Meet Club Chairperson – Rebecca McEvoy

Our “Meet The” series continues this week with our Chairperson Rebecca McEvoy.

  1. Where are you from?
    Ballinhassig in Co. Cork
  2. How long have you been a club member?
    I’d say I joined the Barrs around 2008/2009 after running with Belgooly AC as a juvenile.
  3. What was it attracted you to join St Finbarr’s?
    Well I don’t think I ever really had any other choice! My parents met in St. Finbarr’s and are still active members today. I don’t think there was ever going to be another club for me!
  4. What is the best part of being a club member?
    I love the social side and team spirit in St. Finbarr’s. I love meeting everyone at the training sessions during the week. I also love going to races and seeing so many Barrs singlets around.
  5. Who is your athletics idol/hero?
    Growing up I always wanted to be Sonia O’Sullivan. I loved watching her in the Olympics and World Championships battling for medals.
    At the moment I love following Ciara Mageean and seeing how well she’s doing on the world stage.
  6. What is your favourite athletics event?
    I think I probably love racing 5km the most, also like a 3km on the track though!
  7. What club achievement are you most proud of?
    I think it’s amazing to see our club members compete in so many different events across such a range of distances. We got sprinters and marathons and it’s great to see our club represented in so many different disciplines and events.
    I also think our club has done a fantastic job organising hosting the Cork City 10 Miler every year. You’d be surprised by the amount of work that goes into it!!
  8. What personal achievement in your time at St Finbarr’s are you most proud of? That’s a hard one too, but probably coming 5th in the National Senior Road Relays in Raheny last year with Orla Byrne and Martina Kiely.
  9. What is your goal as Chairperson for 2024?
    The club is in a great place at the moment so it would be great to continue building on all the positive momentum. I would like to encourage more people to try out track races and enter more championship events.
  10. Who is your “one to watch” for 2024?
    That’s a tough one, there are loads of great up and comers in the club at the moment!
    Cian Kelly is definitely one to watch, smashing PBs every weekend. It’s been great too to watch Darragh Mulcahy race on the track at nationals, I’m sure he has a great summer ahead. I think Orla Byrne is in for a great year too, so she’ll be one to watch on the women’s side.


Thanks Rebecca, some great answers there.😃

Wishing you the very best for the year ahead as Chairperson.

Meet The Men’s Captain – Donal Murray

Donal Murray – Men’s Club Captain 2024.

Where are you from?
I’m a Corkman from Glasheen and Ballincollig and now live in Douglas.

How long are you a club member?
I joined St Finbarr’s about 8 to 10 years ago

What was it that attracted you to join St Finbarr’s AC?
I was 7 years old when I took up boxing so running would have been a big part of that. We used to run 3 to 4 miles before training sprinting between street lights or run 6 or 7 miles on other nights.

As the years went on between the ages of 15 to to my mid 20s I struggled with addiction. Forward another 10 to 15 years through my recovery and 17.5 stone later my brother who was already in St Finbarr’s convinced me to join, and I haven’t looked back since.

What is the best part of being a club member?
The best part of been a club member is how welcoming everyone is. Seeing new members starting from scratch not knowing how to pace or run smart to being great runners performing to the best of their abilities with the advice from the coaches and more experienced runners.

Who is your athletics idol/hero?
In the club my idol would have to be Flor O’Leary. An amazing runner and very humble man with a huge amount of national records picked up over the years. I remember him coming into the track nights training with us well into his 80s.

Internationally it would have to be Kipchoge he came from nothing raised by his single mother and a tough childhood to where he is now an inspiration to the world of running.

What is your favourite athletics event?
I’ve raced track 200s, 400s, 800s. I’ve done shotput, tried my hand at javelin and I love the relay races too which have great excitement, but my favourite is marathons and Road Championship Races. A close second is Cross Country, which is a brilliant team event.

What single club achievement are you most proud of for 2023?
My personal greatest achievement would be in 2022 Cork City Marathon when I achieved a PB of 3:28. In regards the club, 2023 was hugely successful in nearly every running discipline. It really has been a fantastic year for the club overall, so it’s too difficult to pick just one achievement.

What is your goal as Men’s Club Captain for 2024?
My goal as captain is to build on the success of previous years, and try maximise the amount of people in Championship Races. There is nothing like winning a team medal or individual medal for your club and county.

Who is your “one to watch” for 2024?
There are a few individuals like Darragh and Rodger who hadn’t much experience in any form of running when they started, but with help and guidance have become serious contenders in track events up against the best in the country. But my one to watch is Cian Kelly, who with a bit of guidance and coaching he will be another powerful addition to the club’s success.

