Ciaran Haren January 2019 Blog

23 January 2019

Ciaran Haren January 2019 Blog

As the ambassador for SPAR in the upcoming Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, I can thank/blame them for motivating me to begin running properly when I signed up to do the SPAR Craic run back in March 2018. 

Prior to that I have had spells of running that have never lasted long due to lack of interest, time and motivation.  My job for SPAR involves a lot of driving as well as the temptation of tasty hot food in the 20 plus stores that I look after so I finally decided it was time to take control of my health and fitness!  And so my journey began…




Following the SPAR Craic 10K, I started to participate in my local Waterworks parkrun and found that running with a group of people helped me to focus on running and meant I always had a challenge to beat my previous time.  I have always been quite a competitive person, thanks to playing too much Mario Kart in my youth (!!) and this helped me to gradually improve as the weeks went by.  I completed my first parkrun in a time of over 28 minutes and as I built up my fitness, I had brought this time down to under 21 minutes.  This focus on running and my general health has helped me tone up, become a lot fitter and more importantly feel good about myself.


The opportunity to apply for the Experiment 26.2 Group program via SPAR was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.  I have always had a desire to run a marathon but was afraid of not finishing it due to poor training, nutrition and not having the proper guidance and support.  I was worried in advance of meeting the group at the Jungle NI but this was a great way to break the ice and reassured me that everyone was in the same boat.  The group have all been very supportive of each other, engaging and eager to share their own experiences which has put my mind at ease.


I have decided to run the marathon in aid of Action Mental Health and hope that any contribution I can make to their great cause will benefit people out there who suffer from mental health issues.  In 2018 I was involved in a massive search operation for a local North Belfast man who had went missing and had subsequently taken his own life.  I witnessed the sheer goodwill and generosity of the local community who all came together to support and this was a very touching moment for me.


The generous support from the sponsors has aided and supported with my training so far.  I had never taken any vitamins or supplements prior to this but the goodies from Framar Health seem to be working well for me so far – never in my life did I think I would be taking beetroot juice!  Thanks to Better Gym Belfast, I have been able to make use of the great facilities at the nearby Grove Leisure Centre which will come in very handy during those cold and wet nights when I’d rather stay indoors than get out and run.  I am also looking forward to getting my Adidas kit from McKeever Intersport at Rushmere Shopping Centre. 


So far, I have signed up to run the SPAR Craic 10K, Titanic 10k, Stroke Resolution Run and SPAR Omagh Half Marathon.  For anyone that knows me, they know I am a lost cause when it comes to remembering upcoming events so this has forced me to use my phone calendar and become more organised!  These competitive events will surely help in the buildup to the marathon and give me a great indication on how good my training is going so far. 


I would like to thank the organisers of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon for giving me this opportunity and I will see you all at the finishing line….