Week 16: How Sloggers to Joggers got Mini Marathon ready
Among the 40,000 women lining up on June 1 to participate in the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon will be 150 representatives of Sloggers to Joggers, a group based in Swords, Co Dublin, with members from all over the northside of Dublin.
The idea for this exclusively female, free training group came about when founder Suzanne Thompson, joined forces with a small group of like-minded parents to raise funds for their children's primary school in February 2013.
Since the timing coincided with the launch of the 16-week training programme in The Herald for the mini marathon, Suzanne set about recruiting women, initially just those connected to the school, to train together for the event.
Such was the interest that it was opened up to the wider community, and that year, 70 women took part in the mini marathon with the sponsorship money raised greatly benefiting the local school (Holywell Educate Together).
It was Suzanne who came up with the memorable name Sloggers to Joggers, during a solo training run that had turned into a bit of a slog.
Now the group had a distinctive identity to go along with their ethos of a free, supportive community of runners, joggers and walkers.
Two years on and the membership has grown to 280 active members of all ages, who train all year round and participate in many different events throughout the year at distances from 5K up to the marathon.
The Sloggers were invited by Fingal County Council to launch the 2015 St Patrick's Day parade in Swords with the inaugural Shamrock Shuffle, a 3K fun run.
As the Women's Mini Marathon was the inspiration for the group's inception, it is still naturally the main event on the S2J calendar.
Suzanne and the gang will travel to Dublin's city centre by coach (in fact, a minimum of two coaches will be required!).
Those participating will be supported along the route by other members of the group, many of whom will be hoisting banners with motivational slogans along the lines of "Cross that line and we'll bring the wine".
After completing 10K, the group will return to Swords for a celebratory after party. "We do like a party," says Suzanne, and indeed, the social aspect of the group is just as important as the training, with several get-togethers organised throughout the year, cementing the friendships and community spirit fostered by this unique group.
For more information about Sloggers to Joggers visit www.sloggerstojoggers.ie or message one of the administrators of the public Sloggers to Joggers page on Facebook.