Thanks Donal, and best of luck in your role as Men’s Captain for 2024.

Member Spotlight – Dave Hurley

Q. Where are you from?

Silversprings in Cork City. A northsider born and bred.

Q. How long have you been a St. Finbarr’s A.C. Club member?

Since 2016

Q. What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?

I can’t lie about this question. Anyone who knows me will call me out if I don’t speak the truth – half marathon!

Q. What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?

  • Monday easy run 5/6k
  • Tuesday rest
  • Wednesday club session
  • Thursday easy run 5/6k
  • Friday club session
  • Saturday easy run &/ or Glen river parkrun easy
  • Sunday long run (10 miles) with club members,shout out to the Sunday group, a brilliant bunch who all make the long run a pleasure, the coffee and cake afterwards helps us too!

Approx 40 miles per week.

Q. What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?

  • Monday 5/6k easy
  • Tuesday rest
  • Wednesday 50% of club session
  • Thursday go for a walk (6 to 8k)
  • Friday 5k easy
  • Saturday rest
  • Sunday race (or run is more accurate for me!)

Q. Do you have a specific goal for the season?

I want to get back into the 1 hour 40’s for the half! I’ll be trying enough times!

Q. What is your favourite athletics event?

Favourite to Watch: TV is any major athletes championship.

To participate in: CPC DEN HAAG in the Netherlands. I go back every year since I ran in 2017.

Non participation Event: Stewarding at the St. Finbarr’s Cork City 10 Miler and the Musgrave Bhaa race every year.

Q. What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?

Ive had a few! Den haag is up there but after running in Malaga (did someone mention Malaga 🤔) last December 2023 that’s hard to beat.

There was such a great group from the barrs over there, the race was great but the get together all weekend made it special.

Q. Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

All the coaches are great – listen to them and no matter what your level of fitness there’s always others you can run with in the club.

Q. Any other comments?

Running has so many positives for me, the obvious ones we all know about but the people you meet and become friends with,I’ve been to a lot of races and get to visit locations around Ireland and beyond because of running. It’s great for a person’s mental wellbeing also.

Member Spotlight – Richard Bourke

Q. Where are you from?
Originally Limerick. Living in Cork.

Q. How long have you been a St. Finbarr’s A.C. Club member?
2018 I believe.

Q. What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?
Marathon ATM…

Q. What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?
Generally 40 to mid 50 miles. 5 to 6 days a week training but fluctuates really.

Q. What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?
Well for marathon tapering few weeks beforehand so very easy. Max 20 miles week of the marathon.

Q. Do you have a specific goal for the season?
Hoping to complete Connemara marathon (April). That’s the only plan at the moment. Generally do some BHAA races and a few others in between as enter longer evenings.

Q. What is your favourite athletics event?

Q. What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?
Think has to be getting sub 3 in Dublin 2019 but lots of good memories from the Burren, Connemara and some good MCI (Marathon Club Ireland) routes.

Q. Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

Persevere…the rewards are good!

Member Spotlight – Rodger Condon

We hear from our Sprinter Rodger Condon!

Where are you from?
Living in Carrigaline for the last 10 years but originally from Onslow Gardens in the Northside.

How long have you been a St. Finbarr’s A.C. Club member?
Joined in November 2019

Played hurling & football for Na Piarsaigh before that from the age of 6.

Sprinted when I was in primary school for the City Sports but never did any athletics in between.

What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?
Indoors – 60m and 200m
Outdoors – 100m and 200m (Occasionally try a 400 if I’m feeling fit)

What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?
Hill work on Mondays – Time and distances vary but will normally be an effort less than 20 seconds at max speed.

Gym on Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturday and Sunday.
Primarily focused on explosive movement, plyometrics and core work.

Some kind of endurance based run on Wednesday which varies week to week. (Slow paced from 4-6km) This is not something most sprinters incorporate into there training but it works for me.

Track Session on Friday nights which can also vary but will always involve hitting top end speed. Off season I will do a session which focuses on fitness. (400m, 300m, 200m, 100m). During the season the sessions will be max efforts anywhere from. 60m to 220m.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?
Race week is always a light week where I don’t lift any weights. I focus on plyometrics based exercises.

With running it will be 2 easy sessions where I’m focusing on how my warmup will look on raceday and focusing on my form over longer distances. Maintaining a consistent form at a slower pace.

The most important thing for me on race week is to be fit, healthy and rested going into the race.

“The hay is in the barn” come race week as they say.

Do you have a specific goal for the season?
In 2023 I won the national title in both the 100m and 200m. The goal for 2024 would be to repeat this while improving my times.

