28 Sept 2022

No ‘Barr’ to turning January into Runuary says Limerick-based Olympian

No ‘Barr’ to turning January into Runuary says Limerick-based Olympian

Limerick-based Olympian Thomas Barr has lent his support to the Runuary Challenge | PICTURE: Sportsfile

LIKE so many, Limerick-based Olympian Thomas Barr had to reset his expectations in 2020 after the cancellation of the Olympic Games.

Due to the uncertainty of the last few months, many have turned to running to relieve stress, clear the head and to feel more in control. Irish Life Health has developed ‘Runuary’, in conjunction with Athletics Ireland, to support runners to continue their running routine and to have a positive and healthy start to 2021.

It began on January 1 to encourage runners, from beginners to the more experienced, to commit to challenging but realistic running programmes, with a target distance to be completed on January 31. 

Thomas is lending his support.

“Starting into a New Year always gives me a fresh sense of optimism. 2021 still has plenty of unknowns and uncertainties, but I can only focus on what I can control. That is what I really like about the Irish Life Health 'Runuary' programme, it gives runners the choice to select a programme that suits their ability and works with the time commitment that they have available,” said Thomas.

They will be supported to keep them moving through their miles by an expert team including nutritionist and athlete Evan Lynch, from Limerick.

“As someone who would’ve had an intense fitness regime as an athlete, I can see in hindsight a lot of the things I did wrong, and I see it in other people now. The food aversion, the fad diets. I had low energy availability, trained when I was fatigued, and ignored warning signs. January can be the catalyst for a lot of these bad habits and if I can prevent this happening in other people, that is what I am going to do, and that’s why I’m delighted to be involved in the Runuary Challenge,” said Evan.

There are programme options available for training three, four or five days a week building up to completing a selected targeted distance on Sunday, January 31. 

5 Mile (8km) – ideal for the runner who took on couch to 5km during lockdown looking to take on a longer distance.

The classic 10 Mile (16km); for more experienced runners. 

For those more endurance-based athletes they can take on the challenge of training for 31 days to complete 31km (over two days). 

Liz Rowen, head of marketing, Irish Life Health said: “The Irish Life Health Runuary programme is just one of a number of ways we’re supporting people to embrace a healthier lifestyle overall.” 

Entry is free of charge and runners can sign up at

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