The count down to the Born to Run – Tralee Marathon Club 40 Mile Ultra and Relay began in earnest on Tuesday evening when Tommy Horan captain of last years winning relay team returned the Prestige Marketing Shield to race committee members Marilyn O’ Shea and Liam Horan.
Registration has been brisk over the past week and only 7 spots remain in the Individual 40 Mile event. While in the 2 person tag we can accommodate 3 more teams and only 2 spots remain in the 4 person relay. So register now to avoid disappointment. Or visit our official race website at www.borntorunevents.ie for more information.
Saturday the 22nd of June saw the usual large turnout of our members for the Summer Solstices 10k with a half marathon event included this year also. Of course the Kerry 50k and 100k events were brought forward this year to coincide with the solstice events making for a spectacular festival of running. Well done to everyone of our members on representing our club with distinction. We also had a number of podium finishers with William Brick scooping the top prize in the men’s 50k, while Rose Brosnan and Michelle Greaney were third lady home in the 50k and half marathon respectively. Further afield Marilyn O’ Shea and Anna Stack were smashing out the “Ks” as they flew the flag for the club in Belfast at the Energia 24 Hour race.
Of course there’s just 4 weeks to the highlight of the Ultra circuit with the Born to Run 40 Mile ultra taking place on the 27th of July. Don’t forget if ultra’s not your thing there’s always our 2 person tag team event and our 4 person relay taking place on the same day.
Remember volunteers are always needed and you can contact Aoife O’Connor our lovely volunteer coordinator if your able to give a little of your time on the day. You don’t even have to miss out on taking part in the event as we will be delighted to welcome you on our directors run which takes place the previous Saturday.
That was the ethos behind the first Tralee Marathon in 2013; which sparked a running revolution in the town, changing hundreds of lives in the process.
And on 20 April, race organisers are hoping to re-capture some of that magic as 150 runners- including many Born To Run members- return to that original route in what is expected to be a sell-out success, with just limited places left.
Speaking with Born To Run, race director Jim McNeice reflected on the origins of the Tralee Marathon, which was originally set up by Marcus Howlett. A long-distance runner from Dublin- but with family roots in Tralee- Marcus had coached a group of novice runners at IT Tralee for the Limerick marathon, after he returned to education there.
The success of this original “couch to 42k programme” led to the establishment of Born To Run in 2010, and in turn, the Tralee Marathon in 2013, which saw up to 1600 people take part in both the full marathon and half marathon events.
“Nothing would have happened without Marcus,” says Jim, who came on board from the start, along with other team members like Vivienne Li.
“I mean, to see someone out running on the streets pre-2013 would be kind of unusual; to drive out on any day or evening now and not see someone running would be unusual.”
While Marcus has since moved on to other projects, Born To Run and the Tralee Marathon have both continued under new stewardship, but there were fears that the marathon would not take place in 2019 after organisers decided to focus on a half marathon and 10k event in March instead. However, Jim and his team took on the challenge and the Tralee Marathon will now take place on Easter Saturday.
One of the big changes this year was the decision to return to the original marathon route from 2013.
“When we took it on, my first thoughts were ‘What has worked in the past?’ and the main thing was the original route, out towards Ardfert, Barrow, Fenit. People loved it,” says Jim, who hopes that this decision will help recapture some of the magic of the original marathon and re-build participation slowly but surely.
“It has such great potential. It’s going to take time to build it back up; but it will come back.”
Of course, most runners are fond of their “race bling” and this year’s medal is certainly one for the collection: a double-sided 3D/2D medal dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, who visited Tralee in 1997.
“We are finishing on the Neil Armstrong Way, so that’s the road he opened back in 1997,” explains Jim.
“It is also the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in June and the idea is that because so many people in Tralee have run so many marathons, we just want to do something different with the medal.”
Indeed, this will be the first medal in an ongoing collection set to celebrate people with a Kerry connection, with Jim revealing that the 2020 Tralee Marathon medal will commemorate Antarctic explorer, Tom Crean.
“The Crean family are happy to do it in the sense in what we are doing is we are honouring Tom Crean and what he did. They gave me a great quote from a letter that he sent back to a friend of his in Annascaul after the 36 day walk…he said, ‘I think I’ve done Kerry proud.’ So that just kind of wraps up what we’re trying to portray him as: a humble man who did something absolutely outstanding,” says Jim.
“It’s to keep with the original ethos of the marathon, which is a local marathon for local people, supported by the local community.”
And speaking of community, Jim and the team have worked hard to source as much as possible- including the medals- from local businesses. They are also fortunate to have the support of Martin Brosnan, head steward with the Festival of Kerry, who will be co-ordinating volunteers to marshal the marathon within Tralee town.
However, they are still seeking about 15 volunteers to steward the route outside of the town and hope that Born To Run members who are not taking part on the day might give a few hours of their time.
But for those who still plan to run the marathon, but have not signed up yet, the advice is to act fast.
“We are down to the last 19 places,” says Jim. “I’m sure they are going to sell out.”
One person who is looking forward to this year’s event is Born To Run Chairman JJ O’Connell, who explains that the event is close to his heart.
“It was my first ever marathon, so it’s a massive checkpoint on my running journey. This will be my fourth Tralee marathon and it is special because it is the home town marathon,” explains JJ.
“The event has inspired people to take up running and as a Tralee marathon club, it’s great that Tralee has- and has maintained- a marathon over the last few years; and long may it continue!”
Club secretary Rose Brosnan is also taking on the distance. Like JJ, her first ever marathon was in Tralee and she has since gone on to complete 18 marathons, including three ultra events.
She is looking forward to returning to the scenic route; and to the challenges along the way.