Already in 2024 I have won the 60m national title so it has been a good start to the year.

With a 3rd child on the way in July I might switch to the marathon instead 😂🏃

What is your favourite athletics event?
Being a sprinter I love the hype around the 100m.
I also love watching the big marathons. That level of fitness is unmatched.

Any track event that involves an Irish athlete will always have me interested also.

What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?
My biggest achievement was definitely doing the national double last year. All the training throughout the year finally paid off.

My favourite running memory is back when I would run in the City Sports. Walking out in Pairc Ui Chaoimh to represent your school. I still remember the nerves kicking in as we toed the line.

Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

The first tip I would give to any of our members would be to focus on strength and conditioning as well as running. It will help with injury prevention and will prolong your running career. Get a plan from a recommended s&c coach that works for you and stick to it.

The second tip would be to attend as many of the club sessions as you can. The information you can take from the sessions you won’t find anywhere.

Any other comments ?
Just a thank you to Eamonn, Marian and Pat who show up to every track session and provide encouragement to every single member. Clubs wouldn’t run without people like that (pardon the pun).


Thank you Rodger! Great to get an insight into the life of a sprinter!

Why should you chill out on recovery runs?

A recovery run is important as it prevents injury and helps you improve your pace.

Speed workouts and long runs are the exciting part of training for a race. However, not every run can be fast or long! Slow runs have their place in training also. One of the most common mistakes runners make is running too fast all the time. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, if you want to run faster, sometimes you have to run slow – such as on recovery runs.

What are recovery runs?

Recovery runs are easy runs that you do at a very light, controlled effort. Typically, you do these runs when your legs are tired from previous training, but you want to get in more mileage for the week. Recovery runs are aerobically easy enough not to elicit any muscle damage or need for extra recovery. 

Contrary to popular misconception, recovery runs do not flush out lactic acid. Lactic acid typically clears shortly after a hard workout. However, a recovery run will pump oxygen-rich blood into damaged muscles. This is why you usually feel better after doing a recovery run! 

Since the goal of a recovery run is adding mileage without prolonging recovery, you want to cap recovery runs at approximately 60 minutes in duration. 

For the full article:

Essential Guide to Long Runs

Long runs are a weekly staple in most runners’ training plans. This holds as true for those training towards a 5km as it does for marathoners, with Sundays regularly put aside for long training runs.

But instead of sending runners out to simply ‘put miles in the bank’, many coaches also advocate incorporating higher-intensity workouts that challenge the body in more complex and race-specific ways.

Running longer or faster than before opens up the possibility of making big breakthroughs in your training, provided you tailor those challenging runs to your current fitness. Here, we explore just how much can you gain by experimenting with long training running.

For the full article :

Member Spotlight – Kevin O’ Donovan

In the spotlight with Kevin!

Where are you from?
Ballinhassig, a few miles outside Cork city, now living in Wilton.  Haven’t strayed far lol.

How long are you a Club member?
Joined in 2019, had done a few marathons at that stage, but my marathon times were going the wrong direction so needed some guidance on where I was going wrong.  Got a training plan from Liam D and took 15 mins off my marathon pb in Dublin that year.

What race distances are you focusing on at the moment?
Currently training for Lisbon Half marathon in March, and have Cork & Chicago marathons lined up for June/Oct.  Did Dungarvan 10 miler and signed up for Mallow 10 miler too
Will do a few shorter (5k/5 mile etc) races too here and there.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you don’t have a race that week?
Usually do 5 days, a mix of faster/harder and easy/recovery.  In my current plan Saturday is long run day but usually did my long run on Sundays before.
Current plan – Intervals Monday, recovery run Tues, Tempo session on Wed evening, rest day Thursday, recovery run on Friday and then long run on Saturday.  Rest day on Sundays.
Also have extra drills and some S&C work in the current plan which is something I’ve been meaning to add in for ages.

What does a typical training week look like for you when you do have a race that week?
Depends on how long the race is, if its a short one on the weekend might rest on the Friday, if its a bit longer race will take it easy an extra day or 2 leading up to it. Marathon week will get out maybe twice for a couple of short easy runs.

Do you have a specific goal for the season?
Main one is hoping to get a Boston Qualifying time in Chicago in October, which is about 5 mins under my current PB but with the extra few mins needed to actually get an entry.  Hopefully my times in other races will be creeping down in the meanwhile too.

What is your favourite athletics event?
I guess the marathon as that’s my main focus at the moment but for watching the track races are interesting for sheer explosive pace in the 100m, or seeing the tactical running in the longer events.

