Saturday 19 August 2017

'I did an Ironman Challenge nine months after giving birth'

Eve with her two daughters Ava and Nessa
Eve with her two daughters Ava and Nessa

Arlene Harris

EVE McCrystal knows a thing or two about life being a balancing act. The mother of two — Ava (8) and Nessa (7) — lives in Dundalk and works as a guard in Ballybay, Co Monaghan.

She undertook an Ironman Challenge nine months after her second daughter was born and if that wasn’t enough, went to Rio as a ‘pilot’ for a partially sighted tandem cyclist in the Paralympics last year.

Garda Eve McCrystal
Garda Eve McCrystal

“My life has always been busy and doing the Ironman after Nessa was born was primarily to get my body back but also, I work better when I’m busy and believe it makes me a better person, mother and athlete as well. I get twice as much done when I’m busy, but on my recovery days I’m so tired and really drag my feet but I suppose that’s what those days are for."

In 2013, Neill Delahaye (Cycling Ireland National performance coach) contactedme and asked me to try ou for the position of pilot on the tandem. I did and haven’t looked back. We went to the Paralympics in Rio [Eve as pilot with partially sighted ‘stoker’ Katie George Dunlevey] and came home with a gold and silver medal. This was such a relief because I spent quite a bit of time away from the girls, which I found very difficult. But there was no way any other nation was taking a medal away from us in the Time Trial. We were going for gold and we got it. Then we went into the Road Race feeling relaxed as the pressure was off so it really was the icing on the cake to come home with a silver medal for that.

Back at home, my daily routine starts with a training session before the kids wake — then I take them off to school. I work part-time at the minute and my job is very varied, which I love.

I train six days a week and this includes 5-6 bike sessions and two sessions in the gym. Every day is different, depending on what the girls have on, but I try to keep them active with horse riding, swimming and gymnastics— they love it. I have the best mother in the world (Frances) who helps me every single day and I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without her. So I hope my girls will be proud of me. I want them to grow into confident, determined little women and know that whatever they want in life, if they believe in themselves, work hard and surround themselves with supportive and positive people, they will achieve it. The sky is the limit you just have to work hard to get there.”

Eve pictured at the sport star awards
Eve pictured at the sport star awards

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