Turloughmore man Peter Forde was always used to being busy. He was involved in a number of sports and was self employed as a carpenter.
But when the recession hit and his business suffered he suddenly found himself with time on his hands and a decision to make... where would his future career lie?
He sat down with his wife and considered his options. He began to think increasingly about a career in sport and remedial therapy. He went on to study at the National School of Remedial Therapy in Dublin in 2012 for two years.
“I always had an interest in that area because I had experienced sports injuries myself,” he says. “I had a problem with my knee at one stage. I rowed with Galway Rowing Club for five years about 15 years ago and I did a lot of running. I had sprained my knee while rowing. The injury occurred about eight weeks before the Irish championship. I went to a physiotherapist and had x-rays but everything came back OK. But there was a lot of inflammation in the knee and if I was trying to run or row it would flare up. I rowed on the bow side and that puts a bit more strain on one side of the body and I was overloading my left leg when I was rowing because of the injury. I took a year off after it but it didn’t right itself. It kept niggling and flaring up so I gave up rowing altogether.”
He settled into the course easily enough but after a few months he hit a wall. “Starting off was not too bad but six months into it my head was fried. I just couldn’t grasp some of the technical stuff.” But Peter had not come this far to turn back and the same determination and application that had served him well in business and sport came to his aid again.
“It was a Friday afternoon and something just clicked for me. I ended up going from not understanding something to figuring it out and then explaining it to others. Since then everything has been going right. It was a massive change of direction to go back studying, a big difference from being hands-on to getting back to the books.”
Peter, who was 34 on Saturday last, qualified in 2014 and initially offered his services free at running events “to get my name out there”. A friend of his was working with the Galway Senior Hurling team and asked Peter to fill in for him in his absence. He began working with Turloughmore’s hurling team as well. Last year he “got a call up to work with the Galway Senior Football team”.
He decided to set up a physical injury massage clinic at Bothar na Mine in Ballybane (around the corner from Boston Scientific ) in 2014. “It went very well. I started working with a few people who had chronic injuries and got good results. I work with a lot of runners and the general public, people with hip, shoulder and lower back and neck injuries. I do dry needling which hits trigger points in the muscles. About 99 per cent of my work is treating injuries, a mixture of sporting, lifestyle and problems resulting from accidents.”
He has treated Eoghan Clifford, the Limerick born NUI Galway lecturer who won gold and bronze medals in the Para Olympics and Pat O’Leary, a fellow lecturer at the university and a canoist who finished sixth in the final in Rio.
The more Peter Forde, who also qualified as a personal trainer, was around sportspeople the more he realised that his own fitness levels had slipped somewhat. “I had taken a break of seven years from training and my own fitness levels were starting to drop a bit. I bought a bike and did some cycling. Then I discovered adventure racing.”
The “Jog in the Bog”, an event held in Corofin, was his first introduction to the sport. “It involved a 5k run across the bog as well as cycling and kayaking. I crashed on the bike but finished second overall. I had got the bug for adventure racing.” He took part in additional events around the country, getting in the top five positions in a number of them.
“I went from that to taking part in duathlons (involving running, cycling and a second run ). I was never a swimmer but I decided to get swimming lessons. I think I got the determination and endurance from rowing, any sport I’ve ever done I was fully committed to it. I haven’t found a race or sport that stopped me yet. I love pushing my body to breaking point. I am going to take part in the Dublin City Marathon as well as climbing Ben Nevis in January.”
He has climbed Croagh Patrick three times this year. “I run up and down it for training purposes. I do mountain climbing too.” His son, Oisin who is 11, shares his dad’s love of sport and does a lot of cycling.
Peter will run classes in the winter at his Ballybane premises for people recovering from injuries as well as those interested in improving their fitness and strength levels.
“A lot of clients say they find it hard to do rehab work at home. I am going to have a class for these people as well as another class for those interested in mobility/flexibility and keeping themselves injury free.”
He also plans to expand his thriving business and open a second clinic in the Fr Griffin Road area in the future. He attributes his success to hard work, commitment and always putting his clients first.
“I start work at 7am and open until 9pm on Mondays to Fridays and work from 7am to 6pm on Saturdays. I am always available for clients and am always in contact to make sure they are OK. If someone rang me at 10pm I would answer the phone. I am not a 9-5 person. I do corporate work also and offer special deals. I have gone through the ringer with injuries myself over the years so I can relate to people who have them.”
Peter Forde’s physical injury massage clinic can be contacted by telephoning (087 ) 6199284 or by emailing [email protected]