Louise Cooney shares the lowdown on life, love, Coop & the ‘Next Step Virtual Marathon’.


We sat down with Louise Cooney who has recently teamed up with Focus Ireland for The Next Step Virtual Marathon taking place in May.

You’ve teamed up with Focus Ireland for The Next Step virtual marathon, can you tell us a little bit more about that and what’s involved?

The Next Step is Focus Ireland’s Virtual Marathon, supported by Horizon Therapeutics. People have 31 days this May to walk, jog or run the 42.2km distance of a marathon, all they need to do is track their progress digitally and fundraise within their network for Focus Ireland. They can manually record their activity to their fundraising page and share their own personal photos and videos of their progress. Whether it takes 4 hours, 4 days or 4 weeks – they can decide the pace and the timeframe which is great as it is accessible for all! I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge this May and it’s a great way to support and raise vital fund for Focus Ireland.

There are currently 9,492 people experiencing homelessness in Ireland and 2,667 of those are children. Many of these families will spend significant amounts of time in emergency accommodation before finding a secure home. Some families can spend over 24 months in a 1 bedroom in an emergency accommodation situation, which has a significant impact on mental health, self-esteem and child development. Initiatives like the Next step help ensure Focus Ireland can continue to help these families in need and I am delighted to act as an ambassador for them this year and would encourage everyone to get involved!

And what’s your strategy for The Next Step, will you do it all in one go or break it into smaller runs throughout the month?

My boyfriend has agreed to do it with me and we’re going to break it up throughout the month. We’re thinking a few kilometres every second day. The weather is getting nicer so I think it’ll be enjoyable. It’s nice to have a goal and to do it for a good cause.

Louise Cooney with boyfriend Mark Sweeney.

Do you consider yourself a “runner”? Have you ever run a marathon before?

Not anymore but during lockdown it kept me sane. I ran 7km maybe twice a week and a 3/4 km run on top of that. It really can be so therapeutic. I’ve gotten out of the swing of it the last year though so looking forward to getting back outdoors running again. 

Do you run on your own or do you prefer to run with others? Does Coop ever join you?

I like to mix it up to keep things interesting. I would most often go myself but it’s a nice distraction to have someone with you. I had great fun at home in Limerick during lockdown trying to get my sisters and brother to come with me. I succeeded once and they said never again! LOL.

You’ve just started an activewear line! Can you tell us a bit about what it has been like owning your own business and watching it grow?

It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, but it’s so rewarding to see people happy with their purchases & to create pieces I know everyone will get so much wear out of and feel so good in. I created CLOO with the modern day multitasking woman in mind. I know I wear my leggings like a uniform, to the gym but also to do the groceries, to walk the dog, with a blazer on top sometimes for meetings.

What are some of your must have items when preparing for and going for a run/walk/hike?

My phone and airpods so I can listen to some good music to get me pumped or else a good podcast/audiobook – I find they’re great to distract me from looking at the time.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on working on right now or any exciting projects you have coming up?

I have never been so busy, I have my finger in a lot of different pies at the moment. I’m working on extending my bookclub which I’ve ran monthly since October 2020, I have a wine spritzer in the works too – that’ll be launching in June all going well and on top of that I have lots of new pieces coming for CLOO.