People in Focus: Padraic McGlinchey running for a “Life Without Limits” to help Cystic Fibrosis Trust
We have seen some great challenges taken on for Charity in recent times and this weekend in Tyrone Life we feature someone who is adding to that list of remarkable achievements.
Padraic McGlinchey was one of the most exciting young GAA Handball stars in the County and achieved terrific success both on a national and international stage. In recent times though he has well and truly built a very strong reputation in the field of physical fitness and personal training.
With that in mind, Padraic has teed up a hugely tough challenge where he will run a half-marathon each week for 52 weeks – all while wearing an elevation training mask. The idea – all to experience what it might be like to run with Cystic Fibrosis.
Anyway, here’s another excellent feature in our County Tyrone People in Focus series – and of course we wish Padraic all the best in this massive endeavour!
People in Focus: Q&A with Padraic McGlinchey…
Tell us about the Running for a Life Without Limits Challenge:
So long story short I will be running a half marathon each week on my own accord whenever work affords me the time to do so ? Throughout each half marathon, I will be wearing an elevation training mask (kindly donated by Daire Martin and embroidered by Gary Higgins) in order to get a small idea of what it might be like to run with Cystic Fibrosis. The point of this endeavour is to raise awareness of the disease and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust who do an endless amounts of work to continually progress the standard of living of those with Cystic Fibrosis.
Throughout the year I will be constantly doing fitness tests, which started with a VO2Max test in Aspire Fitness. This will take place after every 3 months. Interestingly I have been trying to tie in with Ulster University, Jordanstown to get some quality research to run alongside this journey.
I have been very lucky to gain support from Optimum Nutrition who are providing me with the much needed nourishment required to help recovery and regenerate after each session and can’t imagine getting through this without it.
Amazingly STATSports have given me a massive opportunity to utilise their ground breaking APEX system to monitor my overall training load. Usually only sampled by the elite in sport throughout the world, this will allow me to track everything from step balance, speed throughout sessions, total distance, heart rate and allow me to tailor sessions to get the most out of my performances. This will be my overall guidance throughout what will be an interesting year.
What inspired you to take on such a challenge?
My Fiancee Niamh was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Until Niamh told me she suffered from the disease, I honestly wouldn’t have known. Determined to not let it affect her day to day life, currently she is completing a PhD in oral drug delivery at Queen’s University, alongside consistent work in community pharmacy.
“Niamh’s illness doesn’t define who she is. However seeing the amount of treatment, medication and physiotherapy to be completed on a daily basis to maintain general health and prevent infection is time consuming and eye opening. Personally I want to help give something back for all the research and development that has went into making life more manageable for those who suffer from the disease. Using the elevation training mask, although not a true reflection, will give me some idea of what it is like to have that shortness of breath.”
What is your target and what would you like to achieve from this challenge?
The overall goal is to raise awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and if we can raise some funds along the way that would be icing on the cake. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust fund university research, help those who suffer from the disease and are very involved in the lobbying process to bring life changing drugs, such as Orkambi, to the NHS. As mentioned before this challenge is to help me gain a little understanding of what it is like for those who suffer from the illness.
Having completed 3 half marathons to date, the difficulty created by the elevation training mask has been alarming. I have to maintain a constant pace in order to control my breathing, as any increase in pace or workload leaves me exasperated and gasping for air.
Tell us about your role in health and fitness training, what you do?
I have always had a keen interest in fitness and exercise science. I graduated with a BSc in sport and exercise science and MSc in physical activity and public health from Ulster University, Jordanstown and currently work as a sports scientist for Statsports group.
My position has afforded me the ability to travel, visiting professional clubs across the world, most recently working with the Chinese super league and Chinese Football Association. It is also through work that I got the privilege of working with Bath Rugby and meeting the only contact athlete in the world to suffer from Cystic Fibrosis – Nathan Charles.
What moved you into this field and what sort of training would you do yourself on a week to week basis?
