In 2006 I travelled to Vancouver in Canada to visit my cousins who were living there at the time; it’s a fabulous part of the world and regularly tops those lists of ‘best places to live’. While there I was struck by how many people were out running and remember thinking that wouldn’t it be great if the Irish had a similar attitude to keeping fit and healthy.
Well a decade later and its fair to say that we’re in the midst of a fitness revolution in Ireland and more specifically a running revolution. No matter what part of the country you’re from I’m sure you’ve noticed it; people of all ages, shapes and sizes are togged out in bright and tight gear pounding the streets, roads and parks. Faces are strained, legs are hurting and lungs are burning but the head is clearing itself of all the day’s problems!
I’m not quite sure what the spark for this has been was but I feel the fall out from the recent recession has had an effect on people in that they have rejigged their life priorities with health and fitness becoming a more important part. Running, due to its low cost and sheer simplicity is the most popular choice with a recent stat from the Irish Sports council stating that 8.6% of people over the age of 16 are now running on a regular basis which probably means at least 3 times weekly. The benefits to be garnered from going on a run are many; the obvious ones being that it’s great for your heart and controlling your body weight but it’s the effect on the mind which, in my opinion, is its greatest benefit. As with any physical exercise, the feel good hormone endorphin is released when you run, but add to this the following; fresh air, immersion in your environment and if you’re running with a group, the social side to it all. It stands to sense that many GPs are now advocating physical exercise as a counter point to some mental health issues.
In Monaghan town there are currently two running clubs; the long established Monaghan Phoenix AC and Monaghan Town Runners which was formed in 2012. Both offer an outlet for people of all ages to run either competitively or just for leisure but more importantly they give the opportunity for people to run with each other and build relationships along the way. I’ve seen it myself as a member of Monaghan Town Runners and how some people who had no previous in terms of physical exercise are now running regular race events and feeling like new improved human beings as a result; it’s great to see. I’ve also recently witnessed a gentleman from my own local area, who is his early 60s and with no athletic background, take up running and is loving it. It’s never too late to start!
I have more of an interest than most in hoping this running trend continues as my livelihood depends on it and I have no doubt that it will as most people who take it up have made it an integral part of their lives.
So if you are of an able body then give it a go, the roads are always open and after all you were born to run!