The Best/Worst Marathon In Ireland Survey

Posted in Photojournalism, Survey | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why I Am Quitting Facebook


Nice picture! Great picture! Oh that’s one for the frame! You look gorgeous, darling!

No, it’s a terrible picture! I look terrible and no it’s not one for the frame! You are all liars!

I find myself liking people who post belligerent and controversial bile that I don’t even agree with more than people who incessantly say all the right things in such a syrupy sweet way that I may be developing diabetes as a direct result.

And then there are those that present perfectly idyllic family lives and this really pisses me off, because nobody has such a life.

A contrary old bastard, you are, is what some of you, at this juncture, may be thinking, but I don’t care.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “How can thou do aught but love me, when I say that thou doth disgust me?” Henry was an author I used to enjoy from the pre-Facebook days when I used to actually read outside of the mind polluting noise that Facebook often is. His point, if rather bluntly told, was that he was honest and people hated him for it, which is kind of funny and leads us to the conclusion that what people really want to surround themselves with are a bunch of phony liars, which is how Facebook often feels.

Take for example the lie of being “Facebook friends” with somebody who wishes you “Happy Birthday!” every year. How many of them hundreds or even thousands of friends would send you a card or even a text if Facebook didn’t tell them? I shall tell you: probably not even one. I know this because I removed my birth date from Facebook and I used to be inundated with birthday messages and now get maybe one if I am lucky.

Facebook is called “Social Media” but I find I actually meet people less in real life than before it existed so I’m inclined to wonder how social it really is.

I think Facebook presents such a fake representation of reality that it makes people extraordinarily depressed and that this is part of the reason that suicide is at an all time high.

Every time we post something we are anxious to see how many people hit the like button and zero likes leaves us feeling a bit anxious and as if, in fact, nobody likes us, and perhaps even hate us.

Kurt Cobain once said that he would rather be hated for someone he is than loved for someone he is not. A bold statement, sure, and I’m not sure how many of us have the mental fortitude to be happy when we feel like everybody hates us because the world, without people, is a very cold and lonely place and really makes no sense.

When I say I am quitting Facebook, what I really mean is that I am getting rid of my personal page and messenger. I shall be keeping my Galway COW page as there are heaps of photos on there that people like to look at from time to time, and I shall also be popping blog post links on there though in truth email address subscriptions generate many times more traffic than Facebook page likes.

Posting photos on Facebook used to be a wonderful way to generate lots of publicity for one’s efforts but they have changed it in such a way that it is now practically useless unless you’re ploughing a small fortune into sponsored adverts, making a page with a million likes barely more beneficial than one which has only a few thousand. The Facebook pages that have the best traction are almost always those of physical people who regularly interact with others in the real world. Just look at the traction of many big business pages. It’s garbage! Nobody interacts with posts from a 1 million follower page unless they are constantly ploughing money into ads which really makes Facebook ads less effective than many other forms of ads.

My final, and possibly biggest, reason for quitting Facebook is that it is a ferocious time waste and I firmly believe that I could become fluent, within a year, in two languages if I used Facebook time to study.

I don’t mean this post to be all negative because I have had some wonderful interactions with people through the platform but I can’t help but feel that those interactions would be much more meaningful in real life.

If just 5 of my 100s of Facebook friends keep in touch then I shall be delighted. Interacting with 5 people once a year in a meaningful and much more intimate way where you can see facial expressions, hear the sound and tone of their voices and laughter has to be much more wholesome and enjoyable than 1000s of soulless interactions through the cold and brain damaging medium that is Facebook.

Talk soon,

P.S: I shall fire on my phone number to anyone who might care to keep in contact :).

Posted in Photojournalism, Thoughts On Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How To Do A Marathon Without Training


Writing this post feels kind of stupid because doing a marathon no longer seems like a big deal to me. But notice how I said “doing”, not running.

I had aspirations of running a marathon since my mid twenties but every single time I got into the rhythm of training my knees, back, or hamstrings, or something else got screwed up and my running came to an abrupt end.

