A new initiative at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre aimed at encouraging ladies to take some regular exercise is proving to be a major success. The Meet and Train idea was introduced by Centre Chairman, Martin Quinn, who wanted to provide a safe environment for ladies to take some regular exercise. “I was aware of the success of this initiative in Clonmel and along with some Board Members we went to see it in operation at Clonmel Athletic Club. With the number of ladies out walking and running on the roads I knew that this initiative could be started in Tipperary and with great help from Clonmel A.C and South Tipperary Sports Partnership we were able to launch it in Tipperary Town”.
The Meet and Train takes place each Tuesday evening at the Running Track at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre at 7pm and has had up to 70/80 ladies attending the weekly sessions. “We have a core group of about 30 to 40 each week and this can increase if weather conditions are favourable. However weather conditions do not deter many of the ladies as even on nights when there was torrential rain the group session still took place” said Martin.
While August is a holiday month for many people the group has continued to meet as Martin considers that it is very important to keep the momentum going. “It is very important to keep the sessions going as there is also a great social element to it and the ladies look forward to meeting each other each week”
When the Nationalist called to a recent Meet and Train session there was great praise for Ruaidhri Devitt who has been leading the group for the last number of weeks. “Ruaidhri allows you to work at your own pace and doesn’t put you under any pressure. It is an excellent way of taking exercise and the company of the other ladies is wonderful” said Anne Bradshaw.
“Whatever level you are at you can fit in whether you are a walker or a runner and there is no pressure to do anything other than what you are able or want to do” said Trish Hally.
Most of the ladies present emphasised the importance of the group and the motivation gained from each other. “We would not keep it up if we were doing it on our own as there is a great sense of support and camaraderie from the group” said Mary Pyke. Along with this sense of help and support there is also the encouragement of a minimal charge each week. “It is a cheap way of getting very good exercise in a safe environment and where would you get it for 2 euro? asked Eva O’Donovan who summed up the feelings of the ladies about the Meet and Train with the statement “A little pain but a lot of gain”.
Ruaidhri Devitt has been leading the group for the last number of weeks and is really enjoying the weekly sessions. “I came in to give a hand out a number of weeks ago and am here since. I am really enjoying it though and I am getting good feedback from the ladies. It is very important that the ladies work at their own pace and under no pressure. We have ladies of all ages and all fitness levels here. Some just want to walk each week while others want to push themselves a little bit more. It is important that the ladies enjoy the sessions and want to come back when they are finished each week” said Ruaidhri.
Martin Quinn expects that the numbers will increse again in September and says that they are open to accept new people every week. “You don’t have to enrol for a year or anything like that and you can come and go whenever suits you. If you miss a week then you can come back the following week and take up where you left off” said Martin.
There is a great buzz in the group also about the visit in September of World and European Cross Country Champion, Catherina McKiernan. “Catherina is one of our past Canon Hayes National Sports Award winners and we are delighted that she has agreed to come to the Meet and Train group in September. This year is also the 25th Anniversary of the Canon Hayes Centre so her vist on September 28th will be extra special” said the Sports Centre Chairman.
Many of the ladies from the Meet and Train group participated in the Canon Hayes 10k which was held last month while some others have participated in various other 5/10k events in surrounding areas. It seems that this initiative is set to grow and develop even further over the coming months and we look forward to reviewing its progress. If you are interested in being part of this growing initiative then just go along on any Tuesday evening at 7pm to the Running Track at the Canon Hayes Recreation Centre. Remember no experience necessary!!