Role Model- Eimear McCracken

Role Model- Eimear McCracken


Eimear McCracken

Annadale Striders/Pacer Belfast City Marathon 2022

There’s something uniquely gratifying about going for a run. It’s a different kind of exercise than hitting the gym. Eimear McCracken discovered running around 13 years ago after the gym no longer fulfilled her needs. Since then, she has participated in races of all distances, including 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, full marathons, and even a couple of ultras. Eimear treasures what running has given her – deepening her bond with her father, finding friends who feel like family, and discovering a passion that will stay with her for a long time.

Running is a family affair for the McCrackens, with Eimear’s father, Willie McCracken, being well-known for running in Newry. At 76, he still runs with the same passion as he did in his prime. Willie has taught Eimear the importance of consistency and persistence – keep showing up, and the rewards will follow. Eimear’s partner is also an invaluable source of support, encouraging each other to stay active and enjoy the sport.

Despite the monotony of looking at a long path that seems never-ending, Eimear doesn’t think running is boring. She has participated in a Guinness World Record relay attempt and was one of the first female pacers for the 2022 Belfast City Marathon, pacing for the 3:45 finish. Eimear took the role seriously, running the course several times, researching the hills and local landmarks, and providing support to her fellow runners. Although she didn’t consider being a female pacer a big deal initially, the spectators on the sidelines were cheering her on, and Eimear felt a sense of pride in being a pacer.

In addition, Eimear believes in the importance of training with other women and supporting them in sometimes what can be a male-dominated space. “You know, it’s good to have a female to identify with and even just chat with because, you know, sometimes the things you share with people on a run, you wouldn’t probably tell your best friend. I don’t know what it is about running, but you just get into this relaxed rhythm. And I also feel it’s because you’re running side by side with someone if you’re not exactly looking them in the eye. I think you offload a lot easier because you’re comfortable with that person, you’re in a comfortable environment, and doing something you’re comfortable with, which makes it easier to share.”


For newer runners, Eimear suggests investing in good running shoes and going to a store for a gait analysis and trying on different pairs. She also recommends joining a running club to meet like-minded people and create a support system. After Eimear had her child, members of the running club came around all the time with food or just to give the new parents time to get outside and do what they love, run!

Eimear has run 23 marathons so far, but she enjoys all distances. This year, she is loving track workouts with her current running club, the Annadale Striders, and may stick to shorter distances such as 5ks and 10ks for at least the next six months. Eimear is a remarkable role model who aspires to inspire other women to join and enjoy the sport as much as she does. We’re thrilled to have Eimear as a role model for the Female Sports Forum.