Character of Cork Marion Lyons: ‘I love to get the best out of people’

Character of Cork Marion Lyons: ‘I love to get the best out of people’

A PERSONAL trainer at the age of 67, Marion Lyons is a beacon of hope to those who believe in the benefits of sport and she is an example to all who advocate for the importance of a balanced lifestyle with plenty of laughter. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

A PERSONAL trainer at the age of 67, Marion Lyons is a beacon of hope to those who believe in the benefits of sport and she is an example to all who advocate for the importance of a balanced lifestyle with plenty of laughter.

A track and cross-country runner, who represented Ireland at an international level, Marion won the Cork City Marathon in 1986 and went on to achieve a sub three-hour marathon in Dublin the same year.

“Representing Ireland in the senior cross country and winning the Cork City Marathon, and achieving under three hours in Dublin. It was a dream come true to represent my country,” she says.

A woman who enjoys sport and all the rewards it brings, Marion volunteers with a number of organisations, sharing her time and expertise with athletes of all levels.

The accomplished athlete has worked with people with disabilities and addictions, and refugees.

Marion has been involved in St Finbarr’s Athletics Club for the past 50 years and is the current president of the club, which she and her husband Pat both give time to.

The mother of two also spent a number of years working in childcare, which is another big part of her life.

“I love kids, I did childcare for years. You have to give it 100%. It’s very important, you have to come down to their level. They are only small for a short time and you have to enjoy them.”

A stalwart believer in the positive attributes of sport, Marion enjoys helping people reach and surpass their goals in the athletic arena.

“I love getting the best out of people. A lot of people need the ‘one to one’ and a bit of encouragement. It’s important to be careful with people — some people want to achieve everything in a month and it doesn’t happen like that. You have to be very measured.”

While she has a long and impressive record of sporting achievements, the Cork woman said she always understood the importance of being modest and accepting the highs and lows of sport.

“You must also be graceful about things and modest about your achievements. You work hard for what you get, but there are always highs and lows.”

Marion, who hails from Fair Hill but has been living in Blarney for some years, spoke of the family pet dog Chico, who was with them for 16 years and who died recently.

“We always had dogs, we had a Maltese. He would nearly talk to you. We were devastated. There was a funeral and all. He was gorgeous, beautiful. We even took him on holidays one time — he was like a child.”

Marion said the past two Covid years presented some challenges in terms of providing adequate support to her athletes, but she also said there was some organisational good from the pandemic.

“We started using pods, which was a great idea, because you have beginners in one lane, up-and-coming athletes in another, and the elites in another lane and they can all be seen and get the attention they need.”

Still a strong runner, Marion takes to the roads every day, covering anything from 5km to 10 miles (16km) in her daily exercise.

“I enjoy going for a run everyday — I always feel like I’m after winning the lotto! I just love it.”

In terms of what sport brings her, Marion said over the years, all the training had made her a resilient character, ready to take on any challenge, but it also taught her to embrace balance and encouraged a measured approach to things.

“Fitness comes in peaks and you have to remember to give your body a break. If you continue training you will just get worse — you need to rest and we are only human. I’m always telling people that.”

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