I don’t run. My last attempt was during the first lockdown when I downloaded a “Couch to 5k” app. I’m still on the couch. So I am filled with awe and admiration for the runners that pass me by, whether they are lithe gazelles loping by or shufflers going just above walking speed.
But I sometimes wonder “do they really enjoy it?”. And based on some local runners giving their experience here, it seems that they do. Are you tempted to try it?
Mary Killeen Byrt, Ennis
While out for a walk I wondered how I could get through the ‘Winter of Discontent’ of another lockdown, I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of doing a virtual couch to 5k with my 3 daughters who are based in Dublin, Brussels and Brighton. And so the Couch to Potato WhatsApp group was formed with the goal of running a 5k together on Christmas Day!
There are days when running is a chore and others when it comes easier but the feeling of achievement after every run is always incredible. Running helps my mental and physical wellbeing. I would urge anybody to give it a go – start gently, use one of the many apps and just put one foot in front of the other!
Tracy Guilfoyle, Ennis
Running is both work and pleasure for me. I’m a fitness instructor with Heart Health & Fitness and formed a group “Love to Run” 10 years ago, where we run on and off road around Ennis. I regularly have beginner groups and love to see people keep it up.
I ran competitively as a teenager, but gave it up. When my own children started running, I got involved in coaching and was encouraged to compete myself. Since then, I’ve won several marathon titles and last February I was invited to take part in the world championships. Unfortunately it didn’t happen but I’m aiming now for October 2021 in London. It would be my second time to take part in a World Championship and I’m keen to do well.
When the 2020 Dublin Marathon was cancelled, several generations of our family ran a virtual event in Ennis for Sláinte an Chláir in memory of my brother-in-law, Tommy, with great support from fellow runners.
Colin Considine, Quilty
I’m on the minor football team for Kilmurray Ibrickane and since we haven’t been able to train much together in the last year, I’ve started running. I run a few times a week down quiet roads to Seafield pier and along the beach, typically about 5km. I like running beside the sea. Depending on the weather, I find it can be very enjoyable or sometimes I can’t wait to get home. It can feel like walking when running into the wind blowing in from the sea.
Our team has online strength and conditioning training twice a week, where we all exercise together and we are now beginning to include running in this as well. I expect I’ll keep running when football starts again although I have no interest in running competitively.
Patrick Rutherford, Ennis
As one who retired 18 years ago, I am fortunate to still enjoy different sports. My main sport now is running. I naturally go much slower than in times past but despite this, my runs are as enjoyable as in yesteryear.
My last serious competitive event was Triathlon Ireland’s Aquathlon Championship (swim-run) in 2017. I was fortunate to win the national title for Ennis Tri Club in the 70+ age section.
We are very lucky to be able to enjoy the fabulous facility for walkers and runners at Lees Road! I really enjoy running there, no matter what the weather. The seasons bring their own special beauty to the woods. In particular, spring brings the wonderful rejuvenation of trees and plants and autumn gives a magnificent display of colours. All to be enjoyed for free. And there is always the feel-good factor and buzz afterwards that all runners enjoy. It is great to see the large number of people currently using Lees Road and occasionally seeing the odd pine marten is a pleasant surprise.”
Susan McNamara, Ennis
As a child in primary school I used to love running. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment and it came naturally to me. I have great memories of competing in the community games in Mosney. As the years passed, school, friends and study took over and like many teenage girls, exercise and sport was not a part of my life.
When I started work my interest in health and fitness brought me back to exercise. I took up several sports including rugby, mountain climbing, diving and gaelic football. The lockdown brought all this to an end. I found myself walking and the novelty soon wore off so I began to jog. Slowly the runner within me remerged and that feeling of accomplishment came back.
I found a way to clear my head, release tension and get in the zone. That momentum and vitality carries into my daily life and I am confident that my passion for running will continue.
Aidan Lawton, Ruan
I really enjoy the social side of running and I joined the Clare Crusaders group in 2016. There could be 30-50 of us meeting on a Saturday morning for a run, chat and sometimes breakfast. We typically run 10 k and from May onwards we build up the distance gradually for the Dublin marathon in October.
These days I run with my family as they are keeping fit for camogie, athletics and hurling. We are really lucky to have both Ballygriffey and Dromore woods within our 5km limit. I welcome the brief greeting and connection with people that we meet.
Running for me isn’t about competing, fast times or food plans. It’s about feeling happy, healthy and enjoying the outdoors.