Irish Life Health has launched a new’Runuary’ programme to support runners of all levels ‘to run January and not let it run them.’

The programme has been developed as part of Irish Life Health’s long term partnership with Athletics Ireland and will be fronted by Thomas and Jessie Barr.

Starting on January 1st, it encourages runners, from beginners to the more experienced, to commit to challenging but realistic running programmes, with a target distance to be completed on January 31st.

“While we can’t remove many of the unknowns from our lives at the moment, we can add some sense of certainty through our daily actions,” said Jessie Barr who in recent years has switched from competing on the track to supporting some of Ireland’s leading Olympic hopefuls as a performance sports psychologist.

“Having a weekly running routine can provide stability. It can help us feel more at ease by enabling us to regain some control of our lives.”

“Human behaviour though is complex and there is a lot of behavioural science behind why sticking to our resolutions is so difficult.

“Having the “best of intentions” is great, but that alone is not enough to sustain a behaviour over time. To empower those who sign up for the programme, they will be supplied with a four-week training programme with videos and hints to help them along their journey.”

Specialist Team

Barr is part of the specialist team along with a physiotherapist, nutritionist and Athletics Ireland qualified running coaches who will support runners when they sign up to the programme and offer the expertise needed to keep them moving through their miles.

Her Brother Thomas is an Irish Life Health ambassador and is also supporting the campaign as he prepares for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Like so many others, I had to reset my expectations in 2020 after the cancellation of the Olympic Games,” he said.

“Starting into a New Year always gives me a fresh sense of optimism. 2021 still has plenty of unknowns and uncertainties, but I can only focus on what I can control. That is what I really like about the Irish Life Health ‘Runuary’ programme, it gives runners the choice to select a programme that suits their ability and works with the time commitment that they have available.”

There are programme options available for training three, four or five days a week building up to completing a selected targeted distance on Sunday, January 31st. An 8 KM option is the entry point for runners who might have taken on a 5KM challenge during 2020’s months of lockdown. It extends then to a 10 mile or 16 KM mid-range programme and a third building up to completing 31 KM over two days by the end of the month.

Entry is free of charge and runners can sign up at

“The Irish Life Health Runuary programme is just one of a number of ways we’re supporting people to embrace a healthier lifestyle overall,” said Irish Life Health Head of Marketing Liz Rowen.

“Running has been such a great stress reliever for so many people this year. So, we’re delighted at Irish Life Health to continue to support the entire running community around Ireland and help them have a positive start to a healthier 2021 with Runuary.”

The brand will also be running a Healthy Steps Challenge with the GAA as part of its Healthy Club initiative.

“We are delighted to be rolling out this Runuary programme with Irish Life Health who have continued to support athletics in Ireland throughout the challenging year that has been 2020,” said Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland.

“The past eight months have highlighted the importance of us all being physically active for both mind and body. This programme offers our members and the wider running public the perfect opportunity to get 2021 started on the right foot.”


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