ARTICLE: Guest blogger–Brian O’Murchu

530347_480706105312765_593239607_nI’m happy to share today my first guest blog on this site – an article written by Brian O’Murchu on his new Blog.

<- Brian O’Murchu (in white) showing some great form during the agility course of the ChampionsEverywhere “Run injury free” workshop in December (shortly after he stopped on a nail!)

The entries are fun and light-hearted and cover “Adventures in mountain running” so very much in tune with what this site once set out to do. Over the years, as my own running interests have broadened, so has the topics covered here.

So enjoy Brian’s entry “When I mistook my girlfriend for a trail runner” (sure we’ve all been that soldier!) and then head over no his blog for the rest!


Brian Ó Murchú Interview with Paddy ‘Mountain Goat‘ McDonnell:
‘When I mistook my girlfriend for a trail runner’

I had arranged to meet and interview the famous trail runner Paddy ‘Mountain Goat’ McDonnell. He seemed in a philosophical mood and was eager to talk about a recent Huffington Post article (9th Feb 2013) entitled ‘The Perfect Workout Partner: why couples who sweat together stay together‘. Mention is made in the article of building feelings of synchronicity, and shared passion. Paddy the ‘Mountain Goat’ was eager to discuss his experiences of this, emphasising that sweating together is an important part of the ongoing relationship. With ‘ongoing’ being the key word. Paddy wanted to share his story because, in his own words, that sometimes we learn more when things go wrong than when things go well. The following is an except of our interview.

I met this woman one day and we seemed to hit it off. We both liked each other, but perhaps too shy to express it early on. We had exchanged contacts, but there seemed to be a stuck point. We needed a reason to meet up. Then came the offer ‘if you are going for a run, I can join as a training partner‘. As we were still in the ‘wooing’ phase and not yet the ‘dating’ phase, this seemed like the perfect excuse to meet up and spend alone time together.

When the time came and we met up for the run, the question was asked ‘there are no hills, right?’. Followed later by mention of ‘I hate hills’. Thinking back over this now, it should have been a red flag moment. During the run, a topic of conversation was introduced ‘you’ve heard of muscle switch, right?’. I didn’t quite understand it, something about changing the way you run slightly to rest some muscles, and then after a while you change back to rest the other muscles. Another red flag moment missed. Changing running style can increase risk of injury. Every trail runner knows that, right?

Running was my sport, I am a trail runner. But running wasn’t hers, it was field sports. The change from a friendship into a relationship happened reasonably quickly. However, to me the premise of the relationship was presented as ‘we are both runners’. When in fact as we were into different sports, and running was being used as an excuse to meet up more initially. So what, you may ask. What’s the problem? And big deal about the supposed red flags.

The deal is, trail runners are not adverse to hills, they embrace them. For me, deception was used in the foundation phase of this couples story. It was such an attraction for me that us two were coming together for trail running, and once we became a couple, running was no longer part of our shared experiences. That was an expectation that went unfulfilled. Two years later was our break-up and the start of a reflective time for me to begin to realise the risks of mistaking someone who is not a trail runner. The expectation of us as a couple embracing the trails together in shared passion was huge. This unfulfilled expectation created a gap which continuously grew wider, which the relationship fell victim to. I want to share my story to help create awareness to minimise this happening to other trail runners.