Mr Motivator Richie Clifford with his dad Phonsie and brother Denis – all marathon fitness fanatics
WALKING the streets of Limerick with 12,000 people at your side is like a drug that gives many the adrenalin to activate a fitness lifestyle.
That is according to Ireland’s Mr Motivator Richie Clifford, who is calling on the undecided to throw on the tackies, lace up, and take on the Bon Secours Hospital Great Limerick Run this May Bank Holiday.
But Mr Motivator, who is involved with the ninth annual race, is not targeting the runners and the fitness fanatics; he is looking at those entering retirement, or who are seeking a new, healthier life.
“I am looking to give people a way to kickstart their life. And it is a great way to kickstart their life and their fitness programme.
“Amazingly enough, what I found is that when people start to do the Great Limerick Run walk, it is absolutely phenomenal for them. I am usually at the end with the microphone. The amount of people that come back and say that they absolutely adore it. So I think it is huge for people as a starting thing. It’s an incredible day for them to kickstart a new life in fitness,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“I think we have got all the runners to an extent. We are looking for the people who are half-thinking: ‘Do you think I should do it?’”
Richie’s father Phonsie is an example of what he is looking for.
Now 87, Phonsie only started committing to a fitness regime when he retired at age 62.
Phonsie has been crowned a Dublin Marathon gold-medallist six times since he took up his new athletic life, and has been using it as a fundraising machine for Milford Hospice.
He has so far raised more than €54,000 for the care centre.
“But for me, I see people and I think that walking the streets of Limerick with 12,000 other people is a life-changing experience, and I have found people that have done it have never stopped doing it then. It became a lifestyle then after that.
“I am encouraging people to sign-up. And because I am involved in the Great Limerick Run, it’s just another way to get people to do something. For me, personally, when I am at the finish line and people say: ‘That is first time doing that now. I’ll never stop doing it.’ It’s like a drug, and it’s a huge thing for people to kickstart a new fitness programme in their lives. And it’s on their doorstep as well,” he enthused.
Now entering its ninth year, the Bon Secours Hospital Great Limerick Run will take place on Sunday, May 6.
With over 12,000 runners and between 25,000 and 35,000 spectators, a team of over 600 volunteers will help to deliver the event.
Three runs will take place: a half-marathon, a fun-run, and the full marathon.
Meanwhile, a children’s fun run will take place the day before, at the University of Limerick campus. A total of 7,650 have already registered including 1,830 for the children’s event. Some events are likely to sell out, especially the half marathon event as numbers are significantly up on previous years.
Volunteers for this event come from many local clubs, schools and groups.
In addition to the volunteers required on Sunday an additional 200 volunteers are required on Saturday May 5 in the UL Arena for the event expo. Exhibitors from all over the country will make their way to the UL Arena for the exciting sports expo.