Meet our Athletes,Irene Curley

Posted by Ciaran Tobin on 11 June 2020

Out of Africa

Via Longwood with a grá for the cross country

Rift Valley influence rubbed off on her !!!



1.When did you start running

I wasn’t very sporty as a kid, and didn’t really partake in team sports.  We went overseas in 2007 and with the constant sunshine of Uganda I found my legs, with the company of two mad dogs on leads, much to the amusement of the locals.  But I realized then that I really enjoyed running and once you make it a regular thing it wasn’t so hard. I started running in 10k races and progressed to half marathon for my 40th.


2. When did you join Trim AC ?

When we returned from overseas adventure about 4 years ago to Longwood, I was a bit lost and running around the roads on my own.  Living in a new place not knowing many people, someone mentioned Ciaran and joining Trim AC. And thanks to Barry Clarke who picked me up in Longwood one evening and dropped me in the thick of it in Porchfields and I never looked back! Everyone was so welcoming.  I love putting on the red/white vest for races.  Trim AC is so well known and respected, people are always shouting out on race events, and it gives you such boost.


3. Why do you run?

Lots of people have mentioned the head-space, and I definitely agree with that.  It clears all the tension of the day.  My husband Sean will sometimes gently remind me that I should go for a run (for the families sake)!!  Great to run with a group of people and lift your spirits, the social element is important and you know you’ve found your tribe.  But I also love the surroundings when running by myself, really seeing the natural beauty around us.  I am very lucky to have the canal on the doorstep, it’s a great amenity like the porchfields to get lost in (and then Sean has to send a search party out!)


4.Favourite event, race or competition (other than a Trim AC event)?

I love/hate the Bob Heffernan 5k – it’s the one that kick starts the summer running.  Its very well supported, and well organised – and a lovely friendly gathering after.  The small local events are great to support, you feel you are contributing to sense of community. 

My DCM in 2017 will always be up there as highlight. I was injured after all the training, but still did it just over the 4hrs, my parents surprised me on mile 25, it was so tough and so emotional.  But I underestimated the power of club support on such an event, it was electric seeing so many all through the course, but I think Paula & Co enthusiasm on mile 22 carried me over!!

5.What do you crave after a race?

Cup of tea/coffee

6.Pre-race meal?

Flavahans are getting great marketing with this answer, can’t be beat!

7. Miles/Km

Km for short races, definitely miles for long (feels like there are less of them to do)

8 Any race superstition

None really, I like no. 6’s or 7’s in my number…not that it makes me run any faster.

9. Track/road or XC?

I mostly on the canal, but really enjoy the XC races.


10. Favourite type of training?

Short speed sessions, I find them tough but realise how much they push you on and give you that edge for shorter races.


11.Who is your athletics hero ?

Sonia O’Sullivan would have to be up there, being a young Irish girl and watching one of our own, and the burst of emotion and pride. And as so many have echoed some brilliant ambassadors in Trim AC that always encouraging others.  There is nothing like the roar of Ciaran or Sean as you approach a finish that puts a pep in your step!


12. What is your best memory from the sport?

Again it would have been watching Sonia and her 5000m run in 1995.  Another would be Kiprotich, the Ugandan who came out of nowhere and won gold in Olympics in 2012.  He didn’t even have his flight to London and had to find willing sponsors.  Extraordinary achievement against so many odds. 


13. What is the best race or athletics competition you ever watched but did not take part in?

I guess it would be the first DCM that I went to support a friend from UK in back in 2016. It was unreal watching the raw energy and efforts, the huge numbers of runners and spectators.  The surprise at seeing runners dropping at the last km, all the personal stories and the heros running for their causes .  I realized then I would put the training in and try and be on the starting line myself.  


14. What aspect of the sport gives you satisfaction?

After a race, especially after you know you’ve pushed yourself, and meeting your club mates and all the post race analysis, everyone is so encouraging, and you know it was worth it.


15. How important is group training to you ?

Really important to be part of a group.  I’m a great person to make a plan with myself and let myself down.  When you have to be at training with others, you make the effort and force yourself out in all weathers.  I’m lucky that we have a group of runners here in Longwood so we get to train together too and push each other on.


16. Has the sport influenced life in general ?

Immensely so.  I’m not sure what I would be filling my time with, esp 3 months into lockdown and still haven’t cleaned the house? I love that my kids see running as normal part of family life, that they’ll get their bikes and cycle with me or accept that long run means gone for hours! Its so beneficial for your mental health, and it costs nothing (apart from the fancy gear, must have runners, physio sessions, race entries, post race indulgences, and all the rest!)


17.Do you listen to music, podcasts or the natural world while running ?

I used to always listen to music up until 3 years ago.  But now I’m used to running without and taking in the sounds and sights around.  During the Covid season on the longer lonely runs I was listening to easy listening podcasts.

18. What advice would you give a new member ?

We can be all guilty of thinking we are not good enough, not as fast as, not as much free time as etc.  Just think about competing against yourself, better yourself each time if it means just turning up training,  knocking a second off your last race, or managing to run an extra km in a week.  Don’t get caught up with competing with others.  Get enjoyment out of your little achievements.  Being in a club is brilliant, there is always someone to run at your level, get advice from (you don’t have to take it), great sense of family and support, and everyone of us has started with that first step….just keep running!


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We have juvenile and adult training groups. We cover track and field, cross country, road running and trail/ mountain running. Club coaches have undertaken Athletics Ireland coaching courses and many of them bring years of experience and knowledge to share with members.

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