September Runner of the Month: Louise O'Neill

The first time Louise O’Neill tried to join a running group, it wasn't very enjoyable. “I wasn’t fast enough,” she says. “I left before the run even started.” She mentioned the experience to a couple of friends who happened to be NBR members. They told her things would be different if she tried NBR. “I wasn’t sure,” she admits. “I stalked the Google Group emails for a few months.” But when she finally turned up, she really enjoyed it—and kept coming back week after week.

That was early 2017, and she’s been running with the club ever since. She’s trained for two NYC marathons with the group runs, and for most of this year, she’s helped lead the Wednesday Form Run in Prospect Park.

She’s proud to be an NBR member. One of her most notable memories was when she raced in Narragansett last year: “I overheard the local people talk about the people from Brooklyn. They wanted us to come back.”


What she does when not running: “I’m a structural engineer and I specialize in existing and historic buildings. It allows me to see a lot of New York and use math, which are my two favorite things. I like to hike, travel, read and make lists. My current list is to see all 50 states, so far I’m on 33.”

How she initially got into running: “I have a FOMO problem. All my friends at work ran, so I convinced myself I could, too.”

Favorite race distance: “10 miles. It’s the best part of a half marathon but long enough to be fun.”

Best running memories: “Team Russell Simmons. TNT. Thursday morning track with Bev involving coffee or animals. Prospect park loops with Caitlin, or many long runs with the Caboose Crew.”

Smiling with an NBR crew before the NYC Marathon

Smiling with an NBR crew before the NYC Marathon

Favorite running route in NYC: “West Side Highway, Red Hook track or Prospect Park”

Her race day superstition: “I need a McDonald’s coffee before a race —it’s normally the only place open. Anytime I don’t have it, the race goes really badly.”

What running has taught her: ”Just because you didn’t like something at school doesn’t mean you will never like it. Supportive people make a real difference.”

Favorite post-race food: “Pizza.”

The song that makes her want to run: “I’m not a music person when I run, but ‘New York, New York’ at the start of the NYC Marathon is the best run song.”

Favorite running social media accounts: “Shalane Flanagan, NBR and nycrunningmama—she runs, has children and has a job and is really inspiring.”

Worst part about being a runner: ”Sweat and the time commitment. And people telling you it will ruin your knees/joints/soul—I just reply that I’ll take my chances.”

Best advice to running newbies: “Run with other people, but you only need to compete with yourself.”

Current running goal: “To PR in Chicago—sub-4 is my stretch goal.”