Competitor Spotlight – Padraig O’Connor

//Competitor Spotlight – Padraig O’Connor

Competitor Spotlight – Padraig O’Connor

Competitor Spotlight – Week 6.

Our next competitor to go under the spotlight approached me at Quest Glendalough last Saturday out of the hustle and bustle of excited racers doing last minute checks, warm ups and carb intakes. From answering race query online earlier in the week, Padraig spotted my branded kayathlon.ie base layer top and came to chat about the upcoming race. We were both like kids on Christmas Eve. Albeit older kids, but kids never the less. We exchanged tips and tricks about getting around the course in neck breaking speed(or at least dreaming that we could fulfill such ideas) and went off to do our own last minute checks.

Next time our paths crossed was after the race at the finish line. Padraig looked rather more fresh faced than I but both agreed, we had a cracking race and were gunning for more road. In exchange for my priceless pre-race advise(not), Padraig kindly agreed to going up the Spotlight.

So here we go…Enjoy 🙂

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What is your name?
Padraig O’Connor

How old are you?
43

Where are you from?
From Knocknagoshel in North Co Kerry but living in Co Meath.

Occupation
Production Engineer.

What got you into Adventure/Multi-sport racing?
I started running a few years ago, did a few marathons, then started cycling as well…I don’t swim and didn’t have much of an interest in it so triathlons weren’t an option…while living in Portland in Oregon for a while with work I developed an interest in trail running and hiking. I didn’t really know or hadn’t heard of Adventure races at that time so I did a few things like Hell and Back and a few smaller events….then I discovered Killarney Adventure Race and signed up for the 70km there, not really knowing what was ahead of me…the Mangerton section going up nearly broke me but coming back down that section was a different story and by the time I got back to torc I was aware of 3 things: I had cramping in one leg and blisters on the other leg, I should have trained properly and lastly that I couldn’t wait to do the next event.

How many races have you done? 
12

When was your first race? 
2014

Which race was it?
Probably count Megalithic Man in Loughcrew as the first …which had a hike-a-bike section where you actually had to carry your bike on your shoulder about 1km up the side of a hill…but first proper race with Kayak and mountain run was Killarney Adventure Race 70km (now Quest)

Favorite race?
Sea to Summit supreme in Westport or Quest October 60km in Killarney.

Dream race?
In Ireland I’d like to do The Race…it looks like a good tough challenge…maybe in the next few years! Other than that a nice all downhill scenic course with plenty of beer at the finish!

What inspires you?
Doing something challenging and pushing outside the comfort zone…there are some amazing places in this country that you’d never see if you don’t go off the beaten trail a bit, I love the quiteness and fresh air when you are up on the side of a mountain or hill, fresh air…and rain!

What’s the plans for the upcoming calendar year?
There’s the must do events for me which are Quest Glendalough, Quest Killarney in October, Dublin Marathon, Sea to Summit Westport in November and then hopefully get 3 or so more AR’s between Moxie, DAR, Gaelforce West and some of the new ones that are appearing all the time, I think there is a new one down around Slieve Bloom that looks interesting.

I’ll sign up for a few IRMA races (Sugar bowl, Howth, Carrauntoohill etc…) as well, they are very well run, great value and great scenery.

I’ve always fancied having a go at the Red Bull 400 so I’ve signed up for that in Germany in July, should be a bit of a laugh anyway! I’ll try and get the Dublin marathon done as well, this will be my 6th year to do it….and I’ll finish off the year with IMRA Powerscourt Ridge in Nov

What music are you currently listening to when out?
It varies between dodgy 80’s music, a bit of chart and Bruce Springsteen/U2 type stuff

Runner of choice?
Salomon Speedcross for trail and Asics Kayano for road.

Bike of choice?

Carbon Felt F4 for decent roads

Trek 1.5 for the events with rough and off road

Lapeirre hardtail 29er for rare occasions I can get up to the mountain.

Week before race…what do you do?
Long cycle on the Sunday, 10-15k run on the Monday, then scale back the training… 5k run on Wednesday/Thursday, not too intense and then rest for a day or 2. Try and get a decent sleep the 2-3 nights before. Usually prep the bike and gear (and find the mandatory kit) a day or so before and also stay focused on cutting out the bad food and stuff the week before!

Morning of race…what do you do?
Normally have things ready the night before so load up the car, double check the bike, get the breakfast in to me and head off and get a coffee along the way.

Any race superstitions?
Not really too superstitious, usually wear the same gear to each race so that’s a bit superstitious I suppose.

Any embarrassing moments you wish to share?
Nothing too bad….the usual falling off the bike at transition trying to unclip or get the foot out of the cages…although in one of the normal road races a few years ago the elastic snapped in shorts and I had to run 5 miles holding them up.

Ideal distance?

50-60km…I’m not a very fast runner on the flat so I definitely prefer the hillier courses, and the view at the top of the hills is normally worth the effort to climb up there!

Post-race…do you spoil yourself, if so, how?
If it’s an away event and staying over then hot tub, a few beers and some decent food followed by chocolate and junk food!

IMG_2012Strangest thing you have seen on a race?
During a run on Carrauntoohil about 50m from the top I met a group on their way down which had one fella in a suit and leather slip-on shoes…probably the bus driver who decided last minute he wanted go on the hike too…also, at Gaelforce Dublin this year there was a guy with a very expensive TT bike with deep carbon wheels, in a dirt track, in a foot of water, on a mountain…it just looked out of place.

Most beautiful scenery?
I’m biased but definitely The Black Valley in the October Killarney courses

Hydration/Gels? Do you use them? Do you use any particular brands?
Yes…don’t have a particular favorite brand but usually use Hi-5 and SIS. Normally 2 water bottles, one with electrolytes (dioralyte or Zero type stuff) and then one with water.

Sporting Hero?
Don’t really have one…I admire what different people have done in their sports or what they bring to their sport…I think there’s not enough characters in sport anymore, the Ronnie O’Sullivans…the naturally talented, unpredictable ones that make you want to watch the sport…its becoming very clinical and predictable in some sports.

Advice for absolute beginners?
Go out and sign up for an Adventure race immediately…and just enjoy the first one…don’t be stressing about transitions or the Kayak section or times or anything…have fun. Start with a short event which has all the disciplines so you get a good idea of what they are about…most races now have a mini or intro course.

Do you have any social media links we can follow your progress on?
Nothing yet other than Strava! https://www.strava.com/athletes/2830068

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If you know of anyone who would like to go under the spotlight, email us at greg@kayathlon.ie.

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