What is your favourite running memory or single biggest running achievement to date?
Hard to pick a single memory – finishing Cork half after a couple of years of injuries is up there, finishing first marathon in Cork 2016, taking 26 mins off Dublin marathon pb in 2022… 
Finally breaking 4 hours after a few years trying felt like a big achievement but I guess current 3:25 pb is the biggest achievement so far.

Do you have a top training tip for your fellow St. Finbarr’s A.C. members ?

Try to relax your body when running is one of the biggest things I’ve learned.  Can still run fast but try not to tense up.  Look at your running form too – I caused myself loads of problems early on because of poor form, did all my running with my knees which didn’t appreciate it, but now try to run more upright, engage my core and glutes instead and generally I’m staying injury free (knock on wood!!). You might save yourself energy and may actually go faster with a few little adjustments.

Any other comments ?
Glad I joined the club, a great crew, helpful approachable experienced coaches and a good atmosphere every week.  Membership is incredible value for money too.  Here’s to many more years to come!

Training Pace Calculator

Train too hard, and you’ll probably burn out or get injured. Train too easy and you simply won’t make the most of your potential – though hey, that’s perfectly okay too! But if you do want to try and get faster and bust out some PBs, then you do also need to know how hard to push on hard sessions – and then how easy to take it on easy runs.

Training by heart rate is one good way of getting it right. Using this calculator is another.

How to use the training pace calculator:

It’s very simple, just tap in a recent race time and press ‘calculate’.

The calculator will automatically show what sorts of speeds you should run the different components of a training week at (though don’t do them all in one week…!)

Click here for the full article: Runners World Training Pace Calculator

All You Need to Know About Threshold & Tempo Runs

Threshold running and tempo running are two closely related techniques for improving your endurance, speed and stamina. Threshold and tempo runs are about increasing the threshold at which your body clears lactate (lactic acid) from your bloodstream.

What is a running threshold?

When you go running, your body produces lactic acid which builds up in your bloodstream. If there is too much lactate in your blood, this causes lots of pain and will likely bring your run to a grinding halt.

Now, if you are reasonably fit, your body is able to clear most lactate whilst you are running steadily and you will not pass your lactate threshold. It is only when you sprint or go particularly fast that you start to go past this running threshold.

The good news is that you can increase the threshold at which lactate builds up with threshold and tempo runs. That means you can go faster for longer, without getting worn out.

How to calculate your running threshold

There are several ways you can figure out what your threshold running pace is. Some are technical and highly accurate, others are fairly rudimentary, but still effective:

  • Get your lactate threshold scientifically studied: If you want to know your precise running threshold, you can visit a sports science laboratory where you will run on a treadmill and have your blood tested. This data will give you the most accurate information on your lactate threshold. However, it’s an expensive process that’s only really necessary for professional runners.
  • Use a running watch: Generally speaking, your body will reach its running threshold when it is at about 85-90% of maximum heart rate. Certain kinds of running watches are able to monitor your heart rate and give you a good idea of what your threshold is.
  • Calculate against your race time:Threshold running pace is often considered to be just a little faster than your average pace at a half marathon. If you have experience of doing several races, you can use your running time to figure out your mile or kilometre speed. A threshold run is simply a little bit faster than your race speed.

If, for example, you run a mile at half marathon pace in 10 minutes, your threshold running pace would be around 9:45.

  • How it feels: This is perhaps the least scientific way of establishing your threshold running pace, yet for many runners it still gives a pretty good gauge. A threshold run is simply one that feels comfortably hard – you should not be completely out of breath as if you were taking part in a 5K race, but it should certainly be tougher than a casual jog. The point is that you should be able to continue running many miles at this speed without needing to stop.

Tempo running and threshold running

Tempo runs and threshold runs are two kinds of training which are designed to increase your running threshold. They are very similar, but there is a slight difference.

Threshold running involves running at – or just below – your current threshold level. Your body will become more efficient at clearing lactate at this pace and therefore allow you to gradually build your pace.

  • Threshold run example: If your running threshold is 10 minutes per mile, you would do a gradual warm up for two miles, then run at around 9:55 per mile for four miles, then drop back to a slower pace for the final two miles.

Tempo running involves running slightly slower than your threshold level, but for a longer distance than a threshold run. The aim is to get into a comfortable rhythm that you can sustain for a long distance. This will get your body used to running at a sustained pace for a long time – which is vital for marathon training.

  • Tempo run example: If your running threshold is 8 minutes per mile, you would do a gradual warm up for two miles, then run at around 8:15 per mile for eight miles, then drop back to a slower pace for the final two miles.

Click here for the full article: