Road Running

An insight into a legend: Run with Catherina

When Catherina McKiernan turned to the roads in 1997 she found what she was made to do. A human locomotive whose efficiency saw her record the fastest women’s debut marathon in Berlin and go on to win the London and Amsterdam marathons.

“If there is such a thing as a human engine designed specifically to run a marathon then I was probably born with it,” said McKiernan in her book Running for my Life with Ian O’Riordan.

Making the engine required specific preparation set by coach Joe Doonan along with physiological test in Trinity College. She gives us an insight below with a week’s training in the build-up to the Berlin marathon.

Budding athletes young and old will also get the rare opportunity to run alongside Olympian and European Champion Catherina McKiernan, as the third annual Run with Catherina event, sponsored by Liberty Insurance, returns as part of a two day festival of sport and fitness this 10th and 11th October.

Expanded to include a 5KM and 10KM race, a sports and nutrition expo, a health and fitness conference, and a 50KM and 100KM Cycle Sportif, this year’s expanded Run with Catherina is a reflection of the growing popularity of the event, which attracted over 800 runners on to the streets of Cavan last year. This year’s event will also raise funds for Enable Ireland Cavan Branch. You can enter the event here

The 2-days of running and cycling will be held in honour of cross-country superstar Catherina McKiernan, who won a gold medal at the 1994 Cross Country European Championships, alongside four consecutive World Championship silver medals (you can watch the 1993 championships in Amorbieta below), represented Ireland at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and won the 1998 London Marathon.

Catherina McKiernan 27172c8

Speaking at the launch, Cornafean native Catherina said she was “really looking forward” to the newly expanded event, now entering its third year. “Running is getting more and more popular, and it’s great to see so many people out there running. For me personally,

I’m very excited and very honoured to see so many people taking part in an event under my name,” said Catherina.

“When I was competing it was a bit of a rat race and I didn’t take a step back to enjoy it, so it’s nice that I’m now able to enjoy my success and it’s great that the people of Cavan and the athletics family can come out with me to celebrate that success.”

Sample week’s training leading up to the Berlin marathon in 1997

Monday: 60 minute run in Phoenix Park and stretching

Morning Pulse:38

Tuesday: 2 hours run in Malahide

Morning pulse: 39

Wednesday: 60 mins pre-breakfast run @8:55am and stretching afterwards

At 5pm: 20 mins run, 16x60m, 20 mins run. Both runs in Phoenix Park

Morning Pulse: 39

Thursday: 15 mins warm-up, 5 by 12 mins with 90 seconds recovery, 20 mins run after session in Malahide Castle

Morning pulse: 38

Friday: 55 mins run in Phoenix Park @12pm

Morning pulse: 38

Saturday: 15 mins run, 60 mins threshold, 20 mins run in Malahide

Morning pulse: 39

Sunday: 2 hours 30 mins in Malahide @10am with group

Morning pulse: 38

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and the Guardian. He is also a regular contributor to Runner's World.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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