At around 32 I could not run half a mile down the road without feeling like someone was pounding the inside of my knees with a hammer. I had had gait analysis done several times and all but one practitioner sold me orthotics with one pair costing €400. The last chap to perform a gait analysis on me charged me an extortionate amount of €180 for shoes he thought would be ideal for me. None of these people were helpful at doing anything other than sucking money out of my pocket.

In the summer of my 32nd year I, by various influences, first thought of running barefoot and so plodded a half mile down the road, under the cover of darkness in case anybody would see me sans shoes and think me a lunatic. Fascinatingly, though I was slow, it was the first time I had done anything like running in years. More fascinatingly – aside from the big ass blisters on my toes – it was pain free. The next day I had slight aches in muscles, ligaments, and tendons in my feet that I didn’t even previously realise were there.

Fast forward two years and I ran my best half marathon in Clonakilty in a time of 1hr 25mins. I had felt I was on track to run sub 1hr 15mins but the death of a relative sent me into a brief love affair with cigarettes and alcohol and I weighed 20lbs more on the day than I had planned.

At this point I did not know anybody in the running community and for me running was a solitary fitness activity that I guess I chose because I often find human relations kind of difficult and awkward. My mouth and brain work in tandem and so sometimes I offend people up to the eyeballs without even realising I am doing it. I think expressing opinions about anything is always a surefire way to offend somebody though, so just by talking and saying what you think will get somebody’s knickers in a twist, but anyway, I digress.

In 2015 I was determined that I would win the Rock ‘N’ Roll Dublin half marathon and trained hard for it. Too hard. I did a long training run of 30 miles three weeks before it and subsequently felt like all the muscles in my legs caught fire. Chills rocked through my body and I went into severe burnout. I did not run in the event and an old hip/back injury flared up quite badly. I didn’t run again for two years but in the interim started taking photos of marathons as a pirate photographer instead, as I’ve always had a weird fascination with endurance events.

Pretty quickly I realised that the guys and gals at the front of the pack in marathons looked like they were having a really shitty time and were running like they were being chased by Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Depending on the event, the guys in front were always different guys that I’d mostly never see again. But then I started noticing these other people, and they seemed to be at every marathon in the country, and loving every minute of it. I blogged about encountering a lot of these people in various posts. Feel free to check them out if you so wish.

So, from taking photos I saw a whole other side to running and realised that while the front runners are red lining themselves to a point close to cardiac arrest, there were this whole other bunch having a lot of fun that didn’t care a damn about doing a sub-whatever. For these people the social aspect of running was what seemed most important.

Fat, lethargic, nauseous, prone to heartburn, with a sore hip and neck, I agreed to run a half marathon in Achill at the end of August with only a week to train. Race director Donna McLoughlin was short of carcasses on the start line for the pre-main-event directors run and asked if I’d come, so I impulsively agreed.

Having not run in two years and feeling positively banjaxed, I went for a two mile run to test my legs. Like the wolf that tried to blow down the houses of the three little pigs I huffed and I puffed and felt like a giant ball of death for the entire day afterwards.

Ring that Donna, I thought, and tell her that there’s no way I was doing a half-marathon….but I couldn’t, I felt embarrassed. Donna is a natural born runner who won a 24 hour event in Belfast a few years back with a mile count of 120.

So, with one week to go before the event I did the only thing I could do to train – I ate in the healthiest way I could conceive. I lived on avocados, apples, raw beetroot, liver, fish, onions, garlic, raw carrots etc. I also cut out coffee and bread.

I lost around 7 pounds in that week and on the day I was due to run the half marathon I felt bursting with energy to the point where I started thinking I could run a full marathon.

I decided to bring no watch and no GPS and to concentrate on going at a pace where my breath was not laboured. If I felt my breath getting laboured, which happened on the hills, I stopped and walked.

The course in Achill is a looped one consisting of 13.1 mile loops, and I think it’s the most scenic in the country.

