Blog: Harrington dares to dream on Ethiopian expedition

Some people have literally laughed in Chris Harrington’s face when he’s told them about his dream – to run on the world stage for Ireland. In his early 30s with five kids, a wife and a full-time job as a builder, Harrington has packed his bags and gone to Ethiopia on a training camp.
Not too long ago Harrington smoked 40 cigarettes a day and weighed 14.5 stone (203 pounds) but now is dreaming the impossible dream. And why not. The Cork man who runs for Leevale is chasing his dream and has the most important person believing in him, himself.
Chris will be writing a regular blog for Jumping The Gun and also posting on his own site
Blog 1: Chasing the dream
by Chris Harrington
I’m lacing up my runners for the last time in my beautiful city of Cork before I go on a training camp and adventure to Ethiopia. As we say here “it’s pissing raining” and quickly the thought of fine 23 degree heat in Ethiopia puts a smile on my face. I’m off to Ethiopia in a couple of hours for 31 days to train in 9000ft of altitude. This is all for a couple of key races I’ve planned for this year.  This trip was always at the back of my mind.
It’s the cumulation of a lot of sacrifices,hard work & commitment over a couple of years. I had to save my ass of to get the funds for this trip. Believe me I had many a quiet day (being in the construction sector through a recession is not fun) but no matter how quiet my days were or if the kids needed new runners, school trips etc, I made sure I worked extra hours to achieve this goal.
Believe me when the house has 5 kids along with my wife and I, money never gets saved the way you would hope to. There’s always something needed. There where days I was physically exhausted with working full time, 80+ hours some weeks (I’m a Mason by trade, Now I build houses, commercial buildings, extensions etc. for people from start to finish, 5 kids along with their training, the school runs, my own full-time training, I also coach to give back, and not forgetting my marriage – it’s very important to have time for the loved one in your life. I just kept focused on Ethiopia, kept focused on the Dream, my Vision! You would be very surprised when you’re positive in your life just how many positive outcomes come to you. I don’t do negative. It’s not right for anyone!
Suddenly, another thought just dawns on me: I’m leaving in a couple of hours, scared, anxious, excited, sad – it’s the first time being away from my family. Every emotion hits me in a few mere seconds like the beating rain and wind I’m up against for my run. Will Herself be ok with all the kids? The poor girl will probably be hairless when I get back. Minding five kids on any given Sunday is a day’s work, never mind 31 days. She also took time off her work for my trip.Madness creeps in – “What the fuck am I up to? Get it together Chris, you’re going to do this.” Another one of my mantras takes over. I’m reminding myself assertively “You want something, go get it, no bullshit excuses, just go get it! If you wait for a right time, you’ll never start.”

I’ve always been a believer if you really want something out of life you just have to go and get it. Whether that be a career, a big contract,  becoming self employed, doing well in exams, running a company, ambition to become a doctor, nurse, whatever, just go get it! Put the work in. Will it be easy? No, but life isn’t all straight lines and plain sailing. It’s ups and downs, ins and outs. Keep moving forward!
My current ambition (amongst other goals I have, note to self – don’t just have one goal) is to represent my country in Athletics on a world stage! A feat, considering I only took the sport up a few years back, with this year it becoming serious, coupled with having no previous sporting background. Pre-running I weighed 14.5 stone (I lost over 4.5 to date pursuing my dream). I used to smoke 40 cigarettes per day & being a 32 year-old married man with five kids might seem an unrealistic task to you. Not me though!Many laugh, and actually have laughed in my face when I’ve told my dream. You have to not worry what what other people think, especially when it’s   covered in negativity.

Some people are scared of life – scared to chase their dreams. I know most people are afraid to fail!  Failure is not final, failure is the mother of success. Thomas Edison once said he didn’t fail 10,000 times trying to create the lightbulb, he just found 10,000 ways not to create the lightbulb. Imagine if one Walt Disney took his rejection to heart when he got fired for not being “creative enough.” We would never have had the great brand Disney today
Don’t be afraid to fail. I say, go after & get those dreams, No matter how big or small they may be! All you need is one person to believe in you,
I’ll be blogging and tweeting about this experience and life and much, much more.

Now where’s my rain jacket.

Chris started running in 2009 and his personal bests are below:
400m: 55 seconds
800m: 1:59
1500m: 4:01
5k: 15.03
4 miles: 19.58
5 miles: 24:58
10 miles: 52.03
All of the above were in 2012 – I missed all of 2013 with surgery on my right knee.
It took me the whole year to rebuild in 2014, to get back to where I left off. And on dec just gone I got a 30 second pb in the Waterford 1/2 marathon in a time of 69:09 which told me I’m back.

My 1st and only marathon to date was Cork City back in 2011 (I was only running 1 1/2 years) when I came 11th in 2:39 
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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.


  1. Garry Lee
    January 3, 2015 at 7:02 pm — Reply

    Put on yer coat!

  2. January 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm — Reply

    Hey Chris,

    Fair play to you, I’m jealous! You are going on a journey though that will conceivably change your life. You will experience things that will stay with you forever. It is very difficult leaving the family behind for a month, to run. All sorts of things will go through your mind, but whatever happens, you will come out of it a better person.
    As far as running for your country, why the hell not, you’ve done the hard part, saying it in public, if you really believe it, it will happen.
    All the best,

  3. Chris
    January 4, 2015 at 9:16 am — Reply

    Thanks Paul, very nice words.

    I hope your well


  4. Niall
    January 4, 2015 at 11:10 am — Reply

    Inspirational Chris, you are an example for all of us to follow, best of luck with the training.

  5. Chris
    January 4, 2015 at 9:59 pm — Reply

    Go Chris!!!

  6. Chris
    January 5, 2015 at 9:23 am — Reply

    Thanks Niall & Chris

  7. January 30, 2015 at 11:37 am — Reply

    Hi Chris! I really didn’t know what an interesting person I had met at Yaya Village until now I read on your blog! Very interesting journey you have made
    It was very nice to meet you at Yaya even it was a short time. A very happy and positive guy with a lot of smile and sense of humor and enjoyed a lot with people around you!!

    Will be interesting to follow you!

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