A blizzard run in Dundalk with ‘little hailstones lacerating my face’

Ruth Field accepts an invitation to run with Ray in Dundalk on Maunday Thursday

Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 12:55

Q Will you come over to Ireland to run 5k with Ray in Dundalk on Holy Thursday?


A Sure thang. On two conditions: 1. I am kept distracted from the potentially inclement weather by a brilliantly amusing comedian; and 2. I am further distracted from the potentially inclement weather and kept entertained with live music from an amazing band (and get to gawp at eye candy worthy of America’s next top model throughout).

Ray D’Arcy [Today FM presenter] and his “staff” were more than happy to oblige, and so I found myself at 10am on Holy Thursday having coffee in a makeshift radio station in Dundalk and being entertained from all angles by a hilarious Pat Shortt and an insanely good-looking Bressie and his band the Blizzards’ brilliant new album Rage and Romance .

Hurt to breathe in
I was – as I always am – dreading the run, and the walk up to the start confirmed my fears.

To describe it as inclement weather would be a massive understatement; it was nothing short of Siberian, and it actually hurt to breathe in.

I have always been a fan of running solo. Part of its real beauty – for me – is that it is just you against yourself, against whatever weakness your body may be labouring under that day (be that a hangover, a large roast with all the trimmings, or unwilling calf muscles – to name but a few).

But doing a race, even a very friendly one without race chips etc, is every bit as confronting.

There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to run (pun intended); you cannot cheat and you will always get precisely out of the run what you have put in during the days and weeks leading up to it – unlike a game of football or netball in which your team may win despite your raging hangover because the rest of the team can compensate for your poor performance.

Every step counts
Not so with running. Every step counts towards that finishing time, and no one else can take a single one of them for you. Every stride you take in the race counts as does every single step leading up to it in preparation.

If you slow down, if you don’t give 100 per cent, you will lose. End of story. It is the ultimate challenge in honest sport. Which is why it is so wonderful to see people of all levels of fitness and at different stages in their running journeys daring to join in. It is so brave because it leaves you truly exposed.

And the brilliant thing about running in a group race which I always rediscover as if for the first time – every time – is that the group inevitably propels you onwards faster, as if you are made more powerful from your participation in a group.