Irish Mountain
Running Association

IMRA, business and social media...

Conor MurphyMar 13 2023, 10:10amI posted on the IMRA (unofficial) Facebook group yesterday about businesses advertising there. I suggested that they either donate to IMRA or have a track record in volunteering. A number of posters agreed, a couple commented that it seemed reasonable.

The mods didn't like it!

One mod, who I think is on the IMRA Committee, challenged my own record. I pointed out that I set up the Munster Trail Runners group with 2,500 members organising weekly runs, all free. We have promoted IMRA as an organisation, IMRA races and volunteering for 6 years - recently 26 had entered a race that got 33 last year, we pushed it and over 100 turned up. I think anyone in Munster IMRA would agree that I have been a positive influence.

Another mod said they would run the Facebook group as they see fit. I suggested that a page bearing the IMRA name should be run in the interests of IMRA.

My post was deleted and I was blocked.

Now, I'm not getting too wound up about a row on the www. Frankly my wife is delighted and is already finding jobs to fill in the 10 or 15 minutes a week I spent pushing people to volunteer and enter races. It's just disappointing that our social media promotes businesses looking for votes against an IMRA race for a recent award, or looking for volunteers for a commercial race that clashed with an IMRA race, and bans a member for questioning that and promoting volunteerism. Athletics Ireland and the Fell Runners Association take a completely different approach to private ventures and social media. It just seems like poor governance on our part.
Conor McElroyMar 14 2023, 9:32amBlocking a member from the IMRA FB page, if done in the manner described, is concerning - Can we have a response please?
Warren SwordsMar 14 2023, 9:39amIMRA does not have a Facebook page.

The page is literally called "IMRA Unofficial site."
Laura FlynnMar 14 2023, 10:10amConor, I didn’t see the posts so I’m not aware what the issues are but I’m fairly sure that your request for a response here not is the correct approach. The Facebook page is and always has been an unofficial IMRA site. While it’s clearly IMRA matters that are discussed there, the committee has no responsibility for anything posted there or for its administration.
Conor MurphyMar 14 2023, 2:29pmWe all know there is no way Athletics Ireland would have Committee members running an unofficial AI group where they say they can do what they like, and ban AI members for suggesting that commercial events make a contribution.

I know trail running here is a small world and the lines between the national organisation, commercial events and social media get blurred. And I appreciate everyone works voluntarily, I won't be writing long letters or raising motions at meetings and demanding lengthy policies. I'll take my ban, so be it. I just think in dealings with business and in controlling social media, IMRA can do better than this.
Miriam MaherMar 14 2023, 11:19pmHi Conor

Thanks for your forum message. I'm responding, from a committee perspective, to clarify some aspects raised in your message here.

The Facebook group 'IMRA (unofficial site)’ is not our social media page. We have our Instagram account, @irishmountainrunning, set up for the purposes of all official social media posts on behalf of IMRA. The content on that account/page is moderated and posted by IMRA members on behalf of the committee. While many of us actively post and comment on the 'IMRA (unofficial site)' FB group page too, mostly about IMRA related events, it is not administered or moderated on behalf of IMRA. So the committee doesn't have a role and doesn't look to have a role in controlling content or actions taken in that group.

This website remains our official source of updates and information relating to IMRA events and activities. Even the Instagram account is secondary to that and was just set up to widen the reach and knowledge of IMRA beyond those that accessed the website.

In relation to non IMRA events, the only commercial link we have is with AAI. However, we welcome, support and are happy to collaborate with all hill, mountain and trail running ventures in whatever way they are organised in Ireland. Many, if not all, of those involved in the various different hill and trail running ventures in Ireland are also active volunteers within IMRA. We all benefit from this cross over which occurs up and down the country, whether an organisation is volunteer led, like IMRA, or organised in any other way. We don’t see a conflict of interests occurring that would cause concern or require any special measures to be put in place.

But, feedback on this forum is always welcome. And I think we are of one mind about the importance of promoting and encouraging volunteering within IMRA. It is a constant theme of our forum posