At the 2019 VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon (from left) Laura Grant, Lorraine Murphy, Lubica Bukovcova, Silvia Koisova, Ger McAuley and Eimear Grennan.

Running Matters One:2:One with Lorraine Murphy

By Martin Lyons

This week I’m interviewing a positive local lady who enjoys the essence of running and all the joy that it brings. Lorraine Murphy started running with a local group and has since found her mojo with the Mullingar parkrun, among other parkruns, as a haven for fresh air and fun, and increased fitness!

Lorraine’s advice to anyone looking to start running, although humble to begin with, is as good as I’ve read and she is really a true advocate of its many benefits, especially to all the local ladies now thinking of giving it a go, during these tough times we live in.

Name: Lorraine Murphy

Age: 48

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

Full disclosure: I use the term running very loosely, I’m more Killinaskully than Kilimanjaro!

I started about 10 years ago, but gave up soon after. About three years ago I joined Hannah Lilly’s Beginners Run Club in Mullingar Shamrocks GAA club and that changed everything.

Her training involved mental health benefits as much as the physical benefits, and I caught the bug. Timing was unimportant, but enjoying the run and being grateful and in the moment was everything. Her teaching was that our bodies are amazing already, they don’t need to be better to run.

Around this time my husband started doing the Mullingar parkrun and my mother started Rivervalley parkrun in Dublin and they spoke so highly of it that I gave it a go.

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

My favourite type of training is either with a friend, which is as much a social connection as a run, or blaring Block Rocking Beats on replay through my earphones as I ignite the ’90s dancefloor – sorry, I mean complete my favourite distance, which is 5km!

What running achievements are you most proud of and why?

The first time I finished a 5km run without stopping to walk was amazing, but my proudest achievement is that I can run 5km while chatting and not be exhausted at the end. I never thought I’d say those words, yet here we are.

Having three generations of our family run with my mother at her 100th parkrun in Rivervalley was a special moment.

My mam, husband, son and daughter all ran while the eldest daughter took pictures and cheered us on.

It was just before lockdown and has become even more special since as they live in Dublin and everything changed after that.

Lorraine Murphy (right) with Eva Murphy (left) and Imelda Mooney, Lorraine’s mother (Note from Lorraine! My mother Imelda runs in the over 70s group and is fitter than me!)

List your current PBs for the following distances.

5k: Mullingar parkrun, June 1, 2019, 31:03

10k: VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon, about eight years ago, 76 minutes.

Marathon: walked 26.2 miles of The Moyla 50-mile challenge (2016ish) in eight hours or so.

How have the Covid-19 restrictions affected your training or racing?

I had hoped to complete 50 parkruns by the end of 2020 and then Covid hit. It has had a huge impact on me, as without the discipline and support of Blanaid, Martin, Mel and the wonderful local Mullingar and Westmeath crew every Saturday morning, I thought ‘Sure, why bother?’.

My husband and my friend encouraged me to keep going by running with me and I’m grateful that they did, because I wouldn’t have motivated myself.

The coronavirus has taken a huge toll on our mental health and motivation and just getting through it is a success at this stage.

Running has helped me to manage this time in a way that nothing else does.

I have started ‘Not parkruns’, which allow you to log your times weekly and is a great motivator to keep you at it. It’s well worth checking out, and it’s free!

What advice or training tips would you give to anyone who is now looking to take up running?

I’m hardly a professional on this one, but I’ll share what worked for me! I got out of my own way. The only person stopping me, was me, and that was ridiculous.

I started in an absolute beginners group and having the weekly meet-up with a friend is something I look forward to. Now further into lockdown, committing to ‘Not parkrun’ is my motivator.

Buying good runners was a great tip I got, and they are the only expensive thing I wear. They’re still cheaper than my teenager’s runners!

Ladies, especially mothers, if you suffer from ‘the problem’, don’t let that stop you. We are blessed to have physios in town who deal with this issue, including Mullingar Physiotherapy.

Just show up. I don’t overthink it or wait for the mood to hit me; it meets me along the way and I’m in great form for the rest of the day. I never regret a run.

Try it. I realised nobody cares what I look like, people are too busy living their own lives. It’s fresh air, vitamin D, movement and 30 or so minutes where my thoughts are my own and they start to make sense. If I can do it, you can do it and you’ll feel bloody amazing for it!

What are your lifetime goals or PBs?

My goal is to complete a 5km in under 30 minutes and to keep enjoying every single run. I’m so aware that running is an activity denied to many. I think of the words of local man Gerry Duffy, “I don’t have to run, I get to run”, wise words and now more than ever, poignant and true.

What is your favourite post race meal?

Nothing tastes as nice as a good coffee and a bowl of cereal when I get home – just bliss!