Dublin Marathon – Meet the Runners – Garry Cribbin

October 24, 2022

With just a few days to go until the Dublin Marathon, we have been talking to some runners about why they are running the Dublin Marathon, as well as some questions about their running journey. 

Next up is Garry Cribbin of Celbridge AC and from County Kildare.

Garry Cribbin is best known as a Jockey agent to some of the leading jockeys in Irish Horse-Racing including Rachael Blackmore, Conor Brasil, Sean Flanagan, Darragh O'Keeffe, Denis O'Regan, Kevin Sexton and Mark Walsh to name but a few.

While the format of the interviews follows a similar format, Garry's journey to being a runner has been inspirational. Starting out as a promising young jockey, Garry saw his life and career come to a sudden halt after suffering a fall and fracturing his neck. Walking again was a show of determination, and showcased the determination and winning mentality that brought him to horse racing.

Sadly, the Irish Racing community came to a sudden halt in 2013 when the ever present JT McNamara sustained a serious back injury and a broken neck after a fall at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival which left him paralysed and using a wheelchair. The Irish racing community came together to support JT and his family through a range of fundraisers.

This proved to be the catalyst for Garry as he ran his first marathon to raise funds for JT and his family. Fast forward 9 years, and Garry is preparing for Dublin again, with ambitions of a sub 2:35 marathon. Garry is a sub 16 min 5K runner, and is the embodiment of how being faced with life changing adversity, anything is possible.

Having required neck fusion surgery after the fall, Garry has established himself as the leading Jockey agent while also running six major marathons around the world.

Hi Garry, tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am 41 years old born and bred in Co.Kildare. My first love before I got the running bug was horses. I work as a jockeys agent and in my youth I threw my hand at being a jockey! I love sports and being active and running has really become a part of my daily life now! I love the outdoors and enjoy the odd hike when I get a chance. I have two boys who keep me busy aside from work and running. I love being involved in their sports and spending time with them.

Why are you running the Dublin marathon?

I have a soft spot for Dublin I suppose! It was my first marathon many years ago and although I swore it was my first and last it holds many memories and paved the way for a successes I could never have anticipated.

Can you remember the moment when you decided to run your first marathon?

I remember clearly..

I wanted to do something for the late John Thomas McNamara who had a serious fall at Cheltenham so I took this mad notion to run the Dublin ...I'd never run 5k before let alone 42.2!

However, having been on the operating table myself after a very serious accident I knew I could rise to the challenge.

Have you run many marathons before? Have you any run this year, or planned for next year?

This will be my 25th marathon! No plans … day by day!

How did you get into running?

As I stated above it was witnessing the fall and injuries of J.T that evoked something in me.. I wanted to do something.. something I knew he would love to be able to do.

How do you find the time to train? And how do you cope with missed sessions?

Early mornings work for me! It’s part of my routine now so it gets done..

There is always time!

If I miss a session I am injured or it’s an emergency… I don’t miss many! However if it’s missed it’s gone. Move on.

How has your preparation been for the marathon? Have you run other races, or shorter races? Have you had injuries?

I have had a good year and I’ve managed a PB over the 5k in recent weeks. I am carrying an injury of old. I’m a bit apprehensive about it but keeping the fingers crossed!

Everyone has a different method of training. Do you train with a club or on your own? Tell us about your training plan

I try link up with local lads as much as possible for training but I've no problem training on my own either. I think everyone would agree that you definitely get more from sessions when you are chasing somebody.

I love using races for sessions and I find that works for me. Its not for everyone but it gives me a push and a boost and makes lining up less daunting when it’s a regular thing. Lastly, run as easy as you can on your easy days and treat every session with 100% respect.

What is your goal time for the Dublin marathon?

If I could dip under 2.38 I would be happy!

What would your advice be to runners heading into the marathon?

My advice to all runners would be … Look at it as your last long run or the year. Don’t fix what's not broken.. no trying anything new on race day! Get as much sleep and rest as possible...but most importantly of all run your own race and not the race of the person beside you. You’re doing this for you. You’d know I work with horses when I say ‘blinkers on’ but I mean it! You you and only you.

Do you have any techniques to motivate yourself when the going gets tough?

I think of the days I couldn’t walk .. let alone run. I think of those who would love to be in my position and I also know no matter what I’ll feel better after a run - even if it’s not my best one. Everyone has tough days .. and accepting that is part and parcel of it all too. Bad day .. move on. It won’t define you.

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