Throughout school, sport was the only option for me. In all my spare time I was running, playing football or handball, lifting weights and no matter how much advice was given in the difficulty of securing a job after university I had tunnel vision. It hasn’t been an easy journey getting to my current position with a lot of volunteering, internships and even creating my own venture for a while before returning to university.
My training has taken a serious dip with all the travel involved in my current post, however I am slowly getting back to 5 days a week between running, weights, mobility and core work. However I am reminded daily that Niamh cannot afford to miss medication or treatments despite how time consuming work or life gets.
Did you have to do any specialised training for this particular challenge?
Honestly, no. The thinking behind this was to see just how difficult it would be to go from a point of little training to building up with the use of the mask. The first three weeks have been difficult but it feels like I am starting to slowly gather momentum. The actual half marathons themselves aren’t fun, but I enjoy the challenge each time I go out.
I am very aware that no matter how difficult the training and half marathons feel for me, I am able to take of the mask and fill my lungs, something those with Cystic Fibrosis cannot do.
Numerous Underage All-Irelands; 15&U, 17&U, 19&U Irish Nationals, U21 singles and Doubles All-Irelands, Irish National Team U17 World Championships and 2 Tyrone Senior Premier league titles.
Completed Belfast city marathon twice and Dublin Marathon.
Strength and conditioning alongside athletic performance and preparation have always interested me. Although I have always wanted to learn another language and that is the next item to tick off the bucket list.
Can you tell us a bit about your interest in GAA Handball and some of your best memories in the sport:
Handball took over right from the first time Conor Kerr took me to the alley. From then on I had my dad tortured to take me here, there and everywhere for training and games doing so without a complaint. There are a few games that I was on the wrong side of 11-10 tie breakers with Richie Hogan and Michael Gregan, and a few that I was on the right side of with Seamus O’Carroll and Nicholas Anthony.
However the game that stands out most is the U-16 All Ireland against Richie Hogan in Kilkenny. It was one of those days that everything went right and to be honest, I don’t even remember seeing Richie in the alley that day, but I could tell you nearly every shot I hit.
Life – My thoughts on…
What are your favourite memories of growing up?
I was lucky to have a close circle of family and friends growing up. If I wasn’t next door playing football with Darren Dickson, I had run up the road to Pauric McCrystal’s and stayed for days on end never wearing out the welcome that was extended to me there. Last summer I was lucky enough to go to Disney in Orlando with Niamh and the entire experience reminded me of Sunday evenings at my grannies watching Disney films and wrecking around outside with my cousins. Simple times with great people.
Playing handball growing up afforded me the opportunity to go on frequent trips around Ireland, allowing me to spend a lot of time with dad and usually ended up in rounds of golf. Despite getting taught a lesson on most of these occasions, they are always fond memories.
Could you tell us what places you have travelled to – and best memories?
Most of my traveling initially would have been through handball. Recently I have expanded my experience of different cultures and I have to thank Niamh and work for that. Most recently I have visited Barcelona, Egypt, New York, Miami, Orlando, Chicago and China. In terms of experiences, every place has great memories but the pyramids of Giza, La Sagrada Familia and cycling through Beijing have to be right up there.
Influential figures in your life:
Obviously family have always been the biggest influences throughout my life, and I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today if I didn’t have their guidance and most importantly patience!
Tell us your favourite Joke?
What do you call the fastest cake? Scone
Name 2 people who you’ve always thought were ‘spitting image doubles’:
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Handballers: Tony Healy
GAA Stars: Michael Darragh McCauley
Sportstars: Stephen Curry
Celebrities: Will Smith
You Tube Star: Rory’s Stories
Music Video: One Republic – I Lived
Song: Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong
TV Show: Friday Night Lights
Movie: Remember the Titans/Coach carter
Actors/Actresses: Chris Pratt
Comedian: Lee Evans
After Shave: Invictus
Item of clothing: t-shirt
Sports Venue: Pairc Naoimh Colmcille
Best thing on the internet? Spotify
Inspirational Quote? “Fortune favours the brave”