Meet The Runner – John McDonnell


Name: John McDonnell

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Running Club: Enniskillen Running Club

Age Category: Over 50

List your PB’s:
5k – 18:11
10k – 39:35
1/2 Marathon 1:28:19
Marathon – 3:06 (Chester 2019)

When did you start running and what motivated you?  I began running in 2011.  I was motivated after seeing some photos of myself from a family holiday.  I was overweight and out of shape and knew I wouldn’t be happy until I lost a few stone.  

Favourite distance?  I really enjoy the two extremes, the 5k and marathon.  If I had to choose, I’d go with the Marathon as there is great satisfaction after having a good run over that distance.

Favourite event?  I have to go with the Boston Marathon as it’s my home turf.

Favourite Running Read?  Not strictly just a running read, but “How Bad Do You Want It” by Matt Fitzgerald was very good.

Current Favourite Running shoe? All time favourite?  I’m currently running in Nike’s and have recently bought the Air Zoom Tempo Next%, but my all-time favourites and the ones I’ve run in for the longest time are Newton Distance Elites.

What is your proudest running achievement to date and why?  I had a stroke in 2017 caused by a 12mm hole in my heart which has since been repaired.  Since that time, I’ve knocked off 8 minutes off of my marathon PB. That’s down to either motivated training or just a heart that works better 🙂

Your best race face pic (when, where and was it worth it)  I’m pretty famous for bad race face pics.  This one here is from the Tony McGowan 5k run in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim  I think this was 2016 and I had a very good run that day, so yeah, I’d say it was worth it.

Any pre race routines, meals, warmups, superstitions?  I’m not particularly superstitious.  I do like a pizza the night before a marathon and porridge in the morning. 

Explain your approach to post race recovery:  At my age my body responds well to rest.  No matter what the distance I like to either take the day or two off after an event or at the very least only easy recovery type runs.  

Given the current restrictions what advice would you give to those having to train from home?  Make the most of what your current situation gives you.  I’ve had to do most of my running from my door, which means lots of hills.  This should be beneficial once we get back to racing again.

What event are you targeting when restrictions are lifted?  I have a place in the Berlin Marathon as well as London so hopefully one of those two will go ahead.  But I suppose most of all I’ll be looking forward to travelling to races with friends again and getting on the start line in a big group.  I can’t forget the post race banter as well.  There are so many things about events that have been sorely missed.

If I wasn’t a runner I would… have a lot fewer friends.

You can read all about John on his blog, A Heart for Running