Shape I'm In: I want my kids to be in awe of the world

"I don't like when people are judgemental. We don't know what people are going through. I believe people do the best with what they have and if that isn't perfect we need to understand that."
Shape I'm In: I want my kids to be in awe of the world

Róisín McGettigan-Dumas is teaming up with the Olympic Federation of Ireland for their Road to Tokyo schools series.

Even though she has retired from competitive racing, you can still find former Olympian Róisín McGettigan-Dumas running around her home in Rhode Island every day. “It's just drilled into me at this point. I'm like a dog at the door dying to get out. It's just a part of my nature,” the Wicklow native says.

Mcgettigan-Dumas first moved to the US as a student, where she competed under Waterford coach Ray Treacy and went on to run in the 2008 Olympic games. She won a bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships and holds the Irish record in the steeplechase. She ended up settling in the US, but the mum of three still calls Ireland home. 

“I got home at Christmas for a bit when things opened up. I was dying to get back because I had a baby last year so wanted to bring him home. It was brilliant. I'm so grateful we had that time,” the 40 year old says.

A sports psychologist and co-founder of Believe I Am training journals, McGettigan-Dumas is currently working with the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Road to Tokyo schools challenge, which encourages children to get more active.

“The ambassadors who are on the programme are brilliant. I love watching them compete and their stories are so inspiring.”

  • Find out more at www.daretobelieve.ie/roadtotokyo

What shape are you in?

I run every day but compared to when I was training for the Olympics it's not even on the same stratosphere. I don't need to stress myself out with times now though.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I like to make sure I have something green every day. Either a juice, salad, or vegetables. Maybe it's psychological but I do feel better after it.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Mini chocolate eggs are a killer.

What would keep you awake at night?

My eight-month-old. My other two kids slept through the night [when they were babies] but this one is giving me sleepless nights. Otherwise, when I'm working on projects I like to work into the night. Because I have little kids I find that it's easier to be creative when I have a bit of uninterrupted time.

How do you relax?

When I feel stressed I go for a run. I have a record player as well and I love listening to Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell.

Who are your sporting heroes?

Growing up it was Sonia O' Sullivan and Catherina McKiernan. Then when I was in college it was Marie Davenport. She had been to the Olympics and went to Providence College, where I went. Now it's my friends: Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson. They're still coached by Ray Treacy and are dominant athletes on the US scene. I'll be rooting for them for the Olympics.

What is your favourite smell?

My grandfather used to cook mushrooms in Kerrygold butter and put loads of pepper on them and I love that smell. I just started making them for my kids and it brought me right back to his kitchen.

When is the last time you cried?

I was at my daughter's birthday the other day and was talking to a grandmother of one of the other kids, who is a nurse, and she told me about all of the people she saw die in the nursing home she works in [during the pandemic]. It was really emotional to hear how hard it had been for her.

What traits do you least like in others?

I don't like when people are judgemental. We don't know what people are going through. I believe people do the best with what they have and if that isn't perfect we need to understand that.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I'm not great with estimating time. It just doesn't come easy to me.

Do you pray?

I do. I want to teach my kids to take that pause to be grateful for things and to just be in awe of the world.

What would cheer up your day?

That eight-month-old that keeps me up also cheers up my day. Watching my older kids playing with him is the best. You also can't beat having a laugh with friends and listening to good music.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I love to run Murrough beach in Wicklow. When you go up past the first mile you're in this remote area where it's beach on one side and farmland on the other. It's my perfect place.

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