Blackrock A.C. Fit4Life
Fit4Life was an initiative started by Athletics Ireland in 2006 to provide an opportunity for recreational runners/joggers, both male and female, to train under the guidance of specially trained Fit4Life leaders. It was set up to overcome the perception that athletic clubs only cater to fast runners. It allowed runners/joggers to enjoy all the benefits of running in a social, safe and organised environment. In practice, it meant runners could join a club to go for a run and chat with no pressure to take part in races.
The first Blackrock A.C. Fit4life training session was held on June 11th, 2013. In the early days, training was held on a Tuesday evening and the group catered mainly for people who could run a few slow km. The group has evolved over the years and Fit4life now caters for new and up-to-marathon runners with 4+ training sessions per week. Those who start jogging with the Fit4Life group move from doing 5km to 10km runs over time. Many members have then progressed to running half marathons, full marathons and even ultra distances.
Training is currently carried out in three groups and the meetup location is UCD Smurfit car park next to Carysfort Park. On Tuesday and Thursdays at 7pm, the newer runner’s group (Group A) generally run 4km to 6km on a local flat route at a pace of about 7minutes per kilometre. This group is usually paced by the leader or a group volunteer. The intermediate group (Group B) usually run 6km to 10km on a hilly route at a pace of about 6 to 7minutes per kilometre. The advanced group (Group C) usually run 8km to 12km on a hilly route at a pace of about 5 to 6 minutes per kilometre. There is currently no ‘Couch to 5km’ group and the group is examining how this can be set up in 2021. The current entry-level is that you must be able to run 4 to 5km nonstop, even if it is very slow,
A Group C long run usually takes place on a Saturday (usually at 8am) and this can vary from 12 km to 30km, depending on what event people are training for. The pace of about 5 to 6 minutes per kilometre. A Sunday run takes place at 9am and this varies from 6km to 12km and this is open to all groups. Other weekend runs are organised via WhatsApp.
The Fit4life group holds a number of social events during the year to keep member engaged. Taking part in races is encouraged with members travelling in a group to races. Over the years it has been wonderful to see members complete their first 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon or take part in championship events such as the Dublin Masters cross country or the Meet & Train cross country league.
The most important social event of the year is usually the Teddy’s Ice cream run where members run to Teddys in Dún Laoghaire and members are treated to an ice cream. Other events include group parkruns and going for coffee after weekend runs. These social occasions have helped to develop togetherness and comradery in the group that continues since the start of the group in 2013.