Bressie’s balancing act
He makes Croagh Patrick look like a molehill, and this November 9, musician and The Voice of Ireland coach Bressie [Niall Breslin] will hope to conquer the historic peak in this year’s Sea2Summit. Fresh from surveying the route, Bressie popped into Westport Plaza Hotel for an exclusive interview with The Mayo News.
THERE is no doubt about it, Bressie is a busy man. The music, entertainment and TV industry are devouring his time of late but the Mullingar man has also embraced the world of fitness and he makes sure to make the time to keep fit and stay in shape.
Last week he was in Westport promoting Sea2Summit, the gruelling adventure race that incorporates all the thrills that Westport has to offer, along with Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay, the Sheaffry Mountains and the new Greenway.
The former front man of The Blizzards is a firm fan of the Westport area and he has tackled Croagh Patrick previously, although stating “I’ve gone up it [Croagh Patrick] before but never ran it”.
The former professional rugby player is confident in the challenges the grueling Sea2Summit course will throw up and warns of the course’s difficulty.
“I just did the triathalon season and took four weeks off, so I’m just back into it now for the mountain [season], which is a totally different type of training I suppose. I’ll be fine I think, I had a look at the course. I’ll do it, it’s a very tough challenge, very very difficult, even people who’ve done triathalons will struggle with this,” he warned.
Although he is used to testing himself, Bressie admits this challenge will be the toughest to date.
“The hardest part of this is actually the bike, which is a 35km over eight steep mountain climbs. Your training, a lot of it, would have to be on the bike. Running up and down a mountain – it’s hard to train for that.” In preparation for the ‘Supreme Sea2Summit’ involving a four kilometer run, an eight kilometer cycle, a five kilometer run up Croagh Patrick, 35km hilly cycle and a final four kilometer run with obstacle course and sea run, Bressie trains with his sports agent.
“I train with my sports agent, he was a professional cyclist, so he’s really good to train with and I know a lot about training in terms of, I’ve studied it for years and I kind of did a lot of my own research because I have to train differently to a lot of people because of my height.”
Bressie explains that because of his height he has to adjust his training.
“You can’t train like someone whose 5ft 6’ or seven and ten stone, it’s different to someone who’s 6ft 6’ and 16 stone. You got to adjust your training for that and I do. I just love it, I think it’s a very healthy huge cultural shift in Ireland towards health and fitness, which is much better,” he states.”
Despite taking part in various challenges for charity, and looking forward to completing a Half Iron Man challenge next May in Majorca, the Mullingar man still goes for a drink with friends and admittedly ‘eats anything that moves’.
“There’s a culture of alcohol and alcohol is fine, it will always be part of our culture. It’s great to enjoy yourself, but it’s also great to look after yourself and you can get a lovely balance there.”
Acknowledging that he does train hard, Bressie adds. “I still go out for pints. I don’t take it that seriously that I’d cut off any sort of social life.”
So what does the Westmeath solo artist listen to while training? Well, Bressie prefers a chilled out mix to take him through his training.
“I’m the opposite, I like listening to chilled out music, because I think when you listen to dance music it kind of makes you run too fast and you’re not meant to run that fast.”
Heavily involved in this year’s Cycle Against Suicide cycle around Ireland, Bressie hopes to return to Mayo next year to complete all fourteen days of cycling.
Bressie is raising funds for LARCC (Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Centre) which is based in his home county.
A director of the centre, which is the only cancer support centre in Ireland that offers a residential element to the service, Bressie came on board for Sea2Summit to raise some much needed funds for the centre.
“One of the messages that we preach with LARCC is if you do unfortunately have to go through cancer, the holistic approach is in your head space, even fitness, diet. All this has a huge impact on the actual physical signs of cancer. Cancer’s as much a mental thing as a physical one.”
Practicing what the centre preaches, Bressie said he wants people all over the country to take part in healthy events to raise money for LARCC.
“There’s no point in me asking them to do it unless I do it myself, because the excuse you can’t give me then is ‘well we don’t have the time’, where’d you think I get the time?’.
A repeat visitor to the county, Bressie used to spend many of his summers out at Delphi and visit Westport town at the weekends. “I have to say I love this area, It’s always, I consider, summer living. There’s a nice vibe around Westport and tourism helps.
“For such a big county with so many big towns, the towns are very, very chilled out. My favourite part of the place in the west is that you’re right in the middle of a town and within five minutes I am out in wilderness. I love wilderness. I love the best of both worlds. It’s just how lucky you are to have what you have on your doorstep.”
And ladies, who knows, we might be seeing Mr Breslin around the county more if he got his way. “It’s somewhere I could easily see myself living, which is probably as good as a compliment as you can get.”
Mayo for Sam
Delighting many Mayo football fanatics, on his visit to Westport, Bressie was pictured donning the green and red and told The Mayo News: “There must be some Mayo blood in me somewhere.
“I put a tweet up there a couple of weeks ago saying I’ve a soft spot for Mayo. When it comes to football I’m not sure is it because they’ve been so close so many times?.”
The former Westmeath minor footballer will be travelling to Croke Park on September 22 and will secretly be hoping for an historic Mayo win.
“I think Dublin are incredible, they’re insane, but they’d have to be with the amount of funding they’re given and how much money has gone into that and I know it’s a big county and they bring a lot of money in. If GAA is an amateur sport we should be funded equally throughout. And I know Mayo will be probably nothing near to the funding that Dublin have got and even that alone wants me want Mayo to win.”
Citing Dublin’s star players as a problem, Bressie adds that the Mayo team have a ‘strong technical team’.
“I think Mayo just have such a strong technical team that play positive football, especially in a year where there was a lot of negative football. But, in saying that, Dublin and Kerry was the best football match I’ve ever seen in my life”.
Like the entire county, the musician knows that beating the Dubs will be a struggle.
“It’s going to be damn hard to beat Dublin, it’s such a cliché but if Mayo get the tactics right and they control midfield then they have it. Their midfield is incredible, it’s the best midfield partnership I’ve seen. Hopefully they [Mayo] stay injury free.”
For more info and to register for this year’s Sea2Summit visit www.westportsea2summit.ie
Q and A
Q: If you weren’t a musician what do you think you would be?
A: An athlete of some description.
Q: Do you enjoy creeping on anyone on Twitter?
A: I like creeping on odd people like Stephen Fry and going back over his stuff. You can learn a lot of stuff from Twitter if you follow the right people.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: In terms of food, it would be chorizo. I absolutely adore chorizo, although it’s a heart attack waiting to happen. I love Abba, absolutely
love Abba. That’s some of my running music actually. I don’t think that’s a guilty pleasure, some people might.
Q: Who do you look up to most in the music industry?
A: I’ve a lot of respect for Adele. I just think for someone who stuck to her guns no matter what and just believed in their actual talent and told the music industry to ‘Go f*ck themselves’.
Q: What book are you reading at the moment?
A: I’ve just finished reading ‘The Secret Race’ by Tyler Hamilton about the drugs scandals in the cycling world. It’s the best book I’ve ever read.