Established 12 years ago to cater for local runners, Sliabh Bán Athletics Club now has 74 members with training sessions taking place throughout the week. Roscommon People reporter Dan Dooner caught up (eventually!) with long-time member Siobhan Hanley to learn more about the popular club
When was Sliabh Bán Athletics Club first formed?
The club was formed in 2011 and we still have people within the club that were involved in its foundation.
How many members do you have currently and how often do you meet?
We currently have 74 members. We train on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.45 pm.
Tell us a bit about the training…
Tuesdays are a track-based session in Kiltrustan focused on appropriate warm-up and cool-down and some interval training. This is a lovely weekly session as all abilities are catered for. It also keeps the group together as it is a looped circuit. From time to time throughout the year, we also invite coaches from outside the club to these facilitate sessions to bring a different dynamic to our training.
On Thursdays we meet at the gates of Strokestown Park House and run from there. We are lucky to have different routes around the town to facilitate different distances. Weekends sessions are more casual and usually take place Saturday and Sunday mornings. This is often when members who are training for longer distances complete their ‘long runs’. We are also so lucky to have park run here every Saturday morning at 9.20 am in Strokestown Park House which is supported by our members.
What’s the best thing about running?
For me, it’’s the best way to switch off after a busy day or set you up for the day ahead. No matter how much you don’t feel like heading out for your run, you will always feel better after you do it. I promise!
And what are some of the challenges runners in Roscommon face?
I think retaining members in rural areas always takes a level of effort from our executive committee and training committee, etc.
Assistance for clubs to ensure there is facilities for walking/running particularly in wintertime is also so important. Appropriately lit and appropriately surfaced tracks accessible locally would be fantastic. I think in turn this may encourage future athletes to take part also. We currently don’t have a purpose-built indoor or outdoor running track facility in the county, which is a shame.
What have been some of the highlights of your time with Sliabh Bán AC?
I’m with the club almost 10 years now and I have made some of my strongest friendships here. We have taken on so many wonderful events and have had good days and bad days competing!
A highlight would have to be my very first marathon back in 2015 where seven of us took part for the first time and I must admit were completely green to the task at hand!
But I think my best memories involve the time we have spent training, the longs runs, hours on the road telling stories, laughing and chatting, the cups of coffee, the post-race analysis, the hugs at the finish line and the many nights out to celebrate all the achievements! We have a wonderful club that’s down to the people who are part of it.
Are new members welcome – and what’s required?
New members are always welcome! We would also advise first linking up with your GP prior to taking up any new exercise. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to get in touch.