“I started running around the fields on the family farm in Cavan” @cat_mckiernan #fitnessaware

Catherina McKiernan pictured at the launch of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon and Race Series and Runners’ Support Squad.

By Eoin Ryan RTÉ Sport Journalist

She may only have run four marathons – Berlin, London, Amsterdam and Chicago – but, 24 years on, Catherina McKiernan’s time of 2.22.23 in the Netherlands remains the Irish women’s time to beat in the 42.1km test of endurance.
McKiernan, an Olympian, a European cross-country champion and four-in-a-row world silver medallist, told RTÉ Sport at the launch of this year’s Irish Life Dublin Marathon that setting fastest times was “not something I think about, [even] when I broke the record.
“I ran because I loved to run. Not for the fame, not for the fortune and certainly not for the publicity.
“I started running around the fields on the family farm – being the youngest of seven it was a great opportunity to get away from them all.
“I never had any expectations or dreamt of running in world championships, Olympic Games or European championships. I just ran for the feeling of confidence and well-being it gave me.
“It just happened that I was middling at it and won a few races.”
Titles have been thin on the ground for Irish athletes since the heyday of McKiernan and Sonia Sullivan. The Cavan native admits to not following the scene too closely any more but she believes the standard has risen considerably since the 1990s.
“It’s much more competitive than when I was competing,” she says.
“I don’t like the criticism after championships that our athletes didn’t do well. They’re not [just] our athletes, they’re their own people and they train as hard as they can possibly can.
“In saying that, all the sport around the country certainly spurred me on and helped me to get on training in those wet and windy days.
“It’s an individual sport and at the end of the day you just have to do the best you possibly can. As long as they put in the work and get the most out of themselves. We do have a lot of talent but it is about commitment and working hard as well.”

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