Fun run: Dr Charlie Hew, Father Paul McDonald, Professor Zbys Klichand librarian Denise O’Brien train in the early hours of the morning in the hope of competing in the Gold Coast Marathon later this year.
Fun run: Dr Charlie Hew, Father Paul McDonald, Professor Zbys Klichand librarian Denise O’Brien train in the early hours of the morning in the hope of competing in the Gold Coast Marathon later this year. Jay Cronan

Lismore-based coffee running group

WHAT do a priest, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher and a librarian all have in common?

They don’t hold the answer to a bad joke but they are all involved in a Lismore-based running group that runs around 30km each Saturday morning.

The unnamed group was started eight years ago by three members and since has grown to around 20 people of all ages, fitness levels and professions.

Trinity College physical education teacher John O’Brien was one of the founding members of the group he nicknames ‘coffee drinkers with a running problem’.

“The group originated when one of the members was turning 50 and he wanted to run a marathon in his 50th year,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Now there are about 20 of us with kids around 16 and the oldest being about 60 years old. Everyone runs different lengths depending on what time they start but we generally run between 12 and 30km each Saturday.

“It’s a diverse group of people drawn together by one common thing and who enjoy each others company.

“It’s a social thing as well, we will all be running and talking about the footy at the same time and some people have complained when we run past their house early in the morning talking.”

An average Saturday morning session starts around 5.30am at Love A Coffee on Carrington Street and will complete the ‘O’Brien Loop’ past Mr O’Brien’s mother’s and son’s houses then out to Woodlawn where the ‘young, fast and fit’ will run another 4km to the bridge.

After running the route which picks up various members on the way, the social runners head back to Love A Coffee for a much deserved caffeine hit and start Father Paul McDonald’s ‘recovery period’.

“John kept encouraging me to do some running and I thought I wouldn’t be able to run those distances and I didn’t think I would get very far but now I am running 20km,” Father Paul said.

“Usually I take it easy afterwards for a few hours and have a coffee and that is my recovery period then I carry on with the rest of the day.

“There is a joke in the group that if anything goes wrong we will all be okay because we have a priest and a doctor.”

Apart from keeping fit and social, the group works towards marathons with the next big event coming up on July 3 at the Gold Coast Marathon.



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