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Joggler Interview – Diarmuid Collins the Irish Joggler

Posted Nov 04 2010 7:48am

Diarmuid first contacted us looking for advice about joggling a marathon. He liked what he found and went ahead and completed the Dublin Marathon while joggling . Here’s the story of how he got into joggling.

My name is Diarmuid Collins. I am 28 and come from Dublin, Ireland. I work as an electronics researcher with a university in Dublin Ireland. I am an avid juggler, jogger and above all …joggler… who holds the Irish national record for joggling a marathon with 3 balls.

When I was 20, I missed the bus home from University. As the next bus was in 2 hours, I decided to take shelter from the rain in the nearby University gym. That night coincidentally, the university juggling society was practising! Walking into the hall, seeing all those objects flying into the air just enthralled me. I became completely addicted to the hobby, learning over the coming years to juggle 3, 4 and 5 balls, rings, clubs, knives, fire sticks, whatever I could get my hands on.

I’ve been juggling now for about 10years and jogging for about 15. Truth is, about 1 year after I learned to juggle I became interested in the challenge of joggling . However, due to various reasons I didn’t actually start joggling until 5 months ago.

Central to juggling is rhythm in your arms. Central to jogging is rhythm in your legs. The combination of the two just seemed perfect to me i.e. combining the movement of your legs with your arms to obtain total body co-ordination. In addition, both practices require Zen like concentration, another aspect which makes them perfectly matched. As I already did both exclusively I decided – why not try both in unison!

Also, joggling is strange, it grabs peoples attention and above all – it’s great fun … how could I resist!!!

In total I have completed 4 races whilst joggling: Dublin City 10 mile fun run, Dublin City half marathon, Graz (Austria) Half marathon and the 2010 Dublin City Marathon.

My favourite race is without doubt, the 2010 Dublin City Marathon. It was the first time anyone had ever joggled that marathon and, for most of the spectators, the first time they had ever even seen a joggler! So you can imagine the kind of response I got … over the 26.2 mile course I think every spectator who saw me was cheering, shouting, blowing horns … unbelievable … it really got the crowds going and in turn, their positive energy kept me going. Truly an unforgettable experience, running up the final straight, thousands of people either side screaming and shouting at you, you’re feeling like death but still seem to keep going! With all the cheers and excitement, I found I had to concentrate extra hard on the juggling aspect, as my left wrist had seized up after 24miles which slightly hindered my arm movement. But thankfully, I focused hard, soaked up the positive vibes and got passed the finish line!!!

At the end, I had interviews with various papers … even the next day I woke up to see my picture in 4 national newspapers … first time that ever happened to me … strange … wish I had shaved that day!!!

I’ve been joggling for 5 months now and some of the things I’ve experienced are priceless. I joggle in Ireland, where people (believe it or not!) like the odd drink … or 10! The most entertaining runs I would do were always on a Friday evening where, I would time the runs such that I am joggling through the main streets of my local town at 9pm. At this time people are on their 4th or 5th pint of Guinness, standing outside the bar having a cigarette and when you joggle by after that … the responses are priceless! Old men shaking their heads in bewilderment going “jaysus Paddy, I think I’ve had to much … could have sworn I just saw a guy running with 3 balls … think I’ll order a pint of water next”!

Then passing through the main street one evening, I overheard a college student shouting “ah great … I didn’t think the circus Olympics were on here this weekend”. In addition I found I would often end up with 3 or 4 kids running behind me … which I loved, as it kind of made me feel like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 2!!!

I would say I’m a medium speed joggler and train 3 to 4 times per week. Most weeks are done purely whilst juggling although I may spend the odd week simply jogging to give me a break from the balls. I suppose a typical training week for me would be:

  • Tuesday – Run at an easy pace for a moderate distance (~ 6miles) to loosen the joints.
  • Thursday – Speed training. Do 200m ? 1km fartleks to get speed into my legs.
  • Friday – Run a moderate distance at a harder pace (~ 6 to 8 miles clocked).
  • Sunday – Long distance joggle. Could be between 15 and 20 miles.

In general I eat healthy. Before a long run / race I carb up with bread and pasta 2 / 3 nights before. I also include a large portion of fruit in my daily diet and try to drink as much water as possible. I think in general if you look after yourself and your health, you’re halfway to becoming a good joggler!

I’m joggling 5 months now and have completed a variety of races. I really enjoy it and am learning more about the sport every time I got out and do it. So for now I would say I will joggle indefinitely … it improves fitness / co-ordination, gives a great sense of achievement and makes people laugh and smile … so why would I stop anytime soon!

Lots. This website has given me great tips on joggling that have really helped me throughout training. However, over the past 5 months here are some additional things I have learned:

1. Become very fluent at juggling your chosen number of objects. This will improve ball control and maneuverability, two very important aspects when trying to weave in and out of competitors / navigate around wide corners, during a race.

2. I don’t know if this applies to everyone but perhaps it might help: When going up hills I found that keeping the balls closer to my chest and ball throws short helped me go faster and steadier. Correspondingly, when going downhill the opposite applies … throw higher and further from you. Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for this or perhaps it was just the style I adopted, but nevertheless it’s worth a try.

3. Don’t look directly at the balls. This inhibits your overall vision, possibly resulting in injury to yourself or others. In addition, it inhibits your enjoyment of the sport as you don’t get to see people’s expressions as you joggle past, as well as the countryside you may be joggling through.

Keep your head up and look straight ahead. Throw the balls into your vision as; once your brain sees the object, it will automatically register your hands to continue the juggling pattern. Visualize an imaginary triangle in front of you with which to keep the balls roughly inside of.

4. Don’t practice on busy roads. Dropped balls are unpredictable. They can go anywhere. Dropping on a busy road may result in a ball suddenly falling into the path of oncoming traffic which could lead to disastrous consequences. Practice on safer back roads and through pleasant countryside. Also, work in portions of your run through areas with lots of people … you will give them huge amusement, in turn their expression will boost your motivation and also, it is good practice for race day where you can have hundreds, even thousands of people, all concentrating on you!

5. Have as much fun as you can with the sport. Enjoy every minute of every joggling session and don’t be too hard on yourself when you drop the balls. Just pick them up and keep going.

Joggling is a great sport. It combines everything – full body movement, intense concentration, co-ordination and most of all … amazes and entertains people. What other sport can offer this? I hope the sport will get more and more attention in the coming years … perhaps even become an Olympic sport someday … hey, if ribbon gymnastics can be one … what cant joggling!

As jogglers, we all need to do our part – get out there and publicise the sport through race participation and training sessions. I think if we all do this, interest in the sport will rise exponentially … everyone loves juggling and there seems to be a magnetic attraction to anyone who joggles a race – I mean the day after I joggled the Dublin Marathon, there were photos of me in 4 of the national newspapers!

If we all do something like this, then interest in the sport will grow and who knows what height it could achieve in 10 years.

Great story Diarmuid! Looking forward to hearing about some of your future joggling adventures. See this page for more joggling interviews .

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