Runner Profile:  Patricia O’Hagan

Our latest ‘Runner Profile’ is Patricia O’Hagan, a young lady who first caught my attention when she won the ladies race in Drumragh earlier this year.  I then watched her hold her own in a lead group containing quality athletes such as Jessica Craig and Karen Alexander at a Cross Country event in Belfast.

Patricia’s talent was obvious, but I was surprised that I hadn’t noticed her before Drumragh.  I automatically assumed that she must have some kind of backround in running, possibly over shorter distances.  Since then, we have seen Patricia progressively improve.  Last Saturday (8th December 2012) she won the Dromore Cross Country, the week before that she won the ladies race at the Malcolm Cup in Ballyclare (1st December 2012).

Full Name:  Patricia O’Hagan

Current Category:  Female Open

Associated Club:  St Peters AC, Lurgan

Personal Bests:  800m – 2:16, 1500m –  4:49, 3000m – 10:28, 3k (road) – 10:19, 5k (road) – 18:07, 10k (road) – 39:04

What is your favourite Northern Ireland event?  This year I really enjoyed racing the Enniskillen ‘Spooktacular’ 5km Road Race.  Enniskillen is where I grew up and to race and win at home was just great!  My brothers were all home for one of my brothers’ birthday so it was just fantastic to have all the family out cheering for me.  To win and get a PB was an added bonus!

When did you start running?   I started running in my first year in Grammar School in Mount Lourdes, Enniskillen.  I featured well at Ulster schools level, medalling at cross country, 800m, 1500m and Relays.  I lost the love of competing during my late teens and early twenties and mainly ran just to keep fit.  Then, I met my now husband in my last year in university, we travelled for fifteen months and when we came home I was introduced to St Peters AC were, very conveniently, my husbands’ dad was a coach! I have never looked back since and found my love of running and racing again.

Why do you run?  I have always ran and it’s just part of me.  I love it! I enjoy keeping fit and running is an easy way to do it.  You just put one foot in front of the other! I love the freedom of running.  I love how it clears my head but at the same time helps me focus.

I am a competitive person so it meets that need too! I really enjoy training with St Peters AC.  We have a great group and it’s a great club to be part of.  We have really grown as a club over the last few years and that’s all down to the hard work and dedication of Brian O’Hagan and Packy Mallon. Sadly Packy passed away this year but I am so glad to have met him and he had such a positive influence on my running.

What is your next race and what do you want from it?  There are lots of Cross Country races coming up in December and into the New Year so I am looking forward to them.  My next race will more than likely be the North West Cross Country, and then I’ll look forward to the NI Cross Country

Championships and Moira Cross Country in January 2013.  I want strong competitive races so that I can (hopefully) see the benefits of good solid training.

What is your favourite training ‘session’?  I love a good hard training session, the kind you dread but at the end you feel great because you got through it.  6 x 800/1k with 2 mins recovery.

What is your favourite pre-race and post-race meals?   I don’t really change my diet coming up to race.  I try to eat a balanced diet all the time and ‘eat to train’.  Bagels and jam are a staple food for me! I would sometimes use sports drinks pre and post race/training.  Post-race I don’t usually feel like eating so it’s usually a case of forcing something down because I know how important it is for recovery.

What would you consider your greatest achievement in running to be?   Last year I was selected for the Northern Ireland Senior Ladies Cross-Country team and collected my first Senior vest at the Home Countries Cross Country in Scotland.  I really was so proud of myself for getting back up to that level as a Senior.  I won the Northern Ireland Senior Ladies 800m title in 2009, again this was a fantastic moment for me.

You have really stepped things up this year and featured well in quite a few 5k and Cross Country races.  What would you put this down too?  I have said it before but I am so lucky to have a great club in St Peters AC and a great training group and without a doubt the solid training under Brian has helped build a really strong base.

As a physiotherapist I have to practice what I preach to all my clients and I do spend time in the gym at Edenmore. I enjoy practicing yoga weekly. I find great benefits from yoga in flexibility and core strength. I do Pilates exercises regularly targeting specific areas of weakness and i have started to do more functional based training.

What other sports do you like?
  I really enjoy all sports and would watch most sports…. apart from cricket! Since travelling in Australia, my husband and I got hooked on surfing.  We have continued to enjoy it at home in Ireland too but the weather and sea temperature makes it a little less attractive.  We try to get out over the winter months as the waves are best then.  A Boxing Day surf is usually on the menu!