Streets ahead — get off that couch

There are some things that are uniquely Galway, that are of us. There was the queuing for the advertiser accommodation list back in the day; there is the Ballybrit on the Friday or Race Week, there is the carol service in St Nic’s at Christmastime. And then there is the Streets of Galway road-race.

I ran my first Streets last year. Simply because before that I didn’t think I’d be able. But I was well able. And so this year I’m going again. Along with three thousand others. And why don’t you come along and join us. To be honest, when are you going to get a chance again to run through the heart of the city, to see it from the middle of the road, to not have to be worrying about traffic, for just one evening.

The ‘Streets’ is a great way to raise a few bob for your local charity. I’m running for MADRA, but I know that there are teams for all our local great causes. In fact, ACT for Meningitis has an Eight Weeks to 8k programme that will take your arse off the couch and have it flying across that finish line on August 6. Croi has a team too. And you can also start your own team so that your sweat and effort benefits others who may not be in a position to run this race.

I’ve always loved running. I wrote about this here last year how I’ve rediscovered the joy of it in the last few years. In fact, it was when I thought I’d be deprived of it forever, that I said that if I got the chance, I’d make sure I make running a regular part of my life. And so it is. That there is nothing quite as exhilarating as tearing down a road with the wwind or the rain lashing your face. And nobody thinking you’re odd because you’re running.

One of the freedoms we give up when we become an adult is that ability to run through the streets like we used to as kids. When children run along, you don’t bat an eyelid. When an adult runs down the street, you expect to see a security guard after him. Or a dog. As we get older, we tend to be forced to conform as to how we should walk. Our gait becomes everything. But to hell with that. With running you set your own pace and you run against yourself.

I now run about 25k a week. Not because I maintain hopes of Rio but for the tremendous thinking space that you get when you are propelling your body forwards along a country road. When you shake the bejaysus out of life’s worries on a run, by the time you get home, they are milled and easily consumed and solved. There is a lifetime of music and podcasts to be listened to, if the screenplay rolling in my mind isn’t fulfilling enough for my brain. And then there is the tremendous rush that a lashing rain on the face or a strong breeze gives you. A sort of reminder from nature that says “yes man, while you were in the gym rowing a pretend boat, I, the wind, was out here blowing but you were nowhere to be found.” Nature exists so that we can coexist with it. And when you’re running, that coexistence is sheer bliss.

At this stage last year, I wasn’t convinced I was going to run it, but coaxed gently by some, I did. And I thoroughly enjoyed that evening.

Let this be the start of your coaxing.

There is a lot that is unique about Galway — our sporting culture is some of that. There are things that are core to the city and its identity and the Streets of Galway is one of those. It was first held in 1986, thirty years ago, (but this is the 31st race ).

Remember Street’s ahead, so you might be streets ahead by the end of summer. Sign up now. To enter, check out galwaycityharriers.com or active.com This year’s race is sponsored by the Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway.

Now, up, let’s be havin’ ya.

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