Let’s hear it for the Irish!!! Team Ireland not only tackled the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon, but they also raised almost $30,000 for blood cancer research! We had the pleasure of interviewing Sue Harty, a member of Team Ireland, about their Team In Training experience. Read on!
When did you first hear about Team In Training?
I think we all heard about TNT at different times. Most of us knew someone who had been on a TNT marathon before.
Why did you decide to get involved?
Our Captain, Mags, suggested we join TNT. Her daughter Kelsey did the San Diego Marathon last year through TNT and was very impressed by how it was run.
What was your family’s reaction to your decision to join TNT and train for an endurance event?
For me personally it was mixed. My daughter Megan was so supportive, but my husband and sons took awhile to get on board. I think they thought at my age, and with no running experience whatsoever, I was cracked! None of us on Team Ireland had ever done anything like this before, so we were all on the same level starting out.
Was it your idea to form Team Ireland?
No, it was Mags, Frances & Paula who went to register, and when they were asked for a team name, it was a no brainer.
Did your team have a fundraising goal?
We were asked to each raise $2,400.00, and some of us were a bit concerned about it at the start. However, we did that and then some. To date we are over $29,000! We had team meetings to brainstorm at Mags’ house. Each member sent out personal letters to family and friends. These were received with such a wonderful response we were all shocked and very touched by the support Team Ireland was getting. We were able to advertise on the OLA church bulletin, too.
On Sunday April 10, we had a Thank You for supporting Team Ireland at Fiddlers Green in Millbrae. Rose & Oliver were kind enough to host hor’dourves for the crowd, while Paul Kennelly donated his DJ talents, and it was a huge success. We raffled off prizes to make extra money, too. A good night was had by all.
Was the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon your first TNT event?
YES! A big yes for all of us.
Why did you choose the Avenue of the Giants?
We were told by so many how beautiful the course is for Avenue of the Giants….which it was. Plus with Kelsey running San Diego last summer and her mom, Mags, and Gerry & Frances there for support, they thought it was very hot to be running. We are just a bit older, and needed the shade!
How has training for this event been? Has it been harder or easier than you thought it would be?
All eight of us were on different levels completely. I will say at the very beginning we all thought it was hard because again, none of us were “runners”. But the training you’re given is fantastic, and they truly turn you into a runner. Every other Saturday was our “long run.” At the beginning when my alarm would go off I was just dreading it. As time went on the only thing I didn’t like was getting up early on Sat. The day of the race surprisingly I was not a bit nervous.
What is your most treasured TNT memory?
I’d have to say the race itself. We, as a team, decided to cross the finish line together. As each member crossed and got their time they doubled back about half a mile and waited for the last team member to come over that bridge. This was me, and to see all my friends cheering me on was surreal.
We had the Ireland Flag blowing in the Humboldt breeze with names on it for people we were running for who are fighting this terrible disease, or who have lost their battle. By race day we had over 35 names on it. Team Ireland hopes we did them and their families proud. It was a pleasure to run in their honor.
How has training with a team within the Team been? What do you think being a part of Team Ireland has added to the experience?
Fantastic! We all got such support from the TNT staff and other participants, but to have done this with Team Ireland was the best. We propped each other up when needed, cheered each other on, shared everything from medical advice to what to eat and drink, carpooled, went to the various sports stores with each other, complained about aches and new pains to each other………to just having such fun!
I understand the whole Irish community has reached out to support your team. Can you tell me a little bit about that? What has it meant to you and your teammates?
We are very lucky to be Irish; the community is just fantastic. The Irish people always support their own whether it’s a cause or something fun, and this was no exception. Not only were they generous with their wallets, but also with their words. I can’t tell you how often we heard “You’re great for doing this,” or “I’m so proud of all of you,” or “I’ll be thinking of you on the 1st.” The e-mails, texts, and calls never stopped.
Were you nervous on the day of your event?
No one was nervous. We were so well trained, it was what it was at that point. The only nerves I personally had were if there were going to be porta potty’s on the course…….there was. We had 13 family & friends supporters who drove up to cheer us on. They had signs, Team Ireland tee’s & hats, flowers, and of course champagne! My two doubting Thomas sons couldn’t have been prouder of me when I crossed the finish line. It was just Fantastic we all did it!!
Are you and/or Team Ireland planning on doing any future events?
I personally, being the oldest, have hung up my compression bands. However, some of the other teammates are talking about doing another 1/2 this year. I will be at the side lines with my poster cheering each and every one of them on, knowing full well this is not an easy task. I just hope I can talk some of them into doing the Hawaii one, how fun would that be???
What would you say to someone thinking of joining TNT?
I would and already have said that TNT is the ONLY group to join. They truly are the best!