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Meet the members: Patrick Brennan

How long have you been a member of Queen’s Park Harriers?

Just over 3 years. Susan Kennedy anticipated my looming midlife crisis and encouraged me to become a Hoopster ( I ran on my own before). I suspect otherwise I may have invested in tanned leather trousers, got a garish tatoo and rode halfway across the world on a Harley Davidson, making myself bankrupt while drinking myself to death. Thanks Susan, you were probably right, though in marathon long run training I still think it a viable option and dream of what might have been. Patrick hums "Keep the motor running..."

What's the best thing about running?  

Hearing one's heart beat hard and knowing one is mentally, emotionally and physically stronger because of running. Real life throws all kinds of stuff* at you but you are better prepared if you have ran endurance races.

*Edited from another word beginning with s.

What's your favourite running event? 

Cross country! Wet and muddy, best of all. I love the elemental nature of it. Parliament Hill in November is brilliant. I missed last year through injury, but went along to support and was inspired by the number of Harriers that ran. The Harrier Women especially have been awesome this last Cross Country season. Three years ago only Sophie, Emma and Susan seemed to turn up; now it's often double figures, and they keep winning too. Perivale 12k post-Christmas Cross Country is my absolute favourite, and Bill O'Connor and I refuel with a few pints of Guinness after in the pub opposite the course. Well deserved nutrition for the old timers.

What else do you do? 

I have been a professional actor all my working life. I am currently in Stratford-upon-Avon with the Royal Shakespeare Company performing in 'As You Like It' and rehearsing 'Measure For Measure', hence my infrequent Tuesday night track sessions in Willesden. I run some good runs and routes around Stratford, but I miss the camaraderie that comes with running with fellow Hoopsters. I am training for the Newport marathon in south Wales this May, and training on my own is tough. It's cheaper than all the other Harrier marathons, though, and I can stay at my Mam's house for free. Every cloud...

Tell us something surprising about yourself that other members may not know. 

I was a reasonably good ball sportsperson as a kid and captained my football club Pontnewydd Under 14's to The Torfaen League Title. I also played rugby and was fly half and captain for St Albans Catholic School, and represented Pontypool Schools Under 15's. I ran and came 3rd in the Torfaen Borough Schools Athletics Championship 1,500 metres. It was around then that I found a passion for theatre, and sport took a back seat while I spent the next 30 years boozing, smoking and smooching with my fellow thespians. At one time I smoked 40 Benson and Hedges a day and had put on a couple of stone. I loved it, but it's not advisable or sustainable. I stopped smoking when I turned 30, played a bit of 5 aside footie, ran the occasional jog or a 10k to raise money for my kids' school, but it's only since I have been a Hoopster have I felt as fit and healthy, in body and mind as I was when I was 15.

Good luck to everyone for the MARATHON season. X


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