Glenmore Athletic Club - Reinventing itself in the face of the pandemic
After hosting a very successful cross country event in February 2020, the Kearney and Mc Bride Cups, in the beautiful surroundings of Bellurgan Park, Co Louth Glenmore AC like all other sporting clubs in the country found itself in lockdown, due to the covid pandemic that gripped the world. With our facilities at Bush Track closed and no training or competitions to attend, the club found itself in the difficult position of trying to keep its members active during these challenging times.
But with the never give up attitude of the club, its members got their heads together and organised a series of events and challenges to keep its members active during lockdown.
With the use of club App’s several different challenges were set up, juveniles were pitted against seniors to see who could accumulate the most km over a period of time. Another challenge saw senior ladies taking on senior men, and a quiz for the juveniles 'how well do you know your club 'was run over a number of days also, all of which got members active and created a great buzz throughout the club.
All challenges were carried out adhering to covid restrictions.
The annual Glenmore 10 Mile Challenge which is held in June also fell victim to the pandemic. Proceeds of this annual event go to the Maria Goretti Foundation and knowing how important these funds are to the centre, the spirit of the club once again came through, club members came together and organised the challenge as a virtual 24hr run where senior athletes set off in pairs every hour for the 24hr period. This was something that got a great response and even got runners from other clubs taking part. A fundraising page was set up for donations with over €3,000 raised.
With the restrictions easing somewhat, some competitions were allowed to go ahead. The club hosted the Louth juvenile track and field championships at Bush in August. It was great to see juveniles having some competition, in what was turning into a very difficult year. Senior's got their day too when the Louth novice cross country championship got the go ahead in October with a juvenile programme also. Unfortunately, that is as good as it got with another lockdown in place all competitions were cancelled.
Once again club members got their thinking caps on and put together the November challenge for seniors, juveniles and walkers. Where each group had targets for km covered in the month. A fundraising page was setup with donations in aid of SOSAD. And to add a bit of humour to the event, senior men were asked to grow a moustache for the month of November.
The month of December saw the Annual Santa visit to the track, the Annual St Vincent De Paul collection and then the virtual Goal Mile, and preparations for our Operation Bush4formation 2021 which is now into its 7th Year. From its inception in 2014, it has proven to be one of the highlights in the peninsula in getting people active and alive after the Christmas break, months of preparation goes into the making of this program the huge success that it has become. The programme brings all the regular classes of fitness, strength and conditioning, but much more this year, with mindfulness, hypnotherapy ,health talks for men and women and a book club to name a few. Having come through the year we have had the committee were fully aware that more than ever, there was a need to keep the community moving and how were they to do this with covid restrictions in place, not to be outdone the locally sourced class leaders and club coaches provided their classes on line, this was providing an amazing 18 classes a week, with back to back one hour classes each evening and morning sessions for the four weeks in the month of January, this was all for €50. The members were brought together on an App and the classes delivered to them by one of our talented juveniles who oversaw the smooth running of the program.
In February yet again another challenge for its member, where the leaders organized the peninsula into zones and each zone into teams, challenging one another in making up the kilometers either walking or running and so “Glenmore Runs the Peninsula” challenge began. One hundred and fifty members signed up for this challenge. The Go Fund me for this event was the North Louth Hospice and we concluded this challenge on March 21st with all our participants clocking up their 3k and donating to Down Syndrome North East. In the midst of this, we challenged our neighbouring athletic clubs in Louth to the “Jerusalema Dance”
We were also delighted to honour our Ladies in the club and take on the Mountain, Peak & hill challenge for International Ladies day, this was an astounding success with the Theme “Glenmore Ladies reach for the stars”. Over fifty ladies (& some men) took part and a lovely picture slide was put together for both these events by one of our very talented juvenile members.
In March the club has engaged with the tidy town organizations in the peninsula in encouraging our members to gather the rubbish within their covid restricted area with a view to doing a big clean up when restrictions lift. Our challenges will continue, our core organizers are constantly thinking up of new runs, walks to keep its members moving and avail of the beautiful countryside we live in with mountain trails, beach walks and greenways. While we are disappointed that we cannot avail of our six lane athletics track at Bush Post Primary school, we like other organizations have to support the government recommendations so we will soon see ourselves through this pandemic.
Glenmore AC is very conscious of the role it can play in the health and wellbeing of the whole community, we have a strong club, active senior and juvenile squads, and committed members, passionate about continuing the work of our founding members when the club was established in 1969. We are a rural club set in the beautiful Peninsula, open to all, for many it has been a life line in this current time, we embrace all, young and old, our committee is equally divided with male and female and our aim is to continue to be creative and help all its members and wider community stay active in mind and body.
We give a warm welcome to new members, our Fit for Life group embraces all levels, and we look forward to our monthly breakfast morning in due course initiated by one of our many loyal members. Our juvenile and senior squads are driven by the support they receive from their coaches and team leaders. Glenmore Athletic Club is alive and running and we all look forward to brighter days ahead.