This year’s #TheBigRugbyRun will take place virtually this Saturday, May 22nd, with funds raised going toward initiatives run by Tackle Your Feelings, a mental health and well-being programme run by Rugby Players Ireland.

Now in its second year, #TheBigRugbyRun aims to connect the grassroots of the Irish rugby community together following an extremely challenging season for clubs and their members.

This year’s event is being organised once more by the PSA Academies team, headed by Johne Murphy and Graham Ross, with the support of Rugby Players Ireland (RPI), Zurich Ireland and the Z Zurich Foundation, and it is hoped that it will build upon the success of last year’s event, which saw over €60,000 raised for Feed the Heroes by 117 teams made up of 1,700 runners from all four corners of the country.

This year’s event format will once more see each registered team committing to running the 42-kilometre distance of a full marathon – all while carrying a rugby ball.

The distance can be completed as a relay, by teams of between 2 to 21 members of all ages. Teams have their own fundraising pages, and will also be able to log their individual times, with each relay squad also able to compare their overall run times to others in their category.

The need for a focus on mental well-being in Ireland is starkly apparent now more than ever due to the long-term negative impact of Covid-19 on the nation’s mental health – an issue that is becoming more and more apparent across the ages and demographics.

This has been highlighted even further by research recently commissioned by Rugby Players Ireland and carried out by iReach Insights, with 25 per cent of 25-34-year-old respondents stating that they had taken sick leave during lockdown because of their mental well-being. 49 per cent of participants noted that their mental well-being has diminished since the outbreak of Covid-19, while 40 per cent are unsure how they should manage their mental well-being.

Funds raised by #TheBigRugbyRun 2021 will go towards training up and fully equipping each represented club with a dedicated Tackle Your Feelings ambassador – a person that anyone in the club can go to for advice, support and help. Specific Tackle Your Feelings programmes will be rolled out by RPI with each club to ensure volunteers, coaches, and teammates are equipped to help support anyone who is facing a challenging situation while working towards building and maintaining an environment that encourages and supports positive mental wellbeing.

“#TheBigRugbyRun 2021 marks the end of the ‘normal’ season but it will also reconnect club members who have been apart for some time,” said Graham Ross, CEO pf PSA Academies.

“We’ve invited the Irish rugby community to come together again – both virtually and socially distant – to raise vital funds for another critically important cause at the end of another lost season. We are grateful for the support of our partners and look forward to seeing everyone out running, with a rugby ball in hand, on May 22nd.”

This year’s run is open to all ages and abilities, from Minis rugby up to retired veterans, and teams can find out more about the event and how to register via where teams will pay a flat €50 team registration fee. All participating underage teams will also be entered into a Grand Prize Draw to win a selection of #TheBigRugbyRun merchandise prizes, signed by some special friends of RPI, TYF and PSA Academies.


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