At kilometre 12, my ideas about doing a full marathon had evaporated. Since I was little more than halfway through the half marathon (1 loop) I thought there was no way in hell I’d do the full (2 loops), but then a funny thing happened.

All through the course I had been thinking that the signs were all in kilometres, but at some point after what I had thought was 12kms I realised I had done 12miles. While I felt I thought I wasn’t feeling great for 12kms, I felt pretty darn good for 20kms.

At the end of the first loop I caught up with a chap called Philip and decided to do another lap. We recognised each other from my marathon photo adventures and so had a good chat while doing the second loop.

My first lap was 2hrs 7mins and my second was 3 hours, which, for those of you that have terrible maths, resulted in a 5hr 7min marathon.

Since the end of August (it is now three months ago) I have done another 2 marathons and two ultra marathons (32 miles at the Listowel Endurance Festival and 30 miles at the Eddie Murphy Memorial Run).

I just plod along at these events and enjoy them for the banter and post race endorphins. After each one I feel a bit stronger though oddly, even though I am technically trained now, I don’t seem to be any faster than when I did my first marathon at the end of August.

So, aside from my, what some might call strange, training practices, the way to do a marathon without training can be summarised as follows:

Don’t look at your watch
Talk to people
Enjoy the scenery
Eat well
Just do it

See ye on the roads, kids.


Posted in How to, Life, Life Tips, Photojournalism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegans Are Trying To Make Animals Extinct, Warn Experts.


Experts have today released a shocking announcement that farm animals may all be extinct in the near future if the current spread of Veganism continues unabated.

“These people say that animals are sentient beings and should not be eaten,” said Dr Tom Foolery of the Institute of Protecting Animals From the Threat of Vegans, “but, let’s face it – nobody is going to keep a cow, a sheep, or a pig, or whatever, as a pet, so if everyone becomes vegan then such animals will cease to exist.”

Hitting back at the suggestion, the vegan community issued a statement that said a life where the only purpose was to be eaten was worse than extinction.

Dr Tom Foolery said it was good that animals had a purpose; many humans did not and this resulted in them getting drunk all the time.

The Galway Cow News, bringing you socio-political stories that actually make sense in a fucked up sort of way.

Posted in Galway, Life Tips, Photojournalism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Galway Man Thinks He’s A Cow, Demands Respect


“A cow trapped inside a man’s body, that’s how I feel,” said the Galway man in a mooving tone.

“I don’t know why it’s so hard to fathom,” he continued, “I mean women get trapped in men’s bodies and men get trapped in women’s bodies so I just don’t see why my condition is so hard to accept.”

“What makes you think you’re a cow?” we enquired.

“I like grass,” he said, “not eating it though, smoking it, Jamaican Super Skunk. Cows have four stomachs but I only have one, but the weed suits me grand. I just smoke it all day and stare out the window, munching, just like a cow does.”

When asked what he thought about people who said he was mentally ill and referred to him as a ‘mad cow’ he said, “They used to think gays were mentally ill, but look – now we have a gay Taoiseach. My hope is that one day a cow will be Taoiseach; I believe it will happen.”

The Galway Cow News, bringing you human interest stories that you care about.

Posted in Galway, Photojournalism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pussy Plans To Run Ten Marathons In Ten Years For Feminist Charity


No, not a cat, just a very feeble “man” with feminist tendencies as evidenced by his desire to support the newly founded charity called The Irish Alliance Of Women Against Men.

A relation of top RTE executives, the man was on the Late Late Show to talk about his upcoming challenge.

While his efforts were applauded by the feminist charity, the running community took to Twitter to vent their outrage.

One man, who ran 100 marathons in 100 weeks, felt that he should probably be made president if this “fucking pussy” deserved airtime for his “pathetic efforts”.

“My mate John Joe ran 1500 miles in a month and he didn’t get no TV appearance. Fucking Joke,” said another angry Twitter user.

