Lunch Time Run
Lunch time runs to the Castle Park on Mondays and Fridays have become a constant in the college between September and March. Students in all years are encouraged to take up running to develop their physical fitness. This lunch time activity introduces boys to running at a young age to help develop healthy habits that will stick with them for life. The philosophy has remained the same over the years which are firstly to promote cross country running as a team sport and secondly as an individual challenge, which fosters friendship, confidence, respect as well as self discipline and perseverance.
We welcome students of all ages, fitness levels and running abilities. Some boys run for fun, others for general fitness, more as part of their physical training programmes for other sports such as hurling and football and then there are the athletes who represent the school in cross country running. The athletes are mentored and encouraged. Health and safety are of paramount importance. Road safety down to and back from the Park is never taken for granted. Respect for other road and park users is stressed. Above all the boys are discouraged from over-exerting, always running within themselves. The boys are challenged to discover their running ability levels and then try to improve on this fitness in a gradual manner.
The lunch time run has evolved over the years. It is now a well structured and organised “tempo” run. We begin with a warm up stretching session in the College before jogging the one kilometre down to the Castle Park. The run in the Castle is a “change of pace” session over three kilometres of park land. Runners can opt in or out of speed trials over a circuit. The trials increase in number from three to ten over the season. The run is therefore incremental in that it becomes more rigorous over the six month period. We end the run “stretching down” back in the College. Over all the session lasts thirty minutes and is supervised by an average of four teachers who participate in this physical exercise.
Training takes place twice a week before Christmas and picks up to three times a week in the new year. The runs conjure up many images. The tough physical conditions of winter training: rain, ice, snow, fog, wind, slippery under foot conditions and cold hands are ever present. Apart from battling these conditions and hardships the woods and hilly terrain of the Castle Park are embraced if not welcomed by the athletes. The central image though is of togetherness, students and teachers mutually respecting each other’s endeavours and encouraging all to achieve. The lunch time students and teachers who train truly constitute a College Running Club. It is great to see so many in the College community take up the challenge of this demanding sport.