Kilkenny Sport Focus
By Michael O’Leary
Graigue-Ballycallan Athletics Club was formed within the last 10 years, but since The Club was found they have constantly thrived with a wide range of actitivies as they continue to grow from strength to strength.
They have massive numbers within The Club which is a huge testament and tribute to the commitment of the people involved within the community.
One of their highlights took place last Sunday (March 19th) as they hosted their 5k fun run and chipped 10k run for the first time since 2019.
Unfortunately, The Pandemic put paid to the event over the past few years, but this year it made a most welcome return after a four-year absence.
Huge numbers from across The Parish/Community and around the County participated in what was a wonderful day for the Graigue-Ballycallan community, and it meant so much for everyone to have the event back in it’s normal format.
There were Prizes for The first-placed men and women in the 10KM distance, and a major organisational effort was produced to make the day such a great success with all proceeds for the event divided between The Athletic Club and St. Aidans National School in Kilmanagh.
They also had a fundraising Table Quiz in February as part of their build-up to their big day last Sunday.
Like many other Clubs, Graigue-Ballycallan Athletics Club have been busy fundraising in various ways over The past few years since The Pandemic, and they continued with Their 5KM and 10KM Virtually where they received great support that was much needed and appreciated throughout that most difficult time.
One major plus throughout the Covid Period was The increasing numbers taking up The Sport and joining The Club, and with majority of people having more time on their hands, it provided a perfect opportunity to get more exercise and enjoy the fresh air outdoors.
A major event which they organized that happened throughout lockdown was the Kilmanagh Marathon in October 2021.
It was a very special event as all funds raised went to The Kilkenny/Carlow Homecare Team, with a lot of runners participating in the Marathon running to honour a family or loved one affected by Cancer.
It was a perfect substitution for the Dublin City Marathon that fell by The wayside for The second consecutive year.
Also, like many other clubs around The Country particularly throughout Lockdown, they regularly held Couch to 5KM Runs and that encouraged new members to join up and perhaps take up a new hobby.
Plenty of members have participated and supported in other Athletic events both locally and beyond including The Stook 10, Medieval Marathon, Waterford Half Marathon, Dublin City Marathon among others, with a number of members having also competed in Marathons beyond Ireland including The London Marathon.
Another event in which they are loyal supporters of is “The Run off The Pudding” over The Christmas Holidays that is run by their neighbours in Tullaroan.
It’s an appropriate named event at Christmas to get out and about and enjoy some exercise, along with working off the calories consumed with all the festivities.
Among the events that happen in “The Run off The Pudding” are The Full Marathon and Half Marathon – for the more energetic along with the 10KM & 5KM, and it’s a most perfect way of staying active over the Holiday Period.
Graigue-Ballycallan Athletics Club continue to thrive and they provide a strong emphasis on social inclusion in a fun environment.
For anyone who is interested in joining up, check out The Graigue-Ballycallan Athletics Club on Facebook for further details.