It is unclear, at this juncture, if the “man” will go ahead with his “challenge” in light of the fact that the running community will most probably shun him for his lame attempt at doing something impressive.

The Galway Cow News, bringing you the only news that’s worth the hassle to read.

Posted in Comedy, Photojournalism, Satire | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fucking Nutcase Trains Barefoot


The Galway Cow has learned that there is an out-and-out nutcase going around the country, running marathons, who does a lot of his training barefoot.

“It’s the way nature intended,” asserted the fucking nutcase, “your toes are meant to splay so as to balance you out, not be squashed up into bunion riddled triangles.”

“We did not evolve wearing shoes,” he continued, “shoes make our feet weak and we all know what happened to the biblical fool who built his house on a foundation of sand.”

Perplexed, we asked, “What the hell has building houses got to do with wearing shoes?” At this the fucking nutcase took a deep sigh.

The fucking nutcase has won a lot of marathons but hasn’t once been spotted barefoot, which detracts credibility from his story and is a clear indication that shoes are, in fact, a good thing.

Nike have warned people to never ever go without shoes because they would most probably step on a syringe, get AIDS, and die horribly.

The Galway Cow Sports, keeping you up-to-date with weird shit.

Posted in Photojournalism | Leave a comment

Galway Man (90) Who Had Sexual Desires Shamed In Court


In the latest in a string of sexual indiscretions the Galway COW can reveal that a 90 year old Galway man once had desires of a sexual nature.

“I was a young man,” he said, “barely 18, and I was overcome with lust. I lost control one day and pinched a barmaid’s plump bottom.”

The former barmaid, who can not be named for legal reasons, said she has struggled with depression ever since having her ass grabbed in such a lurid and disrespectful manner.

Thankfully, the #meToo social media campaign has given women like this the courage to speak out and seek justice.

The former barmaid is said to have suffered lifelong depression as a result of her ordeal and subsequently had 8 children by 8 different men. “I just felt I could not trust men after this ordeal; it destroyed my life,” she tearfully stated in court.

Judge Enrica Feminista adjourned sentencing of the elderly man until next April so as a team of psychiatric professionals could establish whether he was at risk of reoffending.

Posted in Photojournalism | 3 Comments

Would You Prefer A Finisher Medal Or A Decent Photo For Your Wall?

Posted in Photojournalism | Leave a comment

How to Lose 100 Page Likes on Facebook


Recently, I’ve been indulging my narcissistic tendencies and conducting an experiment to see if the world thinks I am as fascinating and interesting as I like to think I am.

Well, the results are in! I’m not!

I’ve compiled this little list so that YOU too can effortlessly annihilate your following and make yourself invisible in cyberspace.

1. Get drunk and spray your self-pitying bile on your page. I did this. I announced I wasn’t going to take any more marathon pics. Big mistake. I lost about 30 likes in a heartbeat.

2. Make it all about YOU. People, like me and you, are mostly preoccupied with ourselves and we all hope that the world will come to see us as the amazing people that only our mothers believed we could be. Big mistake! All these silly posts I’ve made recently have cost me a good few followers.

3. Post pictures of photos that will offend people. Okay, this is a tricky one. Posting photos of my flabby body or blistered feet didn’t seem to offend anybody (apart from me), but for some reason posting a photo of a beautiful topless blonde cost me around twenty page likes. You will just have to trial and error this one, cos people are weird.

4. Post a load of crap, that’s not crap to you, but which most people deem weird or uninteresting. I’ve been doing this with my posts on barefoot running and sleeping on the floor. While there are a small percentage of people that find such training practices laudable and beneficial, most just think they are a load of nonsense and would rather have their feet amputated than dare to be seen in public with no shoes.

Anyway, thanks for reading this far. I’m delighted that the occasional person is still able to read and finds my shite talk remotely as interesting as I do.

I love YOU for loving ME, cos let’s be honest – we both know I’m AWESOME!

Posted in How to | Tagged | Leave a comment