Taking on the world for the Irish Heart Foundation

By June Shannon CPR News   |   8th Aug 2018

Celine McPhillips will represent Ireland at the European Triathlon Sprint Championship and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to help raise funds money for Irish Heart Foundation.

This Saturday, Aug 11th – Celine will compete in the 2018 ETU European Triathlon Sprint Championships which will see approximately 1,200 of the top Age group Triathletes compete for European glory at Strathclyde Country Park.

By day Celine works full time as resuscitation nurse with the Irish Heart Foundation and she spends every other waking moment on her other passion – training for and competing in triathlons.

Next month Celine will head to South Africa to represent Ireland at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship women’s race which takes place on Saturday, September 1. The “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles (113.0 km) covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run or half marathon. Each distance of the swim, bike, and run segments is half the distance of that segment in an Ironman triathlon.

The event will take place in Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, September 1. This is the first time an IRONMAN World Championship event will be held on the African continent.

Celine qualified for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2018 by coming second in her age group in the gruelling tough IRONMAN 70.3 in Lanzarote last year.

Celine did her first triathlon more than 10 years ago and said it was something she started “as a bit of fun” as she was looking for a new adventure. When she did her first race in 2004 Celine admitted that she couldn’t swim very well, didn’t own a bike but that didn’t stop her rising to the challenge. Shortly after she was hooked. She said she particularly enjoyed the social side to training and competing with fellow athletes, some of who have since become lifelong friends.

As she prepared to travel to the Europeans – Celine spoke to the Irish Heart Foundation about what it means to take on Europe and the world while also raising funds for the prevention of heart disease and stroke.


Q. Why have you chosen to support the Irish Heart Foundation

A: “I think it is a great cause. Unfortunately, heart disease is very common, what family hasn’t been affected? Recently one of my running buddies has had a stroke and both my grandfathers died from heart disease. I would also like to raise funds and awareness for our CPR programs.

It is good to be active from a health point of view and I wanted to support the Irish Heart Foundation in promoting awareness and prevention of heart disease and stroke. I love sport and it is good to encourage and motivate people. It is not all about high impact or extreme sport, it is just about getting out and getting active, taking part but most of all having fun”


Q. How much do you train? Tell us what you do to prepare for each race physically?

A: “Training is the hard bit. You must be organized especially when you are working fulltime as well. So, it’s about having the bag packed the night before ready to go training straight after work and it’s about having your meals prepped fueling for the day ahead.

I train six days a week and I have one rest day/ recovery day. At weekends I train twice or three times a day. I like to do three swims, three bikes, three runs; of varying speeds and distances, over the week all directed to me by my coach Michelle Dillion of Team Dillion. I try to train with other groups because although triathlon is an individual sport, it can be quite isolating during the tough Irish weather conditions although this summer has been so kind. Preparing for the race is all about the training and believing in the work that you have done.”


Q: What motivates you to keep going when you’re training non-stop?

A: “What motivates me is always having a goal. If you know what your goal is then it is like anything else, it is just planning to reach that goal.”


Q.What advice would you give to individuals interested in getting involved in active challenges/marathons?

A: “It would be to pick an event, any event and get involved with a club or a friend. Enjoy it and have fun. It’s always better to find someone to link with it as it can be difficult on your own. Check out events in your area, such as a couch to 5k or a community park run is a great way of starting and meeting people with similar abilities. There are lots of local events every weekend, so you should find it easy to join a friendly or beginner event.”


Q. What are your top training tips for individuals currently training for mini marathons or marathons for Team Irish Heart Foundation?

A: “My top tip would be to find someone to train with who motivates you and always have a countdown to the event in your head. Positive affirmations are also helpful. Joining or setting up a WhatsApp group with other people who are also training can also help to keep you motivated. Remember to be organized and it’s always better to train in a group as there is safety & motivation in numbers.”


Q. What mentally keeps you focused during the race?

A: “I am a bit stubborn, being stubborn helps. It also helps to know that you are going to reach that target in the end and that you have the training done, so the miles are in the bank. Talking to myself also helps but perhaps one of the best things that motivated me recently was knowing that my nieces & family were cheering me on from the sidelines. I knew I had to finish and I couldn’t give up.” Also competing for your cause, knowing the good it will bring helps you to keep going, giving it your best knowing that these vital funds will go to great projects to reducing heart disease or supporting CPR teaching programmes.


If you would like to support Celine and raise vital funds for the Irish Heart Foundation, please see https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/celine-mcphillips


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fundraising heart disease marathon stroke

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