Fit4Life: Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Castlebar, Claremorris

Castlebar Fit4Life in their new t-shirts

Some of the Castlebar Fit4Life members in their new t-shirts

As the days get longer we have more opportunities to ‘get out there’ – not applicable to those in well lit environments, but particularly if you are in a rural area.
Fit4Life resumes at our four locations and members will need to register for 2013 (new members very welcome too). They will be able to get their new Mayo AC Fit4Life t-shirts which will give them an enhanced sense of identity alongside the familiar club vest. Full details of our groups, meeting times, contacts etc are detailed for you.

Ann McDonnell Leader of the Castlebar Fit4life group (and also now Secretary Mayo AC)  has outlined her experience so far, and the group’s plans for the season, as well as her hopes for the future. Experienced club members are always welcome at these sessions and their advice and guidance will give added value to this excellent program.

Mayo AC Fit4Life Groups
Fit4Life is open to all over 18 years of age, annual membership is E40, trained team leaders are on hand in each venue to offer advice and information.
Ballinrobe meet on Thursday at 7.30 pm and Sunday 10am at the Green, beside Soccer Pitch; contact Joan: 087 6726029

Castlebar meet in the car park of Castlebar Tennis Club every Mon at 7pm and Thurs at 8pm, further information from Ann McDonnell at 086 8635534 or Maggie at 087 6324252.
Ballyhaunis  Meet and Train are holding a registration night for 2013.  It will take place at The Enterprise Centre on Clare Street, behind Supervalue at 6pm on Tuesday 22nd January.  People of any level of fitness are welcome to join us. All existing members need to re-register for 2013. Anyone wishing to join for 2013 for the first time should come along at and meet existing members. Ballyhaunis Meet and Train meet every Tuesday at 7pm and on Saturday mornings at 9am at The Ball Court in The Friary Field. If anyone wants to come along and try it out, just turn up at either time. If you require any information contact Martin Fitzmaurice at 087 2455989.
Claremorris group resumes at the newly developed track  on Thursday evening January 17 at 7.30pm. Club officials will be there from 7.15 pm to accept 2013 registration  More information from Michael (after 7pm on 086 8534729.

Ann McDonnell, Leader of the Castlebar Fit4Life group shares her experience and hopes for the future:

Over the last few years running has become much more popular.  This is very evident from the numbers of people you see as you drive through towns or along the highways, byways and boreens of rural Ireland. From this has sprung the many Fit4Life groups in the area. These people form a very diverse group.  Some of them have never run before but always wanted to, some have done a bit of jogging but don’t see themselves as “real runners”. Others have been running for a number of years and have now found that training with a group of people has improved their development. Among them also are people who have had no aspirations of running in a road race – for them getting out the door to come to an evening session is a huge effort alone, with all the stresses in everyday life. Each member, regardless of their ability or experience, are vital members of the group and add to the whole atmosphere on the meet nights.

Our Castlebar group has really gained momentum in the last year or so. Members who used to be walkers are now completing 10ks without the worry that they wouldn’t be able for it, and more importantly they are motivating others to progress to the same level. For me, these are the real inspirational members of Fit4Life and they epitomise the essence of what Fit4Life is about. Others are training for their first Half Marathon this year which is no mean feat for anyone. Over the last few years we have had more and more members completing the Dublin City Marathon. Some of us never dreamt that we would ever be able to contemplate the marathon, let alone achieving it. I suppose the real achievement of the Fit4Life program is allowing people to achieve fitness levels that they never thought they would be able to, and to understand that road races are not just for elite athletes. Now, us “normal Joe Soaps” runners can complete the distance, and irrespective of whether we do a 10k in 45 mins or 1hr 45 mins, we are all athletes and members of a club.

The one problem we’ve had is that as the group is quite large and not everyone knows each other at events – you could be beside a fellow member without recognising the fact. This has led us to produce t-shirts with the Fit4Life logo to identify fellow members. The Mayo AC vest has been a longstanding identifying mark at races, but as the dynamics of the club has changed the attire has also moved with the times. Now all Mayo AC athletes can be identified by the traditional red and green vest and also by these shiny new red t-shirts!
In particular the more established members of the club will now be able to identify fellow members and will lead to greater camaraderie.
As a further development in the group over the next few weeks, we will be hosting talks on injury prevention and triathlon training. Colette Tuohy has very kindly come along on a few evenings to give advice and tips. Hopefully over the next few months a few more experienced members will do the same. In March we are hoping to go to Kinvara in Galway where some members will do the 10k  and others will do the half marathon which takes place on on the same day. Later that evening we plan to stay over and have a social night out – after all sport is also about social development!
So if anybody has ever even contemplated running I would thoroughly recommend joining a Fit4Life group in your locality. Anyone can run and regardless of what level you’re at, you will be fully accepted into the group and by getting out in the fresh air you’ve taken a huge step into improving your overall health.

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