Monday, 30 November 2015

Gifts for Runners this Christmas

It can be hard to buy a running gift for that special runner in your life, as usually they have very specific preferences. They have a certain type of "heel strike" so will only use a particular type of runner, they will usually have a preference of a particular brand of running clothes, and they will use a particular GPS watch, so will track all their runs on that system (and won't want to change).

Sounds impossible, well here's some ideas that may help:

Ideas €100+

  1. Training / Running Courses - 
  2. Hotel Stays around races - if your runner is planning a marathon / half marathon and there is a bit of travel involved, why not book the local hotel, it would be a great suprise. (Throw in a trip to the spa with massage for extra brownie points!)
  3. Sports shop vouchers - It might be a little lazy, but if you are a voucher person, then they are likely to love the opportunity to buy a new pair of runners. (around €150 should do the trick).

Ideas <€100

  1. Races - "Here I bought you entry to a marathon", sounds lovely right? Well actually if you know that your runner has an eye on certain events, then it's not a bad idea at all. This is one you can tease out of them (what's your favourite race, any big running plans this year, etc.)
  2. Cool Training Gear - Even if you like a particular brand, there are certain things that you'll love to get, especially if they are for training rather than racing. You can't go wrong with a high-vis, light weight running jacket, have a look at this for example from Asics.

Stocking Fillers

  1. Gels - If your runner uses gels regularly then stock him/her up. Buy a full box, you get better discounts, and they'll definitely use them if they have a long race in the coming year. (Don't switch brands though, stick to the brand and flavour they like, e.g. High5 or PowerBar)
  2. Running Hats (either beanies for winter or running caps for summer). Or Gloves!
  3. Magazine Subscriptions - I'd recommend Irish Runner here, but if they already have that then try Runners World
  4. iTunes - if they use music during runs, you can't go wrong with a refresh of the playlist, an iTunes voucher would be nice!
  5. Medal Holders - If your runner has built up a vast collection of medals, that are stuffed in a drawer, then help him/her display them with pride. Here's mine from earlier this year, just €15 from Kerry Signature Furniture:

Running Books

When a runner is not running, they like to think about running! So here's some books that will keep them motivated or inspire them further:
  1. Born to Run - Christopher McDougall
  2. Eat & Run - Scott Jurek
  3. ChiRunning - Danny Dreyer
  4. Who Dares Runs - Gerry Duffy
  5. Running Full Circle - Frank Greally

Any other receommendations or questions, feel free to post below. I'll do my best to get back to you, without becoming a personal shopper!!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Templemore Santa Fun Run

The Templemore Santa Fun Run takes place again on 22nd December in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital. (All funds go to Temple Street)

The 5k race will begin at 15.00hrs with the run starting at the Garda College and entering the park in Templemore. All participants are asked to arrive in plenty of time beforehand to enjoy the festivities on the day. 

Prizes will also be given on the day for best dressed and best placed. You will not regret signing up what is sure to be a great event.

Full Details can be found here:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

RNLI Reindeer Runs

At this time of the year there are numerous Santa Dash's, Turkey Trots and Reindeer Runs. And I for one, love them all, because usually they are great fun, they encourage new runners, and help spread the Christmas Cheer.....hurray! (As well as help with a little excercise during this season of indulgence).

I decided that I'd like to highlight the RNLI Reindeer runs. This is because they do amazing, brave work as well as being nicely organised races. Added to that, is the fact that there are a few of them:

  • 22nd November - Liss Ard (apparently it was good, I missed it)
  • 29th November - Fota House, Cork (great location for a run)
  • 6th December - Marley Park, Dublin 
Also for our UK friends, there's one this Saturday in Dorset.


There is a 10K and 5K distance at all these events, as well as a "1k saunter", You get a t-shirt and 'reindeer antlers' for the 10k and 5k races. Here's the prices:
  • Adult 10K - €22
  • Adult 5K - €20
  • 1K Saunter - Free
  • Child Ticket - €10
  • Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children) - €55
Follow this link for Registration

Small bit about RNLI

I had the pleasure of going on-board the LifeBoat down in Castletownbere this summer. This was really interesting and enjoyable. They are some people (both the volunteers and the full time staff) and it was some machine. This picture from the RNLI lifeboat in Cliften, posted yesterday, says a lot about what they do:

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Fitness TV Shows

This evening I'm really looking forward to Iron Mind by Bressie on RTE2 at 9:30. In this show Bressie is gets 4 ordinary people to train and complete a half Ironman. The idea is to prove the link between positive physical health and positive mental health (something I think that most regular, and irregular runners would testify to).

