Fit4Life Interview Series: Crusaders Athletics Club


Why did you start Fit4Life in Crusaders AC? 

We started our Fit4Life group to help new and novice runners get into the sport as well as to have a place for people who hadn’t run before to try it out. We wanted to reach out to the local community and get as many involved with the club as possible. We believe it is important to give back to the local community and the Fit4Life group allows us to offer fitness classes to the community and to help people reach their fitness goals.

When and How did you start? 

There has always been a beginner’s group in the club. The idea being that you start there and if the athlete wants to, they can move up to the next level, and the next….

We renamed the group Fit4Life in 2016. We looked to attract a group of people who wanted to keep fit or to get fit, as well as allow for people who wanted to progress in their running. We are constantly developing the group, trying out new things and seeing what works or not. There's no real blueprint for it, it's a try it and see effort, with no one solution fitting all. We find that having good communication with our group, seeing what works or doesn’t, what they like or don’t, works for us. It is challenging but very gratifying for our coaches and athletes.

What are the benefits of running Fit4Life in your Club? 

We get to give back to the local community. We have a chance to impact people's lives and introduce them to a sport, and a running community, that they may not have been interested in, or indeed afraid of joining. It gives the club a chance to be part of the community to meet the different people from the area. It also allows us, as a club, to get more involved with local events like park runs and fundraisers.

How do you organise a Fit4Life Session? 

We have three main sessions each week, one on the track on a Tuesday; this is normally an interval session. The last Tuesday of every month is a 3k time trial so that everyone can see if and how much they have progressed. Thursday session is a sociable group run, it’s an easy pace so everyone can chat. Then there is tea for everyone in the club house after which everyone can socialise more. We run our Couch to 5k on a Thursday as well. This is for beginners who are brand new to athletics. We build them up slowly, so that they can progress to the Fit4Life group. The Couch to 5k also has tea with the group so that when they move up, they already know the people in the fit4life group.

On Saturdays we run loops of the pitches in the Phoenix Park, while we look in awe at the groups doing the Munich miles on the Magazine Hills. Saturday training is at a steady pace with a short break between loops. We also encourage our group to take part in the local parkrun, which is Pool beg for us.

Do you have any special sessions to enrich the expereince for members? 

Pre Covid we would have had various presentations e.g., Nutrition / Injury prevention. With our brand-new clubhouse available to us we are now planning to return to these and offer classes in Strength and Conditioning / Pilates – watch this space!

How do you encourage members to get involved? 

Our sessions are very sociable, and we find the Thursday social run Thursday is well attended. Perhaps the tea in the club house afterwards is an added incentive. The social side is very important and helps running friendships form. Our monthly time trial is voluntary, but we find the athletes like to gauge their progress and it keeps them motivated.

We support the Women's meet and train league. We encourage our Fit4Life athletes to compete as they are competing against others of similar standards.

Pre Covid we regularly had social events like table quizzes and pizza parties, and we hope to return to these soon. We are not always training, but we have some fun in the club also.

What are the Crusaders AC Fit4Life Standout Memories? 

The Fit 4 Life ladies winning their Meet and train division in 2019 was a fantastic achievement. At this standard people don’t expect to ever win a medal or trophy at anything, so seeing them win a trophy was very satisfying.

My own standout memory was when one of the ladies in the Fit 4 life group had to leave the club because she got a job in England. On her last session she pulled me aside and told me that if she had not joined Crusaders and met me as her coach, she would have given up on running after a few weeks. It was so lovely to hear that I had helped her to stay in our sport. It is great to know that, as a coach, you are making a difference to people's lives.

What advice would you give to anyone interseted in joining Fit4Life? 

It’s a great way to get into sports and running. It's very relaxed, there's no pressure to take part in competitions. You can if you want to, and you will get great support if you do. It’s very sociable and you will meet new people and form long lasting friendships. My best friends are people I met in Fit4life.

For athletic clubs it is a great way to get more involved in your local community.


For more information on the Crusaders' AC Fit4Life Club see here: Crusaders AC Fit4Life 

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