12 questions with…..Gerard (Spook) Leary

1. How long have you been a member of PCCCT?

I started having the occasional run with the club in the late 1970s while I was still playing football. So about 40 years. I’ve only averaged about ten runs a year – I’ve probably been to as many races as an official as runs I’ve had.

2. Which races have you previously won?
10km Latrobe
17.6km Feature Race
8km Stowport
25km Forth Ironman

3. Do you have a running partner or group you train with?
The last 15 years I have trained with Mark & Lyn Saint-John and Judy Ray three mornings a week. A few years ago I and John Saltmarsh used to get a few long runs in.

4. How did you get into running and what has it given you?
I’ve always been a runner from school days. I’m more of a sprinter/middle distance runner. I ran at TAL carnivals for over twenty years 70m up to 400m. Ted Eagling was my coach for fourteen years.

5. Your favourite race courses?
I always enjoy the trip to Stanley for the 8km race. Also the 25 km Ironman and 16.5km Burnie-Ridgley races when I’ve been fit enough to run them without nearly killing myself.

6. Who are some of your role models in running?
I’ve always admired Mick McKenna, Leigh Taylor and Viv Woodward – three great champions of the club. There have been plenty of others. Greg Smith is a great example of someone who is an elite runner for his age and competes to his maximum every time. I’m impressed by the longevity of Barry Ling and Ray Spinks – over 1000 races is an amazing effort. Ken Williams is pretty amazing as well, he wasn’t young when he started with the club. Of course Barry’s contribution to the club for over 50 years has been outstanding.

7. You have seen a lot of change over the years within the club, what are some of your memorable changes?
The biggest change I’ve seen has been the increase in female participation. When I started with the club there was only one regular female competitor, Ann Ketelaar. Ann was a real trailblazer and great competitor. Without the growth in female membership the club would have struggled to survive financially.

8. Running tips?
Some days you may not feel like running, but go any rate, you always feel better after you run. Enjoy the times when you are running injury free because it isn’t going to last.

9. If you could pick any running event in the world to enter which one would you pick?
I suppose it would have to be one of the big international marathons – New York, London or Boston.

10. Other interests/sports?
I played a lot of sports into my early thirties, mainly football and cricket. I’ve been involved in sports administration for the last 30 years.

11. Your most memorable run?
It would have to be the 1987 Feature Race – probably the only time I was fully fit for distance running. I was obsessive with my training in the 12 months leading up to the race.

12. What is something about you most people wouldn’t know?
In 1971 during my University days, I was the joint world record holder for egg throwing – I was the catcher. We only went in it to try and win a 5 gallon barrel of beer. It was organised by the Old Nick Company as a fundraiser. They didn’t raise enough money so we never got the barrel. I’m still not happy about it.

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