This got me thinking about the TV shows that we have on terrestial TV these days, and in general I feel pretty positive about the influence that they are having on the country. These shows can, and are, changing the culture of the country to a more fitness focused one:

  • Operation Transformation - I've watched every season of this, I think it's 7 seasons now, and I believe this has had the most profound influence on the country. The massive crowds coming out in local towns to complete runs during dark winter nights is incredible.
  • Ireland's Fittest Family - Perhaps this doesn't 'influence the nation' as strongly, but it makes for great TV, and regularly sets a good example for a variety of fitness across different sports and disciplines
  • Iron Mind - as I said, eagerly awaiting this one tonight, it could have a very strong influence.

The one show I'd like to see now is a reality TV show focusing on first time marathon runners. I'm not an expert on creating TV shows (obviously) but I'm sure there's an interestng twist that could be put around this. The marathon is on the bucket list for an awful lot of people (not just runners). And it would be a great way to prove that it's an achievable feat for almost anybody (who is willing).

What do you say RTE......let's take it a step further.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Clonakilty Marathon Preview

Run Clon takes place on 5th December in Clonakilty and incorporates full marathon, half marathon and 10K races. This is the 6th running of the event, that started with just the marathon, but has expanded since. In 2010 the marathon had approx. 200 finishers, last year the marathon had over 400, the half marathon had over 700 and the 10k had nearly 800 finishers. With nearly 2,000 runners hitting Clonakilty, this will be one of the last big running events of 2015.


There are three new routes this year for all the events. In the past, I was put off the event by the fact that the routes were loops of the same course (just something that I personally don't like). They have changed that now, so it will be interesting to see what the new routes will be like.

You are guaranteed spectacular views, as the routes cover some amazing views out over the Atlantic. However, you also need to expect to be tested over some hills and there'll likely be a strong wind from the coast in places (so hide behind some tall people!).


  • Marathon - €60
  • Half Marathon - €50
  • 10K - €30
The Marathon seems to be good value for money at €60. The Half and 10K may be on the high side, however, unlike a lot of 10k races (and some half's) you get a pretty nice finisher medal and technical top. Registration here.

Race Info

Race start is at the Quality Hotel in Clonakilty and is planned for 9am.

When you arrive in Clonakilty town, take the Bypass Road towards the Quality Hotel, on the N71, parking will be at the showgrounds (beside the hotel).

Race packs and finishing t-shirts can be collected upstairs at the Carbery suite in the Quality Hotel on Thurs 3rd 6-9pm; Fri 4th 10am - 9pm; Race Day 6am - 7:30am.

Weather is usually around 8 - 10 degrees, so bring warm gear!


The atmosphere at this race is always enjoyable, everyone in good spirits. There's also some nice perks that are worth mentioning:

  1. You get Clonakilty Pudding - if you don't know what this is, you should enter just to find out!
  2. Showers available in the Quality hotel
  3. Post Race massage
  4. Photo Wall - available after the race for you to get a proper high quality pic that you can then download for free afterwards

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Aware Christmas Run

The Annual Aware Christmas Run is a 10K and 5K race around Phoenix Park on Saturday 12th December.

This race has been around a few years, (since 2007 I think, but it's years since I ran it). It attracts reasonably good numbers:

  • Finishers 2014 - 10k: 1,150. 5k: 600
  • Finishers 2013 - 10k: 1,400, 5k: 500


This is a pretty expensive race, particularly the 5k, as both distances are €25 to enter. However it is for a worthwhile charity cause, so there's no suprise that it still attracts decent numbers. The organisers encourage people to fund raise or donate (although it's not obligatory) and an incredible €80,000 was raised by the event last year.

You can register on the Fit Magazine website here.


This is a pretty tough, hilly 10k course. There's an early climb around 2k, but the hardest is probably at 9k, when the legs are a bit more tired. However, it is a very scenic route around the Phoenix park, particularly enjoyable for anybody not worried about a time.

A good work-out either way, and for a good cause.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fields of Athenry 10k

On Saturday 26th December (Stephen's Day), Athenry AC will host the 14th running of the "Fields of Athenry 10k race.

This is one of the most popular 10k races in the country with 1,152 finishers last year.


The course is a loop starting and finishing in Athenry town, mainly run on quite country roads, with the scenic stone walls and fields that give the race (and the song) it's name prevalent along the course.

It's a slow drag at the start, with a testing section around the 4k mark. However, it has a great downhill finish of around 500 metres. This brings you (at speed) under the Medieval Arch in town, a really nice way to finish the race.
Fields of Athenry 10k elevation


Registration is online only, and will sell out in advance of the race, as has been the case for the past number of years. Last year the race sold out at least 5 days before hand, so you want to enter by early December.

