By Jennifer Tanner - Club Secretary
Today is International Women’s Day 2023. To celebrate this I want to share with you a snippet of the amazing and inspiring women we have in our club. I have met many many inspiring women in LSA, mums who run right up to near the end of a pregnancy, mums who return to running after having a baby and we’ve had a few with twins too. Others who work full time or stay at home, have a busy family life and still find the time to run. Women who inspire others running marathons and half marathons and national and international track events. For me though I am totally inspired by every woman who takes on a C25K and smashes it. Doesn’t matter how long it takes and if they need to do it a few times. The fact that they have put themselves forward, out of their comfort zone is truly inspiring.
For me sport, especially athletics has always been a big part of my life. It gave me determination, a never give up attitude to life and I hope I have shared that with athletes in LSA, along with all our amazing coaches. If I was to talk to my 17 year old self I would say never give up running no matter what happens in life.
Finally, a special mention to a very brave lady recovering from a recent operation. Ceire get well soon and we all look forward to seeing you back training with us in the near future.
Here are a few of our amazing inspiring women and their stories. And not to forget our inspiring little ladies too.
Club Chairperson, Little Athletics Head Coach and World and European Masters Champion - DaraDara pictured competing for Ireland in Masters Relay
1. How long are you in LSA? I co founded the club back in 2011 with Jennifer Tanner and Gerry Ronan. I took on the Chairperson role and have been Chairperson for most of the life span of the club.
2. What's your position ? Athlete & Coach. Chairperson, Development Officer Juvenile Co- Ordinator, Summer Camp Co ordination, Little Athletics head coach.
3. Which group do you run with or Coach? I love athletics especially track and field and am part of our T&F Competition group. I coach the ever growing Little Athletics group.
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? It has given me the opportunity to be instrumental in setting up a community club that is there for the benefit of both woman and men and to become a leader in sport and also work with other great woman who are terrific woman leaders. It has given me the opportunity to return to a sport that I always loved as a child and teenager. It’s been so rewarding to develop and learn along the way and to build something that makes a difference.
5. What is your biggest achievement to date as a female athlete or Coach or both in the club? There have been many club achievements that I’m extremely proud of. On a personal level It was always a dream of mine to compete for Ireland and last year I brought back two gold medals from the World & European Masters Relay events. I am extremely proud of all of our members both adult and juvenile. I am immensely proud of Junior athlete, Anna Gavigan whose hard work and dedication to her sport inspires me.
From Our Fit For Life Group - AislingAisling - Pictured here with running buddies Marie, Amy and Morag
1. How long are you in LSA? I joined as part of a couch to 5k in April 2022.
2. What's your position - Athlete, Coach, Athlete & Coach? Athlete
3. Which group do you run with or Coach? The best group!! Fit for life!
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? Absolutely! Obviously I am fitter and healthier. I can run up and down stairs in work while talking! I enjoy my kids more, playing with them, running after them none of it is a chore! The biggest change however is the feeling of being part of a local community! I’ve made very good friends who I know will now always be part of my life! As a busy working mammy I often struggled to prioritize time for myself, now I meet my pals a few times a week and we laugh from one end of the peninsula to the other!
5. What is your biggest achievement to date as a female athlete or Coach or both in the club? The obvious answer is the half marathon our group completed before Christmas which was a HUGE milestone achievement I’m extremely proud of! However, I think my biggest personal achievement was getting out of the car the first night at c25k and joining! It can be scary to try new things and go outside our comfort zones but I am so glad I did it. A close friend Marie brought me along and it was a real example of how we as women can support, encourage and influence each other - I will be forever grateful for that!
From Our Intermediate Group - CiaraCiara - Pictured here at her 50th Parkrun with Ali
1. How long are you in LSA? Joined in November 2021
2. What's your position - Athlete, Coach, Athlete & Coach? Athlete
3. Which group do you run with or Coach? Intermediate
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? Having never run before, I started my running adventure as a New Year’s resolution with parkrun on the 4th January 2020. The youngest in our family were 12 month old twins at this point. So I needed the headspace and time for being “me” again. I averaged one 5km run each week until November 2021 when I joined LSA….what a game changer because it snowballed from there! I’ve run regularly since then (most notably after 9pm when the kiddos are asleep - forever running 👸 of the night 🤣). It’s become my “life hack” and I couldn’t live without it. I’ve never regretted a run or race (ahem, ahem….with the exception of Clontarf Half in Nov 2022! 🙄 - yes I’m still moaning about this race!), I always come back a happier person, and I feel more organised in my head.
