially for longer sessions, you can share the work and I find I can get more out of myself especially in the cold, dark and wet nights over the winter. There’s also just something nice about suffering through a hard session with others rather than on your own!
Do you have any other interests/sports?
Also say a little about your hockey achievements. Until very recently I played hockey for Pegasus HC where I played for 9 years. I still love hockey and had some amazing experiences winning the All Ireland league and competing in 2 European Club Championships in Utrecht and Munich against some of the best teams in Europe. I kept up both for a while but since starting to focus on running I have since stopped playing hockey. I definitely miss it but am still involved in the junior set up coaching the U15 teams.
What are you studying?
I am currently doing a PhD at Queen’s researching anti-viral responses in patients with Cystic Fibrosis, I really enjoy the lab research side of things but as everyone is working on individual projects you are working on our own a lot so running is a great way to get out and meet new people and take a break. It is quite flexible with time and so I can easily fit in training around work which is an added bonus.
Any sporting heros/heroines?
I wouldn’t say I have any sporting heros/heroines but since starting running again I have met so many local club runners from Lagan Valley, Annadale and lots of other clubs around Northern Ireland who I look up to. At a range of abilities and many different disciplines each of them run as a hobby alongside busy work and family lives and as crazy as they may seem, their dedication is admirable. Each of them has offered me extensive knowledge, advice and encouragement that I really value and try to introduce into my own running. But if I had to chose someone famous it would be Eilish McColgan!
Do you regret giving up the sport as a junior?
Part of me regrets it a little but I don’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do now if I had been training hard throughout school. I initially ran when I was younger because all my friends did and I don’t actually know if I really enjoyed it. But taking time away from the sport and ‘running for fun’ from time to time helped me realise that I was something that I really enjoy.