Irish Kev

AUGUST 2019: In a Sussex cross-country league match at Goodwood in 2016, Kevin Moore, originally from Tipperary, Ireland, finished in 4th place. AB Training Group’s Howard Bristow and James Turner got chatting to Kevin and invited him to join their training sessions. He quickly gelled with the group and his running has gone from strength to strength.

On Monday, at the King’s Head Canter 5k, not only did Kevin win, he broke the course record and, in fact, was the first ever runner to break 15 minutes on this course.

Kev, first of all, congratulations on your win and course record at King’s Head Canter. How did you enjoy the course and how would you describe the race?

Thanks Mike. It’s a tough course, around some lovely Sussex country lanes, but definitely not a fast course.

It was a tit-for-tat battle with the machine that is Ian Leitch, all the way to the line. I never looked at my watch at all during the race, as I had decided that I would just race it. I was surprised when the PA at the finish line announced that I had broken the previous record. Some incredible runners have run and set the previous records on this course, over the years.

It was a rather warm day, too, for racing, so the free pint at the finish was appreciated!

You’ve produced some great performances on the road, track and cross country, but Monday’s achievement must be one of your highlights. What else would you describe as your key memorable moments so far?

Where to start?! This 5k was a highlight for me, considering the talented runners who have run the race before.

I’ve had such an amazing time since I moved here and have PB’d at every distance.

The big highlight, so far, was probably running 8:19 for 3000m, last summer. I don’t think myself or even Allison, my coach, could believe it when I did it. When I moved to Brighton in Autumn 2016, I had just broken 9 minutes for the distance and, within 18 months of joining the group, I ran 8:19, which ranked me 8th in Ireland last year.

But, with the way the group and I have been progressing, I’m having a new highlight every couple of months, which can only be a good thing.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2019 and 2020 have in store for me and everyone else.

How did you originally get into running?

My Dad! Since I was old enough to stand up, I was brought to road and cross-country races by my parents, to act as cheer leaders for dad and the club back home!

As a juvenile, I was pretty darn crap… I would finish as good as last or second last in all my races… but Mam and Dad were always so supportive.

As a kid, I did lots of different sports and hobbies, such as swimming, Gaelic football, hurling and even Irish dancing. I didn’t win my first county individual medal until I was almost 20. When I moved to Uni in Limerick, I upped my training and, from there, I started to get a bit faster.

Dad and Mam still both coach the juvenile clubs back home.

I know your dad has always followed your running closely and has often flown over from Ireland to watch you race, for both Sussex and Brighton & Hove AC. How important is that support to you?

Dad is great. He gets running… he just loves it! He gets just as big a kick from my performances as I do! I love when he comes over to my races.

And I often go back home to Ireland to race. Only a few weeks ago, I went home for the National Champs, where I qualified for the first time for the final of the 5000m and finished 9th.

Coincidentally, Dad got back into competitive running after he retired last year, and this year he won the Irish National 3000m Indoor V60 title. Keeping the pressure on me!

My girlfriend, Audrey, is so supportive too. She often comes to my races and puts up with me wanting to go for a run wherever we go at the weekends or even on holidays. I’m surprised we are still together after we travelled for a weekend to Leeds, two years ago, for the Abbey Dash 10k. I realised, after six hours of driving, that I had forgotten to put her suitcase in the car! Thankfully, I can now call her my fiancée.

What do you do for work and how easy is it to fit a training schedule around that?

I’m a civil engineer and work as a project manager for Ward and Burke, an Irish civil engineering company. We work for Thames Water and Southern Water, improving the infrastructure for the drinking water and wastewater systems. We work long days on site, from 7am until 6pm… often later when the concrete hasn’t set! But I enjoy the challenges that a construction site brings; every day is different. As I like to say, every day is a school day!

It can be quite tight trying to squeeze in my training before or after work. I often turn up to the sessions straight from work in my orange hi-viz gear and steel toe cap boots! But, somehow, I manage to fit in around 60 miles running per week.

What have you found to be the key benefits of training with the AB group?

The group is incredible… such a grounded group of athletes. Allison Benton, the coach, has assembled some of the best talent in Sussex, from 800m runners to ultra-runners.

In fact, I shall really miss Brighton, and the training group, when I move back to Ireland early next year. It’s been an incredible experience to date.

The great thing about the group is that it is a mix of athletes from different clubs around Sussex, which is to the benefit of Sussex running as a whole. Being able to train with such a group just helps us all to improve, both as people and as athletes, pushing each other in every session or race.

I’ve met some of my best friends through the group, and one of my highlights was bringing four other members over to Cork, in June 2018, for the Cork Marathon Relay… which we won! A weekend we will never forget.

Do you ever get nervous on the start line of a race, and how do you keep calm and focussed?

Yes, I do, but that’s only natural… more like butterflies, but it shows that it means something to you. You manage to deal with it better as you get older. You just need to remember that you have done the training, or even just treat the race as another session. You need to try to keep yourself relaxed, maybe by listening to music. Even just having a laugh with the lads before a race can ease the tension that can often be in the air before a race.

What’s next in your race diary?

I’m running the Sussex 3k Champs in Crawley, this weekend, but the big aim for the next few weeks is Copenhagen Half Marathon. This will be my first time, racing a distance longer than 10k… so it will be interesting to see how that goes!

And what do you like to do to relax when you’re not running?

Brighton are my adopted football team since I moved over here, and I have a season ticket for the Amex. But I’m actually a mad Liverpool fan. I followed them out to Madrid, back in June, leaving a training camp just so I could be there. Surprisingly, Allison let me go!

And I’m also a big fan of Gaelic sports, such as hurling and Gaelic football. If you haven’t seen hurling, please just go to YouTube and search it… you won’t regret it!

In fact, I’m a bit of a sports geek, so I’ll follow anything that Sky Sports hype up… from boxing to fly fishing!

Kev, it’s been great to chat. Congrats on all you’ve achieved with your running, so far, especially with this latest 5k course record. Good luck in the Sussex 3k Champs this weekend, and in your debut half marathon, in Copenhagen.

By Mike Bannister