Cost is €20, link to entry here


Athenry has a unique and slightly quirky tradition of giving each runner a finishers hat. The reason this is unique (I think) is because each year the hat design changes (and is kept secret until the week of the race). See what I mean by having a look at their history of finishers hats here. Anybody have the full collection?

Start of Fields of Athenry

Monday, 9 November 2015

Clontarf Half Marathon & 5Mile

On Saturday 21st of November the 2nd 'winter' running of the Clontarf Half Marathon and 5 mile will take place. I say "winter" because the Clontarf half marathon has been run in July for a number of years now.

Last year was the first year that the organisers added an additional running of the event in November. The November event is cheaper (as they remove the race t-shirt) and also timed relatively soon after the Dublin marathon. The idea being that you will have all the training done, have enough time to recover, and therefore have a good chance of doing a PB.

One of the main selling points of Clontarf is the flat course. An out-and-back course along the Clontarf promenade and Bull Island, including a stretch along the strand, means that this genuinely does not have a hint of a is dead flat.

I ran this race previously in July a couple of years back. The event is very well attended and organised. They put on plenty of 'nice things' at the finish line (for winter I belive it's soup). My only gripe with the race when I ran it was a poor, generic medal, however they seem to have fixed that:

Don't worry about the sand, it is hard packed, so it won't slow you down.


The race is likely to sell out soon. There were around 1,300 who completed the half last year in November, expect numbers to be higher this time. (Organisers are guiding circa. 3k across all events on the day).

You have the option to register on Active or Fit Magazine, but Active appears to be cheaper here

The 12K's of Christmas

Having spent too many mornings recovering from a "12 pubs of Christmas" I may make this event part of my new annual routines - "The 12K's of Christmas". 

Organised by The Kildare Town Running & Triathlon Club, this event has a 12k and a 6k race on 12th of December at 12:00. The entry fee is €12 for the 12k or €10 for the 6k. 

So just in case you missed up on the 12/12 at 12, pay 12 and run 12! 

The race starts and finishes at Kildare Town FC and runs around the Curragh Plains. Here's the funky medal / beer opener, which may come in handy over the festive period:

Here's the race flyer:

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Preview of the Listowel Half Marathon & 10K

Next Saturday, 14th November, the Kerry Crusaders will host their inaugural half marathon and 10k in Listowel, Co. Kerry. The Crusaders are a sister club to the Clare Crusaders, and their objective is to raise money for disadvantaged children. So the funds of this event will go to kids with special needs.


Online registration is available on the Run the Kingdom website: click here

Paper registration is available from the Listowel Community Centre.

Cost is €40 for the half marathon and €25 for the 10k.

The race will sell out, so it's unlikely that registrations will be taken on the day.


The half course is flat for the first 5 miles, before you start a small but steady climb. This becomes much steeper after 6 miles, however once you get past 7 miles, it's pretty straightforward (with a nice downhill). Here's the Garmin link to the route.

The 10k is similar, climb in the middle, decsending to the finish, link here.


All runners will receive a finisher t-shirt and medal. Here's a picture of the nice medals:

Race Times

The Half Marathon starts at 10. The 10k starts at 10:15.
Number collections will be available Friday and Saturday morning.

Finally, here's the link to the crusaders site and the race flyer:

Friday, 6 November 2015

Race Awards nominations after day 1

Yesterday I launched the Running In Ireland Race Awards for 2015, a series of awards aimed at recognising the best running events during the year in Ireland. All nominees and winners are choosen by public vote, so these are the awards decided by runners (and I think maybe the only awards in the country?).

Well the response yesterday was incredible. 246 people submitted nominations, and I've lost count today! As you can imagine, there was a lot of variety in the nominations, but by far the hottest categories for far are the 10K of the year and the Half Marathon of the year.

There's another 44 days of nominations left, so make sure that your favourite race is in with a shout of making the finals.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


Mo-Running 5K & 10K - 14th November - Dublin

MoRunners Receive

  • Race chip Timing and instant race results
  • Top class MoMedal bigger and better than 2014
  • Yellow Winners Jersey for 1st finishers including Champion medal and free entry to 2016
  • Legend and Superhero medals for best fancy dress and legends of MoRunning
  • Discount for groups of 4 or more of 5% ( code for booking MR15-TeamEntry ) Find out more about how to register a team
  • Team Entry and Results
  • MoRunning Headband
  • Snacks and drinks at the event
  • Photos to download
  • Additional goodies from event partners