Fresh from her heroics at Gaelforce Dublin, we caught up with top ladies podium placer in the Expert route, Aine Mahony. She kindly agreed to go under the Spotlight.
What is your name? Aine Mahony
Where are you from? Cullahill, Co.Laois
How old are you? 30
Occupation? Physiotherapist in the Mater University Hospital, Dublin
What got you into Adventure racing?
I had just moved back from Australia in 2014 after 3 years there and was finding it hard to adjust to life back home. Injuries had forced me to quit camogie so I really needed something to fill my spare time. So when my brother in law said he was doing a 70km adventure race in Killarney with a few of his friends I thought that this was the perfect event to train for to keep me busy. I was also single at the time and was promised there would be lots of “hot, single, athletic men”…..!
How many races have you done?
Quest Killarney, Quest Glendalough, Lillyput Adventure race, Gaelforce West, Gaelforce Womens Adventure race, Dingle Adventure race x2 , Dublin Gaelforce x 2 , Slieve Bloom Adventure race
Each race has its own stunning scenery- I think we are very lucky to live in a country like this and doing adventure races is a fantastic way to see parts of the country you wouldn’t otherwise see. Favourite memories include Quest Glendalough in 2015- A beautiful Crisp sunny day.
If you could design your own course/race, what would be in it?
I’d design a course in my home village of Cullahill in Laois. We have Cullahill “mountain” on our doorstep so anytime i’m home and am running around the mountain or cycling I always picture the route i’d set up- the views are unreal of up to 7 counties.
You recently bagged top honours at Gaelforce Dublin. In order to get there, you must undergo a gruelling training schedule. What would your average training week compromise of?
I come from a large family- 1 brother and 6 sisters and we all love to be active and maybe a bit competitive so there is always someone to train with. I live for the weekends, you just cant beat being outside to train. I’d usually do a long hilly cycle at the weekend with my boyfriend Paddy- he claims he is the reason my cycling has improved! And then I’d do a long run the following day. During the week I might go for a tempo run or spin class.
What’s the plans for the upcoming calendar year?
I hope to do Quest Glendalough, the Blackstairs Adventure Race, Dingle with my sisters for their significant birthday and then Quest 12. I’m excited and nervous for Quest 12 but drawn to it because of the challenge and scenery!
What inspires you?
I think the great outdoors and nature at its best inspires me. Sometimes you just have to stop and appreciate the fact that you are lucky enough to be fit and able to run, cycle, walk, hike or kayak in the most beautiful parts of the country.
Which would you consider your strongest discipline…Kayaking, running or cycling?
Definitely cycling- I got a new bike last year and love going out for the hills. Kayaking is abit of an unknown to me, although I’ve signed up for Quest 12 where there is a 7km kayak so i might have to practice this a bit more now this year. Running is running, I love the trails but would be a bit slower than the rest of my sisters in this area.
Runner of Choice
Bike of Choice
My new Giant Advanced Avail- I love it
Do you use GPS watch? If so, which one?
Week before race…what do you do?
Very little! I’m a big believer in resting the week before a race. Might do one short sharp run midweek
Morning of race…what do you do?
I make sure I get up about 3 hours before hand to have a big bowel of porridge. Ive gotten up for porridge in places when people were only coming home from a night out. I usually question my sanity at this time
Any embarrassing moments you wish to share?
Both myself and my friend Caroline had trained really hard for Gaelforce West and we were really excited about doing it. But on the Tuesday before it I was using my racer bike for work- to do home visits in around Dublin North inner city when I literally blinked and the bike was stolen. I was in the floods of tears- mainly because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do the race. I called 999, and the Garda couldn’t make me out, she told me to go to the station. So I was bawling in the Garda station and they didnt know what was wrong with me. I was trying to explain why i was so upset but they thought I had been attacked. In the end i had to call my friend Caroline who i worked with to come and get me and we explained that I was supposed to be doing Gaelforce West in 4 days and now I had no bike. I’m not sure they got the urgency of the problem. Just another bike stolen to them! Luckily a good friend lent me her bike for the race!
Post-race…do you spoil yourself, if so, how?
Yes, I love my food! And I’d be a fan of a good bottle of red wine. If i’m feeling extravagant I’ll look to stay in a hotel with a nice pool/spa area.
Some people race for the medals, some for the jerseys, are you either of these people?
I wouldn’t say I race for them but I do have all the medals, jerseys, race numbers and time sheets.
Most beautiful scenery?
Every race has its own stunning scenery, I cant pick one. I guess the weather helps
Hydration/Gels? Do you use them? Do you use any particular brands?
Yes i use Powerbar Hydrogels
Advice for absolute beginners?
Don’t be put off by the overall distance. Just break it down into the stages. Train slowly and steadily- don’t shock your system if you are only starting. It’s a marathon not a sprint! And get your friends to do it too- it definitely helps.
Do you have any social media links we can follow your progress on?
I love instagram @mahonyaine