Ten years ago, when Michael Mooney quit his running career to become a professional eavestrough contractor in Toronto, he never thought that his previous marathon-running experience would be useful in his new profession. Yet, as Mooney explains, there are actually several reasons why cleaning out the eavestrough is like running a marathon.

Back in his native Ireland, where he was a professional marathoner and actually won the Cork City Marathon not once but twice, Mooney would wake up as early as 4:00 am in the morning to get in his running mileage for the day. He developed a highly specific training regimen, in which he carefully mapped out how many miles he needed to run each week, as well as goals for how fast he needed to run each mile.

That taught him a simple lesson – and one that still serves well today as an eavestrough contractor at Tip Top Eaves – you have to carefully plan out what you’re hoping to accomplish, and break it down into several, easy-to-accomplish tasks. Nobody wakes up and starts running 26 miles without first building up the endurance and stamina needed to do that. Mooney, for example, says that he first started competing professionally in 5K and 10K races before moving into half-marathons and then marathons.

In the same way, he says, you have to have a real plan of attack for cleaning out the eavestrough. Too many homeowners treat the task like a sprint, hoping to finish it off as soon as possible. But that’s a mistake, says Mooney. You have to treat it as a marathon – and prepare accordingly. Plan out a schedule in advance, know what you need to accomplish at each stage of the project and be prepared for unexpected events. There are rarely just leaves up there! Mooney laughs about the time that he found a small squirrel’s nest for the first time, hidden in a customer’s eavestrough.

And make sure you have the right tools Mooney is very specific about the types of shoes and gear that he’ll wear for a big race, and he’s used that same mentality in his eavestrough contractor career. He’s picked up the best tools based on his prior experience and continually keeps up-to-date on the new eavestrough options, including the best gutter guards and downspouts. There may not be as much variety as there is with running shoes, but there are very important differences in how different gutter guards and downspouts are meant to work.

The decision to quit his running career was a difficult one, but one that Mooney finally made after running his 50th competitive marathon. Although he still finished in the top 10 of all finishers, he noticed a change in the way he approached the end of the race. “In all my previous races, I couldn’t wait to have a drink of Gatorade and recharge my body. But this time, all I kept thinking about was the next pint of Guinness that I was going to reward myself with…”

From there, the rest is history. Mooney eventually moved from Cork to Toronto, where he met some local Irish expats who helped him set up his eavestrough contracting business and to find new customers. “I still miss my running days, and sometimes, I just like to head down to Ireland Park and think about the first marathons I ever ran,” says Mooney. “But now, with my family in Toronto, I know that I’ve made the right decision.”