Meet the Dublin run club focused on fun, fitness and friendship – Sole Mates


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In Dublin, there’s a new weekend hangout that’s gaining traction that doesn’t involve going to the bar.

Aoibhinn Raleigh had no idea how many people would show up for the “actually for beginners” running club, Sole Mates, when she started it at the beginning of May. After just four weeks, the newest running club in Dublin has over 100 strangers join them for weekend runs, and the group has nearly 3,000 Instagram followers.

Making friends comes first at Sole Mates, according to Aoibhinn, and running comes second. Every weekend, they choose a different part of Dublin to meet for a 5k run, followed by coffee.

According to Aoibhinn, who spoke with Dublin Live, the demand for Sole Mates has been “crazy” ever since it launched, and she thinks Dubliners are looking for novel ways to interact with one another and take better care of their bodies.

I did not expect it to take off like it has but there’s such an appetite for it. It launched at the start of May and it has taken off. Last weekend was our biggest one yet, we had over 120 people at it.

Aoibhinn Raleigh

While some participants come to run, their primary goal is to socialize. Despite only having completed four runs, it’s clear that the same individuals return each week, meeting and reconnecting afterwards.

Aoibhinn also added that meeting people this way is much more pleasant than going to the pub. People seem to be craving this kind of interaction, especially with so many friends leaving for other countries.

There are also no restrictions. While it might be awkward to approach strangers in a pub, it’s perfectly acceptable at Run Club, which, according to Aoibhinn, makes it really pleasant.

Moreover, she has made it a top priority to ensure that Sole Mates is user-friendly and accessible to everyone. Although fitness has always been a significant part of her life, she understands that it can be intimidating for many, especially running in a group.

She wanted to create something very simple. The 5k run includes a run/walk group at the back, maintaining a conversational pace of 7-9 minutes per kilometre.

Many people pause, relax, and take breaks. Everyone stays for coffee at the end of a very laid-back and easygoing morning.

The 5k might take 30 minutes, but participants usually stay for two or three hours.

Aoibhinn emphasized that there is no pressure and that anyone is welcome to attend Sole Mates. Her message for prospective members is that the group is focused on meeting people and engaging in light physical activity.

The pace is conversational, and there isn’t any pressure. Participants are free to run or walk the entire distance. No one is ever left alone at the back, making it very inclusive and convenient for all.

She further added that this isn’t a professional sports team; it’s a social group working together to lead healthier lives.

A great impact on Dublin’s social scene

As Sole Mates continues to grow, Aoibhinn remains committed to maintaining its welcoming and inclusive environment. She plans to incorporate more social events and activities into the club’s offerings, ensuring that members feel connected not just during runs but also between them.

Her belief in the power of running as a catalyst for friendship and personal growth has struck a chord with many Dubliners. By providing a low-pressure environment where everyone can run at their own pace, Sole Mates is making a meaningful impact on Dublin’s social scene.

The club’s focus on friendship and inclusivity sets it apart from other running groups and fitness communities in the area. Furthermore, the camaraderie experienced during group runs can help individuals push past their comfort zones and achieve personal goals.

Sole Mates also offers a safe space for runners to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs with one another.

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