Local athlete features in ‘Tyrone Life’ article:


Local athlete features in Tyrone Life article (story taken from Tyrone Life website):

For the masses who have been involved in and have been following the running scene in Northern Ireland in recent times, they will be well aware of the impact that runner Paul Barbour has made in such a short space of time. The Omagh Harriers runner has really marked himself down as one of the top contenders in every run he participates and that includes a number of local race triumphs.

However in addition to excelling in the ‘running game’ Paul is also an accomplished boxer who has competed in provincial and national finals while also representing Ulster and Ireland in major events against Scotland, England and Wales.

An impressive sporting CV to say the least and, as is the case with all our People in Focus Profiles here at Tyrone Life, we once again bring you an in-depth conversation with Paul on a host of other aspects of his own life and life in Tyrone!

Paul Barbour – Omagh Harriers AC & Omagh Boxing Academy

Personal Stats:

Age: 28

Height: 5ft11

Weight: 10st


Boxing: Represented Ireland x2 and Ulster x4 times internationally, underage boxing Tyrone titles, Mid-Ulster and Ulster, 3 All Ireland finals.

Running: Northern Ireland championship bronze medallist over 10k 2014, Dublin Marathon 2:41:41 45th place, Waterside Half Marathon 4th, Belfast City Half marathon 5th.

PB (personal best) run times to date:

5k – 15:08

10k – 32:30

10mile – 53:49

Half Marathon – 71:44

Marathon – 2:41:41

Tell us about your background and how you became involved in athletics:

Having been formerly a boxer for 15 years competing in over 100 contests and fighting in England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Finland and in the USA, over Christmas 2009 I decided to take part in the Greencastle 5mile Run as I was in training for a fight. Having enjoyed it, the next year I did it again and after that it kind of went from there. I didn’t really go to any club until 2012 when I went along and joined Omagh Harriers.

What sports and activities have you generally taken part in over the years and your experience of those and how they have impacted your choice in pursuing the challenge of athletics?

My only sport growing up and following was boxing really which has led me to being a part time coach. Throughout those years most training sessions always had some sort of training run involved, so when I went to compete in road running I felt good.

All Interests/Hobbies:

Having a good weekend, going out, relaxing at home with my Fiancé Roisin and coaching at the local boxing club – Omagh Boxing Academy.

If I was a young person keen on athletics and running, there are a lot of different types of disciplines out there. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about this or going down this line and where or how would they about it?

Be patient, things aren’t going to happen overnight but will only happen if you work hard enough and dedicate yourself. Anyone who is keen in going to run come along and train or speak to Omagh Harriers – all ages and abilities are welcome. Running with people can be a extra motivation.

What commitment, efforts and resources would I need to be looking at for this sport?

Set goals, train hard, if you want to win train harder.

Can you give an idea of the number of actual runs/races you would compete/participate in a calendar year and also which races are on your agenda in the coming months ahead into 2015?

It varies! Summer is usually the busiest with a lot of different distances – 5ks, 5mile, 10ks, with Omagh Half Marathon and Greencastle 5 are same time every year so dates like that people will always know.  Looking ahead the races I am competing in will be the Omagh Half marathon on March 28th. I’m hoping to beat my last half marathon time of 1:11:44. I will take in a lot of shorter distances in between then which can help with the training in build-up to and in the Dublin Marathon in October again, where I will go back and try better my first time.

Thoughts on…

– What the training involved in preparing for a new season and then for any events itself?

Generally during the week, club training on wednesday and a race at the weekends – you can only do so much in a week. Quality training rather than quantity of training!

– Some of the best races out there and why they are so appealing?

Greencastle 5mile, the Omagh Half Marathon, Armagh International 5k, Dublin Marathon. Personally these are races I’ve been in and enjoyed most of late. Crowds and the on the day buzz make them exciting.  Greencastle 5 on Boxing Day when everyone is full of turkey lol  – with just a wee hill (you have to try it to see!) or anyone who has done the race will know what I mean!  Omagh half as it is a local race and always brings top class runners and big numbers to compete. This year will be no different. Armagh International 5k as the event is a big sponsored one and brings European, American and World medalists to compete.  Dublin Marathon as the support was something else! 26.2miles of people in the streets, I’ve been thinking since if I hadn’t have looked about so much I may have finished faster!

Life – My thoughts on…

– What things you enjoy best about the ‘weekend’ and favourite things to do?

A good rest, especially on saturdays, and heading out after a race. Going to cinema, bowling, etc… I’m always at something

– 3 big sporting moments that stand out for you and why?

Fighting for Ireland twice as a junior in the 4 Nations Championship and as a senior boxer against Scotland.  Any boxer will tell you getting the green O’Neills vest on is something else and that was always a dream for me from the day I started boxing!  While on a holiday to Las Vegas I visited the Mayweather Boxing Club and like most holiday’s I brought my boxing gear! I went into the gym and before I knew it I was having a training session with Roger Mayweather – the trainer/uncle of Floyd Mayweather. I did the pads with him and, like the videos of him you can see on youtube, it was surreal. After all this, which was exhausting to say the least, he sat down and chatted to me for about an hour.. it was like a conversation as if we knew each other all our lives!  Being in Las Vegas watching Floyd Mayweather vs Marcos Maidana in the MGM Grand – again this occasion stands out as seeing the best boxer out there and the fight atmosphere is something you couldn’t buy!

– Places you have travelled to – and best memories?

The nicest places I’ve been and would love to go back to in the morning are Toronto, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles.  Best memories of them include while I was in Las Vegas on the famous ‘fight week’, while the boxers competing came into the venue I got a t-shirt and magazines signed by Floyd Mayweather. All that stood between us was a barrier and his 4 giant security guards. This moment went so quick I couldn’t even get a photo with him!  los Angeles is a beautiful place and great for site seeing, the Las Vegas weather was amazing and the strip itself is definitely worth seeing!

Influential figures in your life?

My Mum (RIP), My Dad, Brother Gary and fiancé Roisin. Each of them have helped me so much to help get me to where I’m at today!

Paul’s Favourites…

Athletes: Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, Usain Bolt

Athletic or Sporting Events: Olympic Games, World and European Athletics Championships,World Championship Boxing

Sportstars: Floyd Mayweather, Lance Armstong, Ronaldo

Celebrities: Barry ‘Macca’ McMahon

Band/Singers: Ed Sheeran, The Killers,The Dubliners

Music Video: “It’s my time” – see below

Songs to Train to: Eye of the Tiger, L’amour Toujours

Songs on a night out: Any club classic

TV Shows: Father Ted, Ringside

Movies: Man About Dog, Die Hard Movies, Taken, The Inbetweeners

Favourite Scene ever in a Movie: The dance-off in the Inbetweeners movie (As Below) – as it is similar to what I saw on holidays with mates Barry Mc Mahon and James Miley

Food: Steak and potatoes

After Shaves: Hugo Boss, Diesel

Place (apart from home): Las Vegas!

Pub: Any

Nightclub: Sally’s

Sports Venue: National Stadium Dublin, Croke Park

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? All of them!

Favourite websites? Boxingscene, NiRunning, Iaba.ie, Ebay