Run Up Talks: Training Tips, Inclusion & Setting New Challenges With James Doherty

TCF are proud to introduce James Doherty; talented rugby coach, runner and dedicated supporter of inclusive sports. James is taking on the Derry/Londonderry Half Marathon this weekend! We caught up with him ahead of the big day.

How is the training going?
It’s going well thank you! My consistent training has been paying off and rugby pre-season has boosted my fitness even more over the last few weeks.

How did you first hear about The Change Foundation?
I got to know TCF through your Ambassador and my good friend Ian Mckinley. We coach the Rainey Old Boys R.F.C together in Northern Ireland.

Ian has done some amazing work establishing the VI Rugby programme with The Change Foundation. Having coached a disability rugby programme myself, I’ve been really eager to fundraise and support the programme in any way I can.

How did you get into running?
Rugby and fitness have always been a huge part of life. I was more of a short distance runner in school, but my rugby and coaching career made me adopt longer distance running to push my fitness.

What made you choose to run the Derry/London Derry Half Marathon for TCF?
Over lockdown I would go running with a friend who was taking part in a 150-mile running challenge. It inspired me to take on a challenge myself and having following Ian’s work on the V.I Rugby programme. It all came together really well.

What does sport mean to you and how do you feel it impacts our society?
For me sport has always been an amazing way of bringing people together. Having grown up around the conflict in Northern Ireland, I saw how sports; rugby in particular, could bring communities together.

The physical and social benefits of sports have no limits and even after my 20-year career in coaching I’m still inspired by the power of sport.

Any tips and tricks that have worked well for you?
I’m a massive gym class advocate and join 10-12 classes a week which has helped my fitness and training massively.

I’m not a huge headphone/music person when I run, but I have noticed that gym music makes a big difference when training inside so I recommend people try training with and without.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing their first half marathon?
Don’t set your time standards too high. Taking part and finishing is an incredible achievement as it is.

If you’ve never run before doing park runs or running with your friends is a great way to build fitness and confidence. Also… take any advice you can get because it could always help transform your running journey!

How’s fundraising going?
I didn’t set a specific fundraising target but it’s going very well. The rugby community are fantastic and so supportive and my club in particular have been amazing. Thank you to everyone that has supported me so far!

Good luck this weekend James, the TCF family are with you all the way! Please support and donate to his fundraiser here.

For more information on the Visually Impaired Rugby Programme contact Alex Bassan.

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