BROTHERS IN ARMS Michael Costello (on left) pictured with Declan Smyth in a team picture after Straide and Foxford United won the Tuohy Cup Final in 2008. Michael and 11 other locals are running the Dublin City Marathon to fundraise and honour Declan, who took seriously ill two years ago after a game of football and is still recovering. Pic: Michael Donnelly
IN the last few weeks I’m out of bed at quarter to seven as I’m preparing to run the Dublin City Marathon. I go straight back to Ballyvary Pitch and do a 20k run for around two hours at least twice a week.
The idea to do the marathon started two years ago when my friend, Declan Smyth, mentioned that we try it. We registered and everything but it didn’t happen because we didn’t get the training done. Unfortunately that December, Declan had an accident whilst playing for Straide & Foxford Masters in Castlebar, and a few of the lads just said ‘look, we’ll try and raise a few quid and do that run he always wanted to do’. We started with two runners and now we’ve 12.
For someone who has never done running before it was a chore at the start but it’s got easier over the last seven months. I then head home after my morning run, straight into the shower and head to work at Bank of Ireland.
I’m the County Manager for Bank of Ireland and Castlebar is my base. There’s ten BOI branches in Mayo and probably around 60 staff. Being up so early these days means I get cranky enough as the day goes on and I could be tearing the heads off people! But to be fair there’s a great gang in Castlebar and they’re giving me plenty of support throughout.
My day in the office usually lasts until about 6pm and then I come home and might go for a light jog or a swim in the evening. It’s been my routine for the last six months. It’s been quite a shock to the system because I wouldn’t be an early starter; sometimes I need to be kicked out of the bed, especially when you hear the rain on the window, but once you do go out, hit the track and stick the headphones in, it’s not too bad.
The banking industry is not easy, like every job, but it’s a job I enjoy. There’s always cost- cutting, things are trying to get more automated. The younger generation can do their banking at home and don’t really need to come into the bank, while the older generation like to come in and talk to someone.
I started working with BOI back when I was on the Mayo minors. I was playing club football with Balla at the time, and Pat Fallon was working with BOI and he got me an interview and I’m here since. I spent ten years working in Ballina, then to Crossmolina and eventually to Castlebar. I’ve moved up the ranks fairly quickly in the last couple of years, but it’s a good place to work and it’s been good to me.
The hardest thing about training for a marathon is probably thinking about running for four and a half hours. Mentally it’s very tough. But the good thing is you make great friends and it’s like a football team, everyone gets across the line. Plus, I’m down about two stone and feeling much better.
There’s 12 of us doing the run. A mixture of novices and more experienced runners, men and ladies. When we started out seven months ago, we ran out from Foxford and I had to stop three times during a 7k run. But last week we did a 33k run out to Achill and I didn’t need to stop.
My social scene hasn’t been very busy the last few weeks, but I have a son who is into Gaelic football, so going to games and bringing him is a nice break from it.
As next weekend gets closer, it’s coming around too quick. I’m finished work on Wednesday and I’ll head to Dublin on Saturday to prepare for the race on Sunday at 9.30am.
Everyone of us is from Straide and everyone knows Declan, so we’re doing it for him and his family.
The support from the local businesses in the area has been unbelievable and we’re really trying to put a big push on in the next week. Keep an eye out of for the sponsorship cards around Castlebar, Straide, Foxford and Ballyvary.
Declan will probably be there at the finish line to greet us, so all we have to do now is get over it!
In conversation with Ger Flanagan
Name: Michael Costello
Occupation: County Manager for Bank of Ireland
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I have captained Mayo in soccer from every underage level to present day Masters!
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Birdseed. Don’t ask!
What makes you angry?
Shopping bags (not mine).
Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Cheese, ham and beer.
Favourite TV show?
Game of Thrones.
Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Getting away with everything - doesn’t happen anymore!
What’s your most prized possession?
Best advice you ever got?
Always go with your instinct.
Describe yourself in three words?
Family man, messer and easy-going.