Participants in the Great Erris Run are encouraged to go for a post-race dip in Belmullet Tidal Pool (bottom right) or one of the many deserted sandy beaches on the Mullet Peninsula – adding 'blue exercise' following the 'green exercise' on land. The Great Erris Run takes place on August 10 next.

Great Erris Run promises all the benefits from both green and blue exercise in Mayo

To mark the bicentenary of the town of Belmullet, the Great Erris Run has been organised to get the community of north Mayo out into the great outdoors.

Taking place on Saturday, August 10, the five- and 10-kilometre challenge, which will become an annual event, takes in the concept of ‘green exercise’ or training within nature. Health benefits include lowered blood pressure, reduced stress and a positive effect on mood.

Because the route takes in a magnificent part of the Erris coastline, with views of Broadhaven and Blacksod bays – against the backdrop of the mighty Achill Island – it also provides ‘blue exercise’. Runners are encouraged to bring their togs for a post-race dip in Belmullet Tidal Pool or one of the many deserted sandy beaches on the peninsula.

Belmullet Tidal Pool was recently included in the ‘66 most beautiful and culturally significant sea pools from around the world’ in Christopher Romer-Lee’s book Sea Pools.

Healing powers from sea air and salt water has long been documented. Laden with important trace elements such as iodine and magnesium, which help regulate muscles and nerve functionality, the sound of the sea is also said to balance your circadian rhythm, hence allowing better sleep.

It also aids better breathing as sea air has a higher salt content than regular air, making it thicker. This helps clear your throat and respiratory system, and anyone who has swam underwater will be well aware of the great nasal cleansing a salty dip provides.

Training outside also increases our intake of vitamin D. An Oireachtas report from 2021 recommended every adult in Ireland should start taking supplements due our remarkable levels of deficiency, marked most in the over 80s, where 64% percent are deficient, while 47% of those aged between 18 and 39 lacked the vitamin.

While our Irish climate may not provide many hours of direct sunshine, the body can still synthesise vitamin D on a cloudy day. The vitamin helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body – nutrients required to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

August 10 marks the opening of the Belmullet festival week, and the Great Erris Run is open to everyone over 18 (for insurance reasons). Entry is €32, including booking fee, which includes a T-shirt, medal and post-race refreshments.

In preparation for the race, operated by local gym M Fitness, organisers are starting a run club on Sunday mornings from July 14. Open to all abilities, the free club run will offer both runners and walkers a chance to have their questions answered at the chat and coffee afterwards where trainers and coaches can advise on challenges of the race.

“It’s all about pacing yourself with proper warm-ups, and we can advise on everything from frequency of training and footwear to proper breathing methods and smart watches,” said Michael Doocey, MD of M Fitness, adding: “The terrain for the Great Erris Run is really what sets it apart as it's flat, so it’s great for novices.”

The 5k and 10k routes both start at Broadhaven Bay Hotel. Visit here to book your place on the run.