Dave O’Keeffe

[Published 14th March 2016]

Distance Runner, Senior Men
Dave at the Eagle AC Carrigaline 5 Mile Race, Feb 2016
Dave at the Eagle AC Carrigaline 5 Mile Race, Feb 2016

Personal Best:
Half Marathon:
1hr 20 mins
3hr 1 mins

Coach: Steve Macklin until 2009, Self-Coached until 2014 and Frank Doherty to date. Thanks to Frank and Steve they are fantastic coaches and get the best out of every athlete.

How long have you been a runner? I’ve been running since I was 12/13 years old, from my first jog I fell in love with the sport and have only grown to love it more as I find more and more races and challenges. I’ve been running with Togher for 13 years, I had a brief break in 2010 when I started college but I couldn’t stay away and was back in the white and green after 4 months.  

Proudest Moment in Athletics: There are more proud moments than I would have time to mention. I suppose a few that spring to mind are finishing the Marathon Des Sables in 2015, being part of the First ever Togher AC (in its own right) national league team, starting the Little Athletics programme with Aidan Hartnett which has been a phenomenal success, seeing Togher A.C grow in size and depth over the last number of years and representing Douglas Community School and Ireland in the world schools in 2008.

Dave, second from left, with his team mates at the World Schools Competition
Dave, second from left, with his team mates at the World Schools Competition

What are the events you do? I’m a bit of a mutt when it comes to events. I love every event from 1500m to the marathon to ultra-marathons, I also wouldn’t mind giving an 800m race a go even though I would finish dead last. I’ve also tried a bit of race walking and high jumping neither of which I was exceptionally good at.

What’s your main goal for this year? This year I’ve set a pretty bizarre goal of setting a personnel best in every event from 400m-half marathon. I haven’t run competitively in a long while and I hope to do so over the next year so the first thing I want to improve on is all my times. Having said that I always have a voice in the back of my head pulling me towards ultra runs and big challenges so who knows I could find an ultra to run before the end of 2016.

What’s your most memorable race/best running moment? My best racing moment has to be crossing the finish line in Morroco last year, it’s hard to describe the feeling even now but after over 14 months of training for this event it was an absolutely incredible feeling crossing the finish line.  My favourite running moment always seem to happen on the long runs on Sunday mornings they are always good fun and everyone seems to enjoy them even if they are over an hour and a half of torture.

Just after finishing the Marathon De Sables in 2015. What an achievement!!
Just after finishing the Marathon Des Sables in 2015. What an achievement!! Marathon Des Sables is a six-day, 251 km (156 miles) ultramarathon, which is the equivalent of six regular marathons. The longest single stage is 91 km (57 mi) long. Dave raised an incredible €6,340.50 for the Marymount Hospice Cork.

What do you like most about Togher AC? I Love every aspect of Togher A.C. I’ve never met a nicer group of people. The coaches and members who keep the club running on a day to day basis sacrifice so much of their own time it would amaze people if they actually knew. The work everyone does in the club shows just how great the members are and every year the club is growing and growing. It’s great to see.

In 5 years time, athletics wise, where do you see yourself?  This is a difficult question; I can never make up my mind about what kind of athlete I want to be. Hopefully I will get to compete at a national level on the track but I also hope to be part of a marathon team which attempts to win an all-Ireland medal in the coming years. One thing is for sure I’ll be running some form of distance in 2021.

Do you have a favourite sports hero? Kenenisa Bekele is one my favourite athletes of all time, every time he started a race you knew something special was going to happen. I got a birthday present in the last week to go to London to watch the marathon where Bekele is running alongside some of the best in the world. Togher A.C’s own Tony Kelleher and Aidan Hartnett are other sporting heroes at 47 and 51 respectively they are two of the most driven people you’ll ever met. Tony is still winning races and setting records and Aidan is constantly driving himself to the limit and pushing to get the best out of himself and others. Hopefully when I’m that age I’ll still be pounding the pavement.

Favourite drink/food? I love the occasional pint and I am a bit of a sugar addict, not ideal for an athlete but I am of the opinion if you train 6 days a week you deserve to treat yourself.