5. What is your biggest achievement to date as a female athlete or Coach or both in the club?
1. With the support & guidance of LSA, I’ve gone from 5km to completing my first marathon & it’s all truly because of the power & energy within this amazing group 💙💛. The discipline required to get to the start line of the marathon was life changing and that final lap of honour with team LSA made it all worthwhile. My next goal would be to complete one of the six world major marathons (I had thought I’d be a “one and done” marathoner but, clearly, I was fooling myself!). From that point, it’s a slippery slope ….LSA, what have you started?!!
2. My 50th parkrun was also a very memorable moment for me. Amazing Ali rocked up with homemade cupcakes for the event 🎉. Coffee and treats afterwards, with the LSA crew, topped off the morning!
From Our Advanced Intervals Group - Eimear
1. How long are you in LSA? I’m in LSA 3 years this summer, I was at the very first LSA intervals session set up by and Shane and Jen, think there were 6 of us at that first session Mary, Rita, Andy, Shane and Fintan. It’s wonderful to see how much the adult group has grown since.
2. Position Athlete and Juvenile coach
3. Group I run with Shane’s advanced and Stevens long Interval group on a Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. 2 top class coaches who’s sessions certainly get improvements.
I also coach the 2010, 2011 juvenile group on a Thursday night.
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? Athletics has made a huge difference to me, my life is hectic working full time and a busy mam. I really need running to switch of. As much as I’m known to have a little tantrum about a long run come marathon training or a hard interval session I know if I didn't run I would struggle with everything else, I think I’d actually go crazy without it. It certainly helps create balance.
I’ve made a lot of really good friends through sport, friendships I’ll cherish.
5. My biggest achievement in 2022 was the National gold medal in the half marathon national championship, and the Leinster gold in the 1500m track. Also proud of the steeple chase out of my dept but so much fun.
As a coach I love seeing how brilliant the young athletes are doing, they are so determined and talented, our future junior and senior teams are looking very promising, so proud of them all
There are so many fabulous women in the club it would be hard to mention everyone but special thanks to Jen and Dara who keep everything going and Louise for making sure our juvenile athletes have every opportunity to get out there and compete. I don’t know how they do all they do 💙
We maybe a small club but we have some seriously talented and tenacious ladies,
Dara inspirational with European and world medals, Anna Gavigan smashing records a future Olympian for sure, so many ladies in the club took on their first marathon, Yvonne, Sinead, Sarah and Mary making club history taking on the Gowran road race and bringing home championship medals, Suzannes monthly marathons , Alex taking on the gruelling New York Marathon, Ali getting ready to take on London and Clodagh our junior Dublin champion. Amazing women and much much more to come.
Track and Field Champion - Anna Gavigan
1. How long are you in LSA? I’ve been a member of LSA since I was 10
2. Position High performance athlete and coach
3. Group I train with Gerry Ronan’s multi event group as a discus thrower and I am an assistant coach for the 2012 juvenile group on Thursday evenings
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? Athletics has given me a sense of purpose. I have discovered that discipline, hard work, dedication and patience can bring me further than I might have thought possible.
5. My biggest achievement My 2022 season was my biggest achievement. I won National Junior, National Senior and National Senior Schools Championships and set a few records along this way. So far this year, my biggest honour is to have been selected to represent Ireland at the European Throwing Cup in Portugal which takes place this weekend.
Juvenile Coach - FionaFiona- Pictured with Daughter Michelle
1. How long are you in LSA? I have been volunteering with LSA for over ten years now, but my involvement with the club began when my eldest daughter started athletics back in 2010.
2. Position I am a coach and also a parent of two athletes in the club.
3. GroupI currently coach the 2012 group on Thursday evening’s and also support the juvenile club athletes when they attend competitions and events.
4. Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your Life as a woman? I returned to running after a long absence due to injury. I still run now but totally at my own pace and with no pressure. I enjoy the freedom running/jogging brings as it is a great stress reliever and I can simply go as far as I want and when I want.
Adult Coach - Intermediate Group - AmandaAmanda - Intermediate Group Coach
1.How Long are you with LSA? This is my 12th year with LSA as I am here from pretty much the beginning. Originally I got involved to coach swimming in the club but that’s a whole other story. I started out in 2011 coaching the Juveniles and was lead coach of the Fundamentals group for a number of years before transitioning to the adult section.
2.What’s your position? I hold a number of positions in the club currently? Club Treasurer which I took on in 2015. Adult Coach. And most importantly I am also a club athlete.
3. Which group do you run/ coach with? I am the lead coach for the intermediate group. I both coach and run with the group 3 to 4 times per week. We have two official coaching sessions and lately some of the group are running together on Thursdays and longer runs over the weekend.
4.Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your life as a woman? Having been in sport most of my life I cannot imagine not being able to partake in some form of activity. I swam & played water polo competitively until my mid 20’s, then I found love and the marriage came next, sure after that I didn’t really have the time to commit to sport for a number of years as I needed to concentrate on learning to cook & clean and overall being a good wife , that’s a joke of course but I did have to take a step back for a bit due to issues with my back. Gladly after a year or two of taking it easy I was back at the gym and in the pool again really just to keep fit. As a younger athlete I never really got or understood the benefits of sport it was something I did because I enjoyed it and the usual parental push I guess.Now that I am an elder lemon I value sport and obviously being involved in athletics for various reasons
- It gives me a sense of purpose outside of my home life
- It allows me downtime after a stressful day at work
- It keeps me fit & healthy ( I think )
- I have a sense of pride of being able to give back and support others, maybe that’s the mammy instinct which I believe is innate in all women
- 100% supports my mental health – I went through some tough times in my late 30’s early 40’s and some days found it hard to get up & out the door, getting back into sport was the best thing I ever did and moreover getting involved in LSA has been a life changer for me. I owe the club and its members more than I can put into words as it has been my saviour, I have made life long friends who have dropped their own lives to be there for me on many occasions and for that I cannot thank them enough.
5. What is your biggest achievement to date as a female athlete or coach or both? I would have to say my biggest achievement to date as a female athlete is my two marathon medals from Belfast and Dublin. The funny thing is these marathons were something that came from being a coach as I was coaching other athletes that had ran marathons and I felt in order to fully understand the challenges of running a marathon and to coach at that level I better do one myself, me being me of course I had to do two. On the coaching side that is a bit more difficult to say, I do feel a sense of achievement when the athletes I coach achieve their goals as I hope I have played some minor part in helping them along the way. Most important for me as a coach is seeing those I train/ support crossing the line whether it be a PB or their slowest ever run that is insignificant it is the look on the faces that’s gets me every time, knowing they are delighted to have completed whatever the challenge was gives me a sense of pride & achievement for me too.
Being part of LSA is an achievement itself, our club is a community to me and not just the local athletic club. We share each others success which I believe is huge as the support shown across the club to all members must be unique to us, there is always someone in a whatsapp group that has the answer to the many questions that get put out. I have never been more proud than to be part of this total success story and long may it continue.
Adult Coach - Fit4Life Group - AliAli - Fit4Life Coach
1.How Long are you with LSA? I joined LSA in June 2020 after completing C25K during the first lockdown!
2.What’s your position? Athlete & F4L coach
3.Has sport and in particular athletics made a difference to your life as a woman?Watching LSA members taking part in the 2020 virtual DCM is a moment that I believe changed my life. I was in awe of those guys and the buzz around the village was phenomenal. It really made me think ‘I want a piece of that’! I hadn’t even reached half marathon distance by that point but the seed had been planted. Running has completely transformed my life and the change in lifestyle is what will help me maintain the weight loss!
4. What is your biggest achievement to date as a female athlete or coach or both?My biggest achievement as a member is competing DCM, I’d struggled with injury and my health all through 2022 but I still did it! As a coach I am proud incredibly proud of the Fit 4 lifers who have a place in the 2023 DCM……even applying takes courage that first time and I can’t wait to support them in their training later this year! 🥰"
Little Athletics - Clodagh Goggins
Clodagh Goggins trains with our Little Athletics Green Group. Clodagh is the Dublin under 9 60m and 200m champion. Clodagh is an inspiration to all our Little Athletics members and we look forward to many more successes from her in the Future.
Celebrating International Women's Day
A huge well done to all our members both male and female who braved the elements this evening to mark International Women's Day with a sunset cliff run. Thanks to Coaches Georgean and Amy for motivating us in the baltic weather. Special shout out to little athletics Legend Nicole who joined the run with her mam Karen.
LSA currently has 396 members, 232 of these members are female. 125 female Adults and 107 little ladies. Our oldest lady is 63 years old and our youngest is just 6 years old and we have all ages in between. Happy International Woman's Day to all our members young and old, male and female.