Olympic 5,000 metre finalist Alistair Cragg gives this year’s Fun Run the ‘thumbs up!’

Olympic 5,000 metre finalist Alistair Cragg gives this year’s Fun Run the ‘thumbs up!’

Click here for entry form and more information

We’re entering the final stretch of preparations for The Munster Express/Caulfield’s SuperValu Fun Run, which takes place on Sunday, September 14th, (starting at noon) and finishing at the Regional Sports Centre.

If you’ve been sticking to the plan you set for yourself – well done! You’re on course to comfortably walk, jog or run around what is certainly a testing 10-kilometre route of the city.

And if you’re of a white and blue persuasion, the efforts of the mighty hurlers of Waterford should have lifted the spirits and encouraged you to eke out that extra drop of sweat during every training session.

On one recent run, I decided to embark on a new running trail – and it proved enormously enjoyable. Just running in a different area – or on a different surface I might add, can do the world of good for both body and soul. And with variety being life’s spice and all, its value when out for a trot cannot be underestimated.

Try to avoid both of the following: running the same route over and over again and running the same pace over and over again. Neither, for the purposes of both physical and mental well-being, are worth putting yourself through.

Like the ‘same voice syndrome’ spoken of in the media following Justin McCarthy’s departure from the Deise manager’s job, ‘same route syndrome’ can crush a runner’s spirit as well as their ability to run competitively.

It’s why even moderately talented club runners avoid it – and irrespective of your targets for Fun Run Sunday, you should do your utmost to avoid it too.

So what should you do?

* Scan your area for interesting, varied runs. When it comes to stamina building, you’ll be looking for a longer route, probably one with a few inclines on it to get the lungs working and the legs pumping.

* When looking to inject some pep in your step, a flat, long strip of grass or sand should prove particularly useful. i.e. the People’s Park, your local club ground or any of a number of beaches in Waterford such as Stradbally, Tramore and Woodstown.

* The numerous forested areas of the area also offer a series of interesting, challenging runs. The woods around Portlaw have been a favourite for a host of athletics’ clubs as well as teams from other codes down through the years and also feature a stack of different routes.

* Opt, when possible, for softer underfoot surfaces, particularly if you’re prone to shin or joint problems. It’s why the beach, the park and the forestries prove particularly worthwhile. Sustained impact on hard surfaces over a sustained period can have long-term implications on the hips, knees, shins and ankles so please, please, please, take care of yourself.

Some confusion still appears to persist out there regarding this year’s Run, which has become the most successful mass-entry road race in the region over the past decade.

Let The Munster Express assure all readers that our Fun Run, with new co-sponsors Caulfield’s SuperValu proudly on board is, to gladly use the pun, up and running!

While a local worthy cause to benefit from the proceeds raised by the Run shall be announced by the sponsors at a later date, should you wish to raise money of your own for the charity of your choice, feel free to do so.

Running is the most universal sport of all – all it requires is a good pair of trainers and a little motivation. After that, the rest is up to you! Running is a tremendous past-time, a way of keeping the body in check and keeping the spirits high.

It is, as Olympic medallist John Treacy once famously put it, dependant on four factors: “Believe in yourself, know yourself, deny yourself, and be humble.”

There are days when you’ll feel tired, so listen to your body. There’ll be days when you feel strong, despite that, stick to the programme and don’t overdo it. There are days when you don’t want to run – on some of those days, don’t. Walk, cycle, kayak, swim, lift a few bags of sugar, etc – just try and so something else instead.

Come the day, the only person you’ll truly be running against will be yourself. It’s what makes running such a humbling and wonderful sport; the ceaseless internal competition.

So with September 14th looming, keep up the effort and you’ll reap the benefits when re-entering the RSC at the end of your 10 k run. And just like our hurlers, remember one thing: don’t stop believing.

Entry forms are published weekly in The Munster Express and are available in both our offices on the Quay, Waterford and at Caulfield’s SuperValu in the Waterford Hypercentre.

But please, please note that all completed forms and entry fees will be handled at the offices of The Munster Express only while prizes will only be awarded to athletes aged 16 and over.

Forms are available online at www.munster-express.ie/fun-run-2008/; while details on what to do between now and September 14th will feature right here in theses pages.

The time to run, jog or walk, for fun, charity or both has come – again! Good luck and get running for the 2008 Munster Express/Caulfield’s SuperValu Fun Run, sanctioned by Athletics Ireland.