Digging deep to find the right mental attitude carried marathon runner over the finishing line

01 March 2019

Digging deep to find the right mental attitude carried  marathon runner over the finishing line

Connaire McGreevy hit the wall at 19 miles the first time he did the Belfast City Marathon but a positive mental attitude helped him find the strength to keep going and reach the finish line.

It was the kind words of a fellow runner that helped him dig deep into his mind to locate the fight to keep going and now the Managing Director of Action Mental Health corporate partner CTS Projects, is raring to go for marathon number two.

The Rostrevor man will be 37 when he takes on the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon on Sunday, May 5 and he’s gearing up for it, clocking up the miles on a weekly basis.

To date he has too many 10k events under his belt to put a number to them and also the Mourne Way marathon but he remains modest about those.

“I’ve done quite a few and I’m reasonably fit but I have to get the miles in the legs and I’ll be aiming for 20 miles this week but I literally only kicked off the training just before Christmas.

“Last night I went for a five mile, pacey, run but I’m mindful, at my age, of the need to protect my joints so on Sunday I went out on the bike for a cycle and I’m lucky I have the Rostrevor landscape to cycle around, with the forests and lakes round me.”

Connaire finds his running helps him cope with the pressures of his job, with the idea of embracing ‘a healthy body means a healthy mind’ being a key factor.

“I have 150 employees across the island of Ireland and it’s often very busy and stressful and can be quite intense so I have always used running to help me maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind. It helps clear the head and aids clarity of thought,” he said.

Now, as he faces his second marathon challenge, he knows much of the task hinges upon his mental strength.
“At my first one, back in 2007 I hit the wall at mile 19. You hear people talking about it, but I dismissed it and thought to myself ‘you just get on with it’ – until hit it myself. It was like hitting a brick wall. I just couldn’t go on.

“Then another runner came a long and give me a bit of a pep talk, just about 30 seconds or so and I was able to gather myself and get going.”
To this day he doesn’t know the identity of that runner who helped save his maiden marathon voyage, completing the 26.2miles in ?4 hours and 34 minutes.

“So it really is more of a mental challenge, not just physical,” he observes.

Connaire is now encouraging other runners to sign up to run the marathon in aid of Action Mental Health. Like him, most people in Northern Ireland – which suffers the highest incidence of mental ill-health in the UK – know someone in their family or circle of friends who have experienced it in some form.

“My sister, Ciara, who we lost two years ago this January, suffered from bi-polar disorder and depression and I thought if I ever were to raise money for a charity, it would be Action Mental Health because we all need to do something to help raise awareness and challenge the stigmas of mental health.”

You can support #BehindTheMilesandSmiles for Action Mental Health by selecting them when registering for the 2019 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.  You can also email fundraising@amh.org.uk or call 028 9182 8494 for more information.  


The final entry deadline will be 12th April 2019.  Sign up now through the MyTicket app at www.belfastcitymarathon.com