reflexology & Sport with John Lenihan

John Lenihan, Multiple World Champion Hill Runner

John Lenihan is one of Ireland’s leading athletes.
He won Carrauntohill on 18 occasions and currently holds the record for the event.
He is the only Irish person to date to have won the Snowdon international mountain race in Wales.
He was Irish half Marathon road racing champion on two occasions and Kerry cross country champion on 14 occasions.
He also won the Munster cross country title and finished 2nd in the Irish senior cross country championship.
He has represented Ireland at cross country, track racing, road racing and mountain racing.
In the 80s he won the Isle of Man Athletic Festival 3 day event, he finished 2nd in the Scottish Sterling half marathon and won the San Diego 10k

John Lenihan on Reflexology & Sport
September 1991 and I come off the steep mountainside on to the crowded streets of Zermatt at the foot of the towering Matterhorn in Switzerland, as I race along the crowded streets of cheering people I can’t believe that I’m about to become Ireland’s first ever athlete to be crowned world mountain racing champion and lead Ireland to Bronze medals in the process, onwards I race ever closer to the finish line and with each stride absorbing this precious moment that would probably never happen for me again, finally around the last corner the crowd thickens and the public address systems kicks into life above the sound of the music, down the home straight towards that beautiful sign that says Finish, across the line and it’s the best moment of my sporting career since the early 80s when BLE contacted me to tell me that I was named on the Irish track panel to train for the 5000 meters for the LA Olympics, I loved athletics but hated track running with a passion, maybe part of the reason that I never made the final cut for that Olympic team, but now here I was doing what I loved best, competing and winning in the world mountain racing c’ships.

Fast forward 12 years to September 2003 and I sit in a hotel room in Alaska looking out the window at the fast falling snow, outside the entire countryside is an absolute winter wonderland and every now and again a bear or a moose can be spotted skirting through the trees, however my thoughts are only partly absorbed in this beauty as I’m preoccupied in my thoughts concerning a long term leg injury, I’ve been injured for months now with a foot injury that carried a name that you would need a degree to pronounce let alone explain, I’ve only been able to train is spurts every now and again and was lucky to make the Irish team for this years world mountain racing c’ship which takes place here tomorrow, I tried acupuncture yesterday but it just didn’t work for me, I’ve hardly ran a step in the last 3 weeks and what’s worse is that I’m been told that this is probably the end of the line in my racing career as the foot injury isn’t responding to any treatment that I’ve been receiving with the past couple of month’s, I’ve got to consider that tomorrows race could well be the final race of my career.

That race turned out to be one of the toughest experiences of my life as I battled my way through knee deep snow in places to slipper ice sheets in other sections, after the race my injured leg is now swollen to almost twice the size of the good leg, surely the end of my racing career.

Meanwhile back home in Ireland my friends and family were preparing for the Kerry sport stars awards night to be held in the Gleneagle hotel in Killarney on the night of my return and it was here that I was to be presented with an award for sportsperson of the Month, I arrived at the event with little time to spare but was wrecked tired, unshaven and limping and it must have been amusing for any tourist present in the hotel that night to see this shattered looking individual been presented with a sports person of the month award, it was as I sat about chatting afterwards that I met Joan o’Reilly and her husband Maurice and I discussed with her how important this award was to me as I would probably never be able to race again, Joan lived just a few miles away from me and was well known for her reflexology and Homeopathic remedies and had spoken to me a couple time in the past about I calling to her and how these treatments could help me to be more competitive in sports, however I was always polite but declined each time with some well practiced excuse as I had no belief or confidence in the practice and couldn’t see how someone pulling my toes could help me have more energy or indeed reduce the risk of injury, now once more she was encouraging me to give it a try, I politely said that I must some time but with absolutely no intention of wasting my time doing such, ok then that’s settled she tells me I will see you next Friday evening at 8, now this wasn’t going the way I wanted it but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I decided that ok I would go along for the one session and get it over with.

That first reflexology session left me gobsmacked firstly because of what she could tell me about my physical and mental condition simply by working on my feet, she even told me that she felt confident that we could cure this injury that everyone else had failed at, I was sceptical but agreed to come back for another 4 weekly sessions at the end of which I noticed a very obvious improvement to my injury, slowly over the next couple of months I began to increase my training and suffered slight setbacks every now and again as I tried to move my mileage up too quickly but what was very noticeable now was that I was improving all the time and that each setback was only minor by comparison to the previous one, throughout that winter I worked hard at building up my training and worked hand in hand with the reflexology and Homeopathic remedies and to cut a long story short 8 months later I lined up for and won the race up and down Irelands highest mountain, my success was based simply on training and reflexology.

It’s now 2008 and I’m 48 years of age and am within one race of becoming the 2008 Irish senior mountain racing champion, I have no hesitation in saying that I believe the major reason that I’m still competing successful at this stage of my life is due to the regular balance of training, reflexology and homeopathic remedies, my own personal feeling is that without the reflexology I wouldn’t be able to recover sufficiently from each training session to allow me to be prepared for the next hard workout, this I think is the key to my present success, to Joan I must apologies for my scepticism but I guess she has had the last laugh, so to Joan, reflexology and homeopathic remedies I thank you.

John Lenihan.