Running Matters One:2:One with Rebecca Carroll

(Above) Rebecca Training for an Ironman with Henry, July 2018.

By Martin Lyons

This lady started running to challenge herself, to see if she could do it, and the resounding answer in Rebecca Carroll’s case is: Yes she can!

The longer the distance, the more she enjoys it. Not only has she tackled running successfully, much of it with her beloved late dog, Henry, who meant the world to her, she is also a great participant and volunteer at the parkrun in Mullingar and has challenged herself in many other disciplines.

Her list of accomplishments thus far is impressive and she also a couple of other longer terms goals she hopes to achieve, further afield.

There’s no doubt she has a great sense of adventure and a wonderful, carefree attitude to trying new things, something that will certainly stand to her as she conquers even more goals in the future.

Name: Rebecca Carroll

DOB: 8/7/75

When did you start running and what motivated you take it up?

I started running about seven or eight years ago, and the simplest answer was really just to see if I could do it. I also hated walking! I find it monotonous, so running was then the natural option.

What is your favourite and least favourite type of training and your favourite race distance?

My favourite training runs would be long, slow runs or any runs or events I did with my dog Henry, who made running so much fun, kept me motivated and was really the best companion to have. My favourite races would be anything up to marathon distance and over. My least favourite races or training is anything to do with speed, such as 5ks.

What running achievements are you most proud of and why?

My first marathon in Longford (Royal Canal) in April 2015, where I was inspired by Gerry Duffy’s book to complete a marathon.

I ran all my long miles solo and ran with the Tyrrellspass Up & Running group for shorter distances, or when I could. They were a tremendous support to me and an excellent group to run with for all levels of walkers and runners. Two years later, several members of the group ended up doing their first marathon in Dublin. My motto is, if I can do it, anyone can!

A few more to mention: completing the 50-miler in Moylagh for LARCC and ICS in June 2016, and I came home third lady. I also learned how to swim, to take part in an Ironman (Celtic Warrior in Lilliput), in August 2018.

I like to do the Mullingar parkrun whenever I can, whether walking, running or volunteering. It’s a nice route, with good support for any level.

I also enjoy cycling with The Streamstown Cycle Club and I have completed the Galway to Dublin charity cycles and a 200km Audax in Birr. This club allows for all levels and allows me the flexibility that my personality brings.

I have also completed four marathons in four days, in Wicklow in July 2018, as well as completing the Belfast to Dublin ultra marathon (107 miles), in March 2018.

I have done a few 24-hour events – in Sept 2017 (Listowel), Sept 2018 (Listowel), and another in June 2019, which are some of my favourite events.

My latest achievement was to go for a dip in Lilliput on Christmas Day. I joined the Lakeland Chilly Dippers and started dipping (trying to get used to the cold water, without a wetsuit) in September. This group is amazing and every day you get into the cold water, it is a little mini challenge for me, but the feeling it gives you is exhilarating and is also good for muscle recovery, along with so many other benefits.

List your current PBs for the following distances.

Mile: 6mins 50secs, Lilliput 5km series April 2019.

5k: 22mins 30secs, Castletown Geoghegan 5km, raising funds for local school (hilly), Nov 2019.

10-mile: 1hr 22mins Ardagh, 10 (hilly), Longford, Dec 2019.

Half marathon: 1hr 58mins,, Rosemount (hilly), Oct 2019.

Full marathon: 4hrs 29mins, Dublin, Oct 2017.

What are your running goals for the next 12 months?

I like to push the boundaries and love new challenges, whether it’s walking, running, cycling, swimming or kayaking. The Great Wall of China is on my bucket list (but maybe just not at this time!), and the Transylvania 100km is something I’d like to tackle in the future. I was meant to do the Belfast to Dublin return (214 miles) ultra marathon in April, which is the longest ultra you can do in Ireland, but when I lost Henry I lost the pep in my step, so maybe next year I will do it.

What advice would you give to anyone who is looking to take up running?

Do what makes you happy – everyone is different and do not compare yourself with others. Just smile, believe in yourself and breathe! Running makes you discover who you really are. You find out a lot about yourself and it makes me believe anything is possible. Also if you are not enjoying something – change it! Finally, be good to yourself.

What are your lifetime goals and/or PBs for the following distances?

I’ve been saying for a number of years that I will do a four-hour marathon, but I need to train for it, and when it comes to training, I have no discipline. I tend to sign up for things at the last minute and run how I feel when I feel like it. To do it any other way would almost be like changing my personality, but also I just don’t have the time. For now, any race distance – being at the start line is the bravest thing I can do and is in fact I believe, the bravest thing anyone can do!

What is your favourite post race meal?

I tend to like a bit of everything, so anything works really!

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