“Tralee Marathon- although very beautiful- depending on the weather, it can be a very challenging route being so close to the sea as the wind can be a major factor,” she says. “There are also a few hills thrown in for good measure, especially the famous Barrow Hill!”
Still, we suspect that the Tralee Marathon runners would not want it any other way…
A huge congratulations is due the class of 2019 ‘Couch to 5k’ group who on Thursday night last, completed their celebratory 5k run to mark the end of their mentored couch to 5k programme. Over the past 8 weeks through hard work, perseverance and little help and support form our dedicated team of mentors this grate bunch successfully reached their fitness goals. All at Born to Run extremely proud of them.
The ‘Celebratory Run’ kicked off from Aras an Phobail at our usual 6:30 start time taking in the River Walk, Aqua Dome and the Ashe Hall before returning to the Aras Phobail for a medal presentation and reception. A special thanks is due to everyone who helped organise the night, the stewards, our water stop crew and all who baked, made tea or brought treats. Thanks also to Jack and Aras an Phobail for providing a brilliant venue to mark the occasion.
Of course our annual mentoring programmes are only possible, thanks to our dedicated group of mentors, who themselves are graduates of the programmes from years gone by. This is what keeps the club alive and what make the club such a special group to be part of.
Finally I would like to express the clubs dearest wish that this group of new 5k runners will be with us for years to come, whether they choose to continue progressing to 10k and beyond or stick to their 5k distance. Who can say maybe a few will be our mentors of the future.
On Tuesday 15th January Born to Run were delighted to welcome 120 new members to our club as they take on the couch to 5k programme. It was a phenomenal turn out and we wish them all the best over the coming weeks hoping they will enjoy themselves, achieve their fitness goals, make friends and remain with us long after the programme finishes.
The Born to Run couch to 5k programme is a slowly progressive one where we begin with our mentors taking the participants through our walk/run routine that begins with predominantly walking interspersed with very brief periods of jogging. The jogging periods increase slightly over the course of the programme until our participants can comfortable run for a full 5k (3 miles aprox).
Although our mentors do not profess to be experts or trained coaches, they all have been through the BTR Couch to 5k previously and are delighted to be able to share their experience with our newest members.
BTR is 9 years old this year and 545 people have successfully completed the couch to 5k and many going on to 10k, half-marathon, marathon and beyond. Remember if you are looking for a healthy start to 2019 and you think our club can help you it’s not too late to join us on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:30pm from the Aqua Dome car park.
On Tuesday 20 November, Born To Run Tralee Marathon Club held its AGM at The Rose Hotel in Tralee, which saw the election of a new committee for 2019.
This will consist of JJ O’Connell as chair, Ann O’Shea as vice-chair, Rose Brosnan as secretary, Martin Moore as treasurer, Liam Horan as fundraising officer, Jack Moriarty as registrar, Marilyn O’Shea as social officer, Maria Moynihan as PRO and William Brick as minutes officer.
Ordinary members for the coming year will include Sandra Byrne, Betty Brosnan, Aoife O’Connor, Tom Dillon and Conor Cusack.
As well as reflecting on a successful year for the club- with highlights including raising over €2,000 for St Ita’s and St Joseph’s school through the sell-out 40 Mile Ultra Marathon event in July- new initiatives for the year ahead were also discussed.
These will include the return of the “Couch To 5K” training program in early January in addition to the current summer programme, the roll out of club training plans for both a spring and autumn marathon and plans for the club’s first official trip abroad to a race series in the UK in May. These developments will require the participation of extra mentors from the club, and existing members are encouraged to get involved.
In addition, the date for the Born To Run Christmas party was set for Saturday 1 December, with drinks at Benners Hotel from 8.30pm.
New members are always welcome, especially on Tuesday nights at 6.30pm at the Aquadome car park, where a social run is followed by refreshments.
Born to Run were delighted to hand over a check for €2,058 to St. Ita’s and St. Joseph’s School of special education this week having raised it at this years Born to Run 40 Mile Ultra Marathon and Relay. See full story in Tralee Today
The forth annual Born to Run Tralee 40 Mile Ultra and Relay took place on the 28th July with both the individual and 4 person relay events selling out, while the 2 person tag team had only one place left unfilled.
It was a mixed day weather wise with everything from glorious sunshine to torrential down pours. But even the heaviest of rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of our participants as they went through mile after mile to collect that medal waiting at the finish line.
The men’s event was won by Alex O’Shea in a course record of 4:29:20, with Keith Whyte in second and David O’Keeffe finishing in 3rd. Meanwhile Catherine Guthrie was first home in the ladies event with Jill McCann and Liz Leonard finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. The 2 person tag was taken by David Toomey and Catherine Hannon, with John and Nickolas Liddane coming second and Tina Curtin and William Brick finishing 3rd. The 4 person relay was won by ‘The Relics and the Dream Team’ with ‘Team O’Shea’ finishing 2nd and ‘Scrambled Legs’ finishing 3rd.
Thanks to all our participants who combined to make this such a memorable event and to all our superb volunteers who once again have been singled out for special mention in the feedback we received from the runners.
Born to Run are please to welcome the Rose Hotel’s support of our 40 Mile Ultra and Relay event on July 28th. The Rose is a beautiful 4 star hotel that has been refurbished recently and is conveniently located near the start finish line. So if you intend to spend a little time in Tralee we would be delighted to recommend the Rose. Visit https://www.therosehotel.com for more.
We were delighted with huge interest in the 2018 couch to 5k programme, a total of 45 new members registered and started their journey to running five kilometers nonstop. New members are always welcome at BTR and are essential in keeping our club as strong as inclusive as we always have been Over the next few weeks the mentors will run alongside them sharing their experience and encouraging and cajoling them along the way. We wish each and everyone of them success in achieving their goals and hope they enjoy their experience with our club. We look forward to having them with us for many years to come.