Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Ronnie O’Sullivan, several times World Champion (May 2015)

Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan (Born Wordsley, December 5th 1975).

‘Rocket Ronnie’ is one of the most successful snooker players in modern history but is also known by his friends at Woodford Green & Essex Ladies as, a popular and fair runner. He has finished as high as 53rd in a Metropolitan League cross-country race in 2007 and 189 in the Southern of 2008. So, from that one can conclude, he is a good club runner. In 2014 he was twice in the 200’s in the fields of 400 or so in the ATW Met League.
As anyone, with a keen eye for sport on television, would realise his forte is snooker. The man from Chigwell, Essex, known as prolific break builder, O’Sullivan, holds the most competitive century breaks, with 793.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, along with Dave Bedford, were guests of honour at Ben Pochee’s Night of 10k PB’s on the 15th of May. They presented the prizes. It was at that event I talked to him.
Amazingly unassuming for such a very great Sports Personality is Ronnie O’Sullivan and, there is no doubt in my mind about that.

Ronnie, you are doing a very intense sport with your high quality snooker so, does athletics give you something special as a form of relaxation.
“I used to be a lot better runner than I am now. I have not really run much in the last five years. When I got back into it I really loved it. I keep getting a lot of injuries.”
“Was it because you did not have the time to do it with the snooker being at such a high level?
“No, it was not that. I went through a divorce that was taking up the time. I dropped out for a bit. I was still training but obviously I got a bit heavier and lost my speed.”
     Met League “I did a few but trying to get back into it I find I keep going forwards then all of a sudden I get an injury on the back of it.”
Cross country must be better for you
“I like to run in Epping Forest because there are nice trails which is good. I don’t know if it is the surface. I don’t do heavy mileage. I don’t know why I just keep getting injuries. I try and get to the gym and keep training, a lot on the cross-trainer, the rower, a bit of boxing. Keep the old heart and lungs working and that.”
Are there any people you admire as athletes over the years?
“I loved Seb Coe, Ovett, Bekele was someone I loved, Haile Gebressalassie, Kipsang who came second in this year’s London Marathon but won the year before. A beautiful runner. A great athlete.
Obviously Kipchoge that was a great race this year.”
      What has given you most pleasure out of the performances you have done playing snooker, as you have a tremendous eye for the game. Was it becoming World Champion?.
“I have got more pleasure sometimes, out of competitive sessions I have had. A game is a game. I have played for the love of the purity of the shots. If I play a perfect game and it is a perfect day I get so much pleasure out of it.
I suppose World titles are important as everybody kind of measures you by what you achieve like a World title or a Masters. It was the fourth World tile I won (2012). I never thought I was going to play much. I was kind of dipping because I was just going through a divorce. I was over 36 then I found a bit of zest again.”
      Whatever you do as a top sportsman, if you are really at the very top of your game, it is difficult to sustain relationships anyway I would think.”
“It is. You have to be quite selfish in your approach to achieve things and, have people who are around you that have understanding and that. I did not have that. I carried on regardless. I was born to play snooker. (He made his first century break at the age of 10). If I had never done it, I would feel as though I was missing something in my life to that extent. I was driven to play to an extent. I am the kind of person needs everything nice and settled to be able to perform at my best. If things are not quite right, people notice it more and they can see I am not quite right that day. To perform to your highest you need to have everything nice and settled really”
      Woodford Green & Essex Ladies is a nice club for you to belong to.
“It is a great club. I have a lot of mates there.”
      I went to interview an ‘Over 60’ Essex cross country Champion from Woodford Green. He was introduced to me by Phil Hernon of your club. The person was an ex-footballer called Eddie Bovington who played in Bobby Moore’s team that won the FA Cup for West Ham in 1964!
“He used to train with us. Terry McCarthy would know him. I met Eddie, a nice guy.’
     ‘I love athletics. I love keeping fit, it is important. Running is great because you can get out on your own with different routes. I have met so many brilliant friends through running. Terry helped me get in contact with the local running club. My best mates are some of the people in the running world. Running is massive in my life. That is why I will always do it. I know It is not just about the running but the people you meet as well.’
It is a leveller
'Totally a leveller.’
It is not quite so ruthless in athletics as it would be I suppose at World class snooker
“Obviously it is very competitive in its nature. I find with the running people are so much more ready - I remember running with a guy called Chris Davies from Telford . Another really good friend of mine. I was in a bit of awe of him. If he finished the race he was the first one running back to help people in the middle of the pack and encourage them through.”

Alastair Aitken

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