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Next up in our series of Meet the Athlete is Irish hurdler Thomas Barr, who has been chatting to James Sullivan. Barr holds the Irish record for 400m hurdles with a clocking of 48.65 set at the Diamond League meeting in Rome in June 2015. He claimed the gold medal at the World University Games last year, and followed this up shortly afterwards with a strong showing at the World Championships in Beijing, finishing in 11th place.

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Thomas Barr in action at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing

If you could be one Simpson’s character, who would you be, and why?

Probably Maggie. She seems to have a simple and hassle free life!

If you could go back in time and attend one sporting event, which would it be?

Italia 90 to see what all the fuss was about, and maybe it would get me into soccer?

What is your biggest pet peeve?

There’s not much that gets on my nerves day to day, but laziness is definitely one of them.

What freaks the living daylights out of you?

Bananas and needles. I’m getting better with the latter though…

Favourite non-athlete friendly meal?

A greasy chip and double bacon cheeseburger from a decent chipper, preferably washed down amidst some alcoholic beverages.

Your most horrific travel experience was in…….

Probably in Kenya whilst travelling last year. I was squashed in the back of an average sized four door saloon with my girlfriend at the time, and two rather fat Kenyans, who made no effort not to roll on top of us on the bumpy winding ‘road’. Meanwhile there were two in the passenger seat in the front, and the driver sat on another guys lap… Fairly safe!

Most bizarre thing that has happened to you at an athletics meet?

Ended up in the media zone after my final race of the year, at the Brussels Diamond League, enjoying a fridge full of free Juniper with some highly esteemed Irish journalists.

Most interesting thing you’ve heard or come across in a pre-race call room?

“I only wanted to go for a lash, and ended up getting sick as well with the smell in that portaloo.”

If you won the lotto tomorrow you would……

Look after all the important things with family and friends, buy a new Range Rover or similar 4×4, and save the rest for some travelling and sessioning after Rio…

What do you believe you could run for the beer mile?

I have no idea what a good time even is for one, but if it’s anything to go by, back in 2010, myself and Cian McManamon won a dual relay beer mile…

Your non athletics friends think you are…….

Good at running and jumping stuff, a bit of a dope, a snake, a dirty Turkish cave man, a walking methane penis… but also hard-working and dedicated.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

Dan Blizerian… You’ll understand why if you look at his Twitter or Instagram. One week would be enough though ;).

If you were the Taoiseach of Ireland you would……..

Constantly be chasing after the deer that roam the Phoenix Park.

Of all those you have roomed with when competing overseas, who was the biggest character?

Jason Harvey. I haven’t ever really gotten to know any of my foreign roomies very well.

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