Paul O’Neill has been involved athletics for many years and witnessed an upsurge in running throughout the county in the past 10 years. He feels it is so important for our sanity particularly during these days of lockdown because of Covid-19 and says … ‘Just keep on running at your own pace’
Originally, running was a sporting activity in the main, primarily practised by competitive athletes in private track and field clubs or in school and university programmes .
Today, running has become an immensely popular pastime pursued by millions of recreational participants worldwide.
But WHY I here you ask? In our immediate locality there are runners of all abilities and ages using roads, trails, parks close to where they live to get out there and get their weekly fix of exercise.
This happens in many households as someone puts on the trainers and heads out the door for their allocated time to run and in the main feel better for having done it (hmm I don’t know about that I hear you say).
Running groups and clubs have popped up right across Fermanagh in the last ten to fifteen years and the numbers grown in them.
Down the years of been a coach and having attended running events right across the island I’ve witnessed the change to people’s lives just because they have been running.
Each of you reading this come across people running most days, whether it’s the ones up and out before the sun rises while you are heading to catch an early morning flight, or those who are trying to get a 30 minute effort in during their lunch hour, or the group you meet out for their eight mile mid week run while you’re on your way home from work or another example is you are heading to the local shop to pick up a milk late at night and there is someone who is getting their second walk/run of the week in as part of their couch to 5k programme. Runners are out there and in numbers.
The reasons vary having spoken to people down the years, it sets me up for the day, I just want to get fitter, I need it to wind down from a stressful day at work, it’s “me time”, I’m aiming to do my first 5k/marathon or whatever distance it. Bottom line people are more health conscious and after a period of consistent exercise they themselves notice a difference, they have more energy as a rule and feel better for it both physically and mentally.
Running is quite an in-expensive (well bar the running shoes) but a good pair are value for money. You can run from your back door, Socially it is great, for the beginner if working in a group it gives you structure, you meet at certain times, you get advice and encouragement from the coach and fellow group members many of whom stood exactly where you are now as a newbie and have made huge strides from sticking with it.
It’s tough but lets not be fooled everyone is in the same boat because they are all striving towards attaining their goal, and the key word here is THEIR!
One piece of advice if you are to stick with any physical activity YOU must set a goal for yourself it helps you work through the tough days.
At the moment Covid 19 has put a stop to running groups or clubs meeting up, but slowly if the general public adhere to government guideline small groups will be able to get out together while observing social distancing guidelines.
Unfortunately bigger gatherings or events are further down the timeline and we will have to be patient awaiting guidance for them to return, but in time they will.
Despite the restrictions, is quite visible if you are out and about that there is more foot traffic on the roads as individuals are out regularly for their run to help their well being in these difficult times, which is positive and very important.
So my words to you all is keep getting the few miles in when you can and all in good time we will once again be able to share our experiences – the nerves, the encouragement to or from a complete stranger, the buzz, the cuppa and bun post run and of course the post mortem.
Running with others has many benefits so until we can get back out there in our groups again and are able to share experience and camaraderie, keep the faith and most importantly keep RUNNING, at YOUR pace for your well being and keep well everyone.