Runner Profile:  David O’Flaherty

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As I have mentioned on many occasions, something we try to do here at NiRunning is to bring all styles of running onto one website.  So, when choosing our runners for this feature we take that into consideration, with that in mind I think there is no better man to show the ethos of our project than 28 year old David O’Flaherty of Newcastle AC.  With a backround in racing on the track, trails, roads and mountains throughout Northern Ireland he could very well act as our mascot!

David dabbled with running in secondary school but started taking his training seriously in 2007, that proved a wise decision as he has since become a highly respected competitor over all terrains.

Full Name:  David O’Flaherty

Current Category:  Male Open

Associated Club:  Newcastle AC

Personal Bests: 800m – 2:08, 1500m – 4:23, 1 mile – 4:27, 3k – 9:24, 5k – 16:02, 10k- 34:09

As you spend a lot of time in the mountains and on the trails, we understand that Pb’s aren’t always applicable/important. So tell us about your three favourite mountain/trail races? The main race from the Hill and Dale series that sticks in my head is Donard Forest, which starts and finishes in Donard Park.  The race climbs gradually to the quarry and descends back through the forest trails.  It’s a course that suits me and one I always look forward too.  In 2009 I was sitting in fifth or sixth place on the climb to the far side of the quarry and having a relatively poor race as first and second where out of sight.

After having a good run through the quarry I picked up a few places and before long I could see Eddie Hannah in second place and passed him through the forest trails.  I eventually moved into first place passing Alan McKibbin as the race reached the lower paths of Donard Forest and stretched my lead to ten seconds from there to the finish line.  This is probably my best Hill and Dale race as I managed to claw back over a minute on the race leader on my descent to the finish and record a time just outside of the course record.

Moughanmore, again another Hill and Dale race that I enjoy and look forward too.  Maybe the reason for liking this is because it was the first ever Hill and Dale/Mountain race that I competed in. It’s also a race I seem to run well in.  It was  also the first Hill and Dale race I ever won, that night in 2009 I don’t think anyone will forget as the weather was awful.  As we climbed the first mountain we were met with an awful hail storm.  Myself and Stevie Cunningham set off from the first descent and went head to head for 1st place. Stevie led over the second and third climbs but I passed him with approximately one hundred metres to go to claim my first Hill and Dale victory.

The Catlewellan Christmas Cracker race.  Having only done this race three times, and to be honest struggling for fitness while doing it I still always look forward to it.  The reason for this is because it’s somewhat unique in that you run with a partner from start to finish and you are only as strong as the ‘weaker’ runner on the day.  The race is more a trail race and is approximately 10 miles with a bit of road thrown in for good measure.  The course changes from year to year with various routes tried and tested by Newcastle AC HQ!  My best run in this race was probably in 2011 when I teamed up with David McNeily from Newcastle AC.  We had a strong steady run and finished 6th in a very strong field, passing many teams over the final 3-4 miles.

What is your favourite Northern Ireland event?  I always look forward and enjoy the Seeley Cup 10k Road Race.  Our club send a large number of people and it’s always a good race and a good club day out.

Why do you run?  When I started to run in 2007, it was actually to lose weight as I was touching fifteen stone. Once I started I couldn’t stop and the buzz I got from competing against others gave me a bigger drive to improve and try to reach the next level.

What is your next race and what do you want from it?  At the minute the next race I have planned is the NI Relay Championships on the 6th of October 2012 but sometimes I decide to race if I see something that I fancy doing, so I may race before the relays.

What is your favourite training ‘session’?  I really enjoy doing 4×1 mile or 5×1 mile, with 2 minute recovery.  I like doing this with the club on a Tuesday, around the roads of Newcastle during the dark winter evenings.  I think the company helps and gives me an extra drive to push that bit harder.

What is your favourite pre-race and post-race meals?  Pre-race I will always eat white bagels with strawberry jam about three hours before competing, as well as a banana and a can of Red Bull.  Then an S.I.S sports drink an hour before the race.  Post-race normally starts with an S.I.S recovery drink and just really whatever I can stomach after that, if it’s an evening race then I may just have a bowl of cereal when I get home but I’m never that hungry after the recovery drink.

What is your running ambition?  After telling you my PB’s I think my ambition should be to start taking some time off them.  I know I’ve been in better 10k shape but never got to race while at that fitness, if you know what I mean? There are obviously various races and series’ I would love to win but for now I will have to improve my training and fitness.  So to get a few PBs in the near future would be a good start.

What other sports do you like?  I don’t compete in other sports now but I used to play football and I am a keen follower of the sport. I’m also a Liverpool FC supporter so I don’t really have much to cheer about at the moment, fingers crossed though!