Spotlight on... Eamonn Rivers

Finishing the Southampton Half with my daughter Cassie to my right waving over the barrier!

What are your future running goals?

After much nagging from various club members I have added a road marathon to my to do list again. I had to pull out of one 25 years ago through injury after spending 6 months training. This put me off training for one again but I hope to do one within the next couple of years. I have also just entered Endure 24 again for next year and another goal is never to do the OMM with Sean again!!!! My main goal is to stay fit and healthy and keep up in group 1 as long as possible. I'm not getting any younger!
 

Do you have any running experiences you'd care to forget?

Quite a few Friday night runs with Sean! Including the 9 miles he made everyone run the Friday before the Eastleigh 10k! Everyone saw my angry face that evening! Weirdly enough we did all end up getting PB's that weekend - Thanks Sean!

What's the most valuable piece of running advice you've ever been given?

Race within your fitness and pace yourself! Take note Esther Wiley!!!

What keeps you out of trouble Monday to Friday?

I am a roofer by trade - specialising in Zinc and copper roofing. I have just finished a row of houses in Poole - one of which Karl Pilkington from Idiot Abroad has purchased! Although he isnt such a idiot, hes just spent £2.5 million on it!

Which is more satisfying... going for a training run or running a race?

I love training, it's more relaxed and social. There is no pressure to succeed. However finishing a race in a target time is quite satisfying!

Do you have any other passionate interests?

My 3 girls, Everton football club and trying to be on time!!!!

Finally, which other Totton Running Club member do you most admire?

First of all, all of the coaches who put the time in to train us each week. Such as the little man running with his little wheel before training, the coaches who do the schedules and then the leaders who take each group. I also admire all the senior runners such as Mike Mills, Rene and John Mursell who are still finding the motivation to get out and run after all these years. I admire the beginners who started with a small goal in mind and who now regularly race 10ks with ease and the likes of Nick, Jimmy, Graham, Aaron , Esther, Helen and Alice for her marathon challenge. And last but not least Gemma and Rich for the doing the website and the rest of the committee for all that they do to keep the club running behind the scenes.

Tell us a bit about your running history

I was a gymnast at school and I actually hated running! I started running soon after I left school to keep fit and to help with football. I then joined South Liverpool Running Club in my early twenties. We mainly trained on the road and after a couple of years of running with them and entering local races I managed to get my PB's down to 26 mins for 5 miles, 34 mins for 10k and 55 mins for 10 miles but 10 miles back then was my limit!!!

 

A few years later I moved to London with work and then eventually settled down in Southampton where I joined Team Solent (now known as Southampton Athletics Club). We worked mainly on the track and ran and raced in track meets where I was also roped into the 3000m steeple chase where I failed to break the 10 minute mark. I was asked to compete in a 1500m race in the GRE cup in Portsmouth which I reluctantly did but never again!

 

Life then got in the way and I gave up running for about 18 years. A friend then persuaded me to join TRC in late 2011. It took me a while to get back to some kind of speed and fitness but I now can't remember what I did without running! Oh yes I played football!

When and how did you come to join Totton Running Club?

After an 18 year break I decided to give running a go again. I completed the Victory 5 mile in 2011 alongside my friend who ran for TRC. We did it in 43 minutes and I was quite frankly done in but it gave me the buzz back so I joined TRC. I tagged onto group 4 for a bit quickly moving up to group 2 and then more recently group 1.

How often do you train and what sessions do you do outside of the club?

I try and do all club sessions, including Friday evenings and when I'm training for a particular race I also try and get out at the weekends. But work often gets in the way. I also do spin twice a week! If you had said to me years ago that I would run on a Friday night I would have laughed! Now Fridays are all about running....well and a visit to the pub after!

What is your running highlight so far?

My first one was back in my 20's when I completed a 5 mile race in Wigan and reached my target of 26 minutes. I can only dream of that time these days but I had only been running a few years at this point and I didn't think I would ever maintain that pace for that long.

The second is more recent. I had been persuaded to enter lots of races in the 2014/2015 HRRL league including the Salisbury 10 mile. I hadn't raced over 10k in 25 years and was convinced I would end up around 69 minutes but to my surprise I came in at 66:24. This however wasn't the highlight. This simply gave me confidence for the Southampton Half later in the year.

 

This race I wasn't overly confident about. My last half marathon 25 years before (ironically I think this was the first ever Southampton half) didn't go well. I started off well and went through 10 miles in 55 mins and was in the leading pack but then I struggled the last 3 miles and lost several places. I ended up finishing 14th and beating a runner in a sprint finish who was also called Eamonn!

 

This made me nervous for the 2015 version! I had a goal of 1:30 in my head, anything less and I would have been chuffed. I felt comfy the whole way round, paced myself well and I came over the line in 1:27:42! I was greeted by my youngest daughter Cassie and I was very pleased I had been bullied into entering. It was even better when I found out I had come second in my age group! Not bad for an old git. I am already looking forward racing it again next year, in my new age category!

Where do you like to run and have you anywhere particularly memorable?

I prefer the forest to train in. We are so lucky living so close to the new forest. I lived in the Lake District years ago and I used to love running round there. The hills of Scotland are pretty memorable too. Ive also ran round the Grand National track in a 5 mile charity run and we had to climb over the fences!

Do you have any lucky rituals or race routines?

I don't have any really. Usually I forget I am racing so rush around to be ready in the morning! I'm a fly by the seat of my pants type of guy! The only race I prepared for was the half - pasta the night before and a good breakfast. But usually I just get up and go. I'm not superstitious or anything. It's all about what happens on the day! I do however like to have my competitors on my left!
 

Many of the photos used on our website were taken by local photographer, Paul Hammond. You can see more of his pictures here, but please ensure that you credit him if you use them and consider making a donation (small or large) to his charity.

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