Ballintotis athletics club keeps moving in the right direction even in lockdown

East Cork group has grown to play a key role in the community
Ballintotis athletics club keeps moving in the right direction even in lockdown

Ballintotis Fit4Life Club members pictured near the finish line of the famous Ballycotton 10-Mile Road Race.

LOCATED in the heart of East Cork, Ballintotis Fit4life is one of the newest athletics clubs in the county. 

Like all other clubs, its runners have been patiently awaiting a return to normality, whilst at the same time keeping in shape with their own socially distancing training routines.

At the end of a year which understandably saw club membership drop across the country, Ballintotis Fit4Life, founded in 2013, had 82 members. In total there were 8,227 registered Athletics Ireland members in Cork at the end of 2019. However, the impact of the pandemic was a huge factor in a drop of 15.9% in 2020.

At their recent AGM held on a virtual basis, members of the Ballintotis club looked forward to what they hope will be a much more active year. 

Due to Covid, the very popular annual charity fundraising run hosted by the club at Christmas had to be postponed. Instead, officers have put in a place a challenge for their members to run a series of individual one-mile time trials over the coming weeks. The venture is seen as a motivational challenge to kick start the new running year.

Meantime, the uncertainty regarding the length of the current lockdown, means that plans have been currently been put on hold for this year's Ballintotis 4-Mile Race. 

The 10th run of the event attracted a record figure of almost 1,300 runners to the scenic location when it was last staged in April 2019. 

Now the organisers have adopted a 'wait and see' policy as they aim to access the possibility of running the race later in the calendar.

Michelle Cott, Sean Leahy, Louise Casey, Keith Mills and Chris Parr all well-known members of Ballintotis Fit4Life Club in a relaxed mood following a pre-Covid run.
Michelle Cott, Sean Leahy, Louise Casey, Keith Mills and Chris Parr all well-known members of Ballintotis Fit4Life Club in a relaxed mood following a pre-Covid run.

The birth of the Ballintotis race in 2010 was the trigger for the formation of the new Fit4Life Club under the guidance of energetic chairperson Sean Leahy. In that inaugural event, only a handful of local runners were in the line up which numbered over 400. 

However, the local rural community was captured by the lure of running and eventually the new club was formed three years later. Catering for members from the Ballintotis and Castlemartyr areas, the club vest is now famous far and wide. Several runners have worn the colours in marathons near and far as well as at a host of races of all distances across the country.

It's a club that caters for all abilities, beginning with a real focus on those who wish to dip their feet in the sport for the first time. Shane Carroll has taken over as chairman, with Mary Molloy as vice-chairperson, Michelle Cott appointed new secretary, Valerie Walsh serving as treasurer and Marian Cronin the new PRO.

It is hoped that the club will further increase its membership during the forthcoming year.

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