Search icon


03rd May 2018

The Mini Marathon’s first ever female director is all the inspo we need to get running this year


Brought to you by Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.

She has achieved so much after beginning to run at age 42, and since has continued to be an inspiration to so many.

Ok, so 42 isn’t old, but if someone say, aged 18 to 30 is reading this, it proves we have no excuse but to bite the bullet and get moving.

Meet Olwyn Dunne. She’s a mum to three teenage boys, a wife, she has a cat, and of course, she’s a winner and competitor in numerous races around the country. She even became the national 50k champ at age 46.

When Olwyn hit age 42, she became more aware of her mortality and the need to stay fit, healthy and happy, especially after her mother sadly passed away at the same age.

“My first event was a triathlon. I discovered that I really loved running, and that I wasn’t too bad at it either!”

She then signed up for the Dublin Marathon, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I feel that as women, we don’t give ourselves the time for health and fitness. It’s so important to invest in yourself. We often put other people first, whether it’s our family or work.

“The nice thing about running and training for events is that it helps to create space for yourself.  I love being able to help women, whatever their ability.”

Last year Olwyn was Deputy Race Director and learned plenty from a “fantastic team and well-established event,” but her past career as a flight attendant with United Airlines undoubtedly expanded her skills to persist under pressure. She was able to go from ‘sporadic gym goer’ to running marathons.

Some of the team behind the event (Olwyn top right)

“I would have known you need to stay healthy, and live a good life. I would have always been active with the kids, but I love fresh air – I’m a firm believer in it.”

Of course, she admits, she still “leaves the house looking like a zombie” in the very early hours of the morning, before a run or swim. (So like us.)

So, with around 35,000 of us taking part in the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, we had to ask Olwyn for some advice before we embark on our running and/or walking event. (And remember, 75 percent of those taking part walk, so if you’re not feeling like a run, don’t stress one little bit. There will be plenty in the same boat.)

1. Race Run Up

“Don’t be surprised if you have running nightmares about getting lost on the course or not finding the start line.”

2. Fibre

“Don’t eat too much fibre the day before the event (for obvious reasons!)”

3. Bin bag or Throw Away Shirt

“If it’s lashing rain, the bin bag can serve as a handy rain jacket – just make holes for your head and arms. They come in different colours, so you can still be trendy!”

4. Organisation is Key

“Have all of your stuff organised the day before, so you’re not rushing around on race day (race number, sunscreen, shoes, shorts/leggings, binbag etc.)”

5. Training? What Training?

If you plan to run Olwyn says, “For a 10k most people should have started around mid April for our event, but you could certainly manage it if you were to start now.

“The key to your training is to take it gradually and don’t over do it, see how you go. Then come event day, you’ll be absolutely fine. The day itself is the easiest part, there’s people out on the route and it’s lots of fun, you forget that you’re actually doing it. ”

6. For the Insta Queens

“Don’t forget to smile and suck in your tummy when you see photographers on the route. Pretend you’re really enjoying it.”

7. If You’re Someone Who’ll be Wearing Makeup

“Be sure it’s waterproof because you’ll probably be crying with joy at the finish line!”

8. Keep Pushing

“While you’re running, don’t be upset if you’re overtaken by someone in fancy dress or someone who is older than you. You’re doing your best!

“When you’re getting tired and stressed, remember you paid to do this!”

Brought to you by Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.