This blog is just a simple place to put ideas, opinions and tell stories of life experiences meant to be shared with anyone who is interested in reading.
Born in Tralee Co. Kerry Ireland in 1979 to Delia and Fergus Foley, I spent the first 17 years of my life in Killorglin where I enjoyed sailing, helping my mother run our family business in the summer months www.grovelodge.com, playing with my brother Cian as a young girl and later my other two brothers Ultan and Liam. I played basketball as a young teenager until I discovered I had a talent for rowing.
When I turned about 16 years old I started to take rowing “seriously” and I began to teach myself with the help of Michael Flemming and neighbouring clubs in Killarney, how to row a single scull. I was already quite strong from previous summers of coastal rowing and I began to win domestic races. My main competitor was Sheila Clavin at that time. My Dad Fergus, drove me the width and breath of Ireland to regattas on weekends, he became the ultimate rowing groupie.
Selected to the Irish Junior National team for 3 years, I culminated my junior rowing career with a under par summer in 1997 due to over-reaching and not structuring my race calendar. Disappointed, I never made it to the Junior World Championships. But I was offered a full athletic scholarship from Boston University and I set sail for America in September 1997 to enter as a freshman in the College of General Studies at Boston University.
4 years of NCAA collegiate rowing ensued. Highlights included NCAA Championship qualification, top 6 finishes in Eastern Sprints, a collegiate title at the World Indoor Rowing Championships (CRASH Bs). I was twice voted All American athlete and MVP of the BU Womens Rowing team. Other highlights included fraternity parties as a freshman, a very active social life and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Philosophy to round it all off! During the summers I continued to race on the International world circuit as an U23 athlete and my best result was a 4th place at the U23 World Championships in Copenhagen in 2001.
After graduation I was encouraged to join Sinead Jennings (Irish LWT1x World Champion) to secure an entry for Ireland in the lightweight double scull for the Athens Olympics. The next couple of years were really full of ups and downs. I never reached my full potential due to my own immaturity and a somewhat inconsistent structure to the national rowing team. Although we had great support from friends and family, at the time the management of the womens team left a lot to be desired and eventually I hung up my oars at a training camp in 2005.
I then spent the following years in Spain and Peru where I enjoyed surfing, teaching English and a healthy consistent social life. A big change for me as when I was rowing, social activities were more or less restricted to post-race or off-season)
I returned to Ireland in 2008/2009 after almost 3 years in Peru. Leaving a lot of friends, my “second” family and an ex-boyfriend behind meant re-adjusting was difficult, but I soon found my feet. On my return to Ireland I decided to try my hand at triathlon but I never quite made it that far as I was `abducted` by the adventure racing gang consisting of some ex-rowers – Vanessa Lawrenson, Gearoid Towey and well-known athletes such as Eoin Keith and Chris Caulfield. I also took a position as Communications Manager for The Turas, an AR World Series race being run for the first time in Ireland and in my region.
Bitten by the bug – I began to train hard for adventure racing. I discovered mountain biking, kayaking and trail running and the combination of all three meant that AR was the perfect sport for me! I was asked to race with the top Irish Team (Irish AR Denny) and my first race was a horrific non-stop 32-hour event called the Beast of Ballyhoura. That year I won the IMRA Corrantuathail Race (the highest mountain in Ireland) and a few other trail runs as well as other adventure races.
Somehow I ended up in Zurich at the beginning of 2009 after graduating with a PG Dip. in Public Relations and Communications, running from the encroaching economic recession that was to have Ireland in its claws for the coming years.
Since my move to Zurich I have progressed strongly as a multi-sport athlete. I dabbled in some more adventure races in Ecuador, Abu Dhabi and Switzerland but my greatest achievements have been as solo competitor. Life in Switzerland is very rewarding. I have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career, a high quality lifestyle in a vibrant city with the Alps on my doorstep. What more could an outdoorsey girl want!