On Sunday, May 11th 2014 at 12 noon at the INEC, Killarney – the Glenflesk GAA Club will host a world record attempt at the most people to take part in a 1km welly run – that’s 5/8th of a mile in old money !
So, get your wellies on and help smash the Guinness World Record for the largest wellie run.
I have no connection whatsoever with the Glenflesk GAA Club but, upon seeing their ambitious target felt that any world record attempt in Ireland is a cause worth promoting. Ok, ok, in my murky past I do admit to have played Gaelic Football. And I firmly believe that the smaller rural clubs are the heart and soul of the GAA, so when a small, community-based club with a loyal and dedicated following like Glenflesk try to do something like this, I believe everyone should try to get involved – especially in terms of turning up on the day and being able to say, “I was a part of that world record” at Glenflesk.
Three themes are running here (pun intended) and they are :-
a) the Glenflesk GAA Club
b) Wellington boots
c) a brisk, invigorating run (or a gentile, leisurly walk) through a short section of the beautiful National Park near Killarney, Co Kerry – one of the most picturesque areas in Ireland
Glenflesk is a small, rural village just southeast of Killarney, Co Kerry. The inhabitants enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains including the Paps, Crohnane, Mangerton and the world famous McGillicuddys Reeks with Carrauntoohil – Ireland’s highest peak standing at 3,414 feet high. With a landscape and scenery like this, it comes as no surprise that it was almost €450,000 will be granted to fund a proposed “international standard” mountain biking trail close to Glenflesk.
Glenflesk St Agatha’s GAA Club was founded in 1951 and plays intermediate football in the East Kerry League. Achievements include :-
- East Kerry Senior Football Champions: 1988, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001
- Kerry County Club Champions: 2000
- Kerry Minor Football Champions (with Spa): 1982
- Guinness World Record 2014 ???
The club logo includes St Agatha’s parish church and Flesk Castle. St Agatha’s Church, built c. 1860 iin Gothic Revival style. Flesk Castle was built in the early decades of the 19th C and is also known locally as Glenflesk Castle or Coltsmann’s Castle. A gentleman by the name of Daniel C. Coltsmann was in possession of Flesk Castle at the time of Griffith’s Valuation when it was valued at £50. Lewis (in his famous Topographical Dictionary of 1837) records it as the seat of J. Coltsmann and it continued in the Coltsmann family and their descendents until the early 20th century when it was sold to Major John McGillycuddy. In 1943 the Irish Tourist Association survey noted that “its tall fantastic turrets dominate the countryside”. It was then in the possession of Anthony McGillycuddy.
Wellington boots are a type of boot based upon leather Hessian boots, as worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington – most famous in Ireland for helping the Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829 pass through parliament.Although born and raised in Ireland, Wellesley apparently didn’t like being called an Irishman – famously being quoted as saying “being born in a stable, doesn’t make one a horse”. Interestingly, Wellesley himself also holds a record – as the most decorated soldier in the history of the British Army.
The Duke of Wellington instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James’s Street, London, to modify the 18th-century Hessian boot and the new boot was fabricated in soft calfskin leather, had the trim removed and was cut to fit more closely around the leg. The heels were low cut, stacked around an inch (2.5 cm), and the boot stopped at mid-calf. It was suitably hard-wearing for battle, yet comfortable for the evening. The boot was dubbed the Wellington by his troops and the name has stuck in English ever since
This novel “Wellington” boot became a staple of hunting and outdoor wear for the British aristocracy in the early 19th century. Wellington boots are also known as rubber boots, wellies, wellingtons, topboots, billy-boots, gumboots, gumbies, gummies, rainboots, gavin’s, and Alaskan Sneakers.
The current world record for a “welly run” is (ironically) held by a city in Alaska. It involved 1,976 participants and was achieved by the City of Ketchikan, in Ketchikan, Alaska, on 18th May 2013. A gentleman by the name of Tyler Nutter won the race.
Wellington boots were at first made of leather but in 1852 Hiram Hutchinson met Charles Goodyear, who had just invented the vulcanization process for natural rubber. Goodyear decided to manufacture tyres, Hutchinson bought the patent to manufacture footwear and moved to France to establish À l’Aigle (“to the Eagle”) in 1853, to honour his home country. The company today is simply called “AIGLE”, “Eagle”).
In mid-19th C France, almost 95% of the population were working on fields with wooden clogs and when the wholly waterproof, Wellington-type rubber boot – it became an instant success: farmers would be able to come back home with clean, dry feet. Irish farmers were just as pleased and they are the ubiquitous symbol of rural Ireland. We might drive different types of car, we might play different sports, we might not even be farmers … but we ALL own a pair of wellies !
I will post a picture (or two) of a Wellington Boot every day from now until the 11th of May, when the World Welly Run takes place.
Follow me on Twitter @GAA_Corner.
World Record Welly Run
I’ve done a quick bit of research and it seems that this is a very popular event, with lots of places throughout the world trying to bring home a new world record for racing in wellies. With wellies being the footwear of choice for most farmers in every country in the world, the competition is fairly hot. I don’t have any winning times so, obviously, this is a participation and family fun event.
2010 – Ballybrit, Galway, Ireland
1,300 participants (YouTube)
2012 – Lincolnshire, England
2013 – Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
1,976 participants / winner: Tyler Nutter
2014 – Glenflesk, Co Kerry, Ireland
2,000 participants (target)
Most, importantly, turn up on the day and take part in this world record attempt !
Wear your club or county colours and make it a great GAA day out.
Everyone is welcome and all ages can join in.
and they have just produced a welly music video – youtu.be/zWSVM5PzV4Y