Most of us can look fondly back on our school sports days, especially in primary school where running aimlessly around a field simply never got tiring and the main event was always the egg and spoon and not the 100m sprints. For many, the fun element of sport and exercise usually ends there.
In a country with a hell of a lot of pubs per square mile, it can no doubt be
difficult to find things to do that build the bonds of friendships but don’t involve nursing a pint or in some cases a bottle of wine. With gyms dotted all over the country and an increasing presence of boot-camp style fitness groups you could be hard pressed to find a fun day out for adults. In the past number of years there has been a significant rise in such fun activities, which don’t necessarily involve alcohol. Runamuck Ireland is one such group. Organising biannual races with a difference, the team at Runamuck devised a 5km route in Enfield Co. Kildare. Along this route are a large number of obstacles all through muck, bog and manure. Still interested? The last race on October 20th just gone had over 3000 participants so they must be doing something right.
There is something inherently fun and primal about getting on your hands and
knees under army nets you’ve only seen on television. Crawling up and over
such obstacles with your friends beside you trying not to laugh so much that
they don’t swallow any more muck really makes for a hilarious day out. The
Runamuck warm-up is not to be missed either: they have a resident DJ warming
up runners, joggers and walkers from 8am. It resembles something you only
wish RTE had produced, along the lines of ‘Glenroe Gone Wild’. Fancy dress is
encouraged and appreciated for laughs but make no mistakes about it, all clothes will be going swiftly into the bin afterwards. After the whistle is blown groups of 300 are let out of a pen (yes, a pen) and launched into the race. Galeforce events based in the West of Ireland also run a similar set-up on a larger scale. They run a number of adventurous races not for the faint-hearted but also a ‘Turf Guy’ challenge, which took place recently. Turf Guy is a 10km routethrough the famous bogs of Leenane in Connemara Co. Galway. USA Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell was spotted at the last one and claimed on her blog thatit was the ‘most fun’ thing she has ever done.
Some people do take these races seriously and are out for an alternative
challenge, but for the most part it’s groups of friends, work colleagues or charity groups taking part for the laugh and a different type of day out. Aside from the overall positive mood and banter emanating from the race area, rolling around in muck, as disgusting as it seems at the time, can do wonders for both male and female skin. Trinity College student Julie O’Shea says ‘when the cold, muck and manure can’t dampen your spirits you know it’s a worthwhile day out.’
Exercise and fitness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but when the craic involved is too good to miss you know it’s something worth giving a go.
www.runamuckchallenge.com www.galeforce-events.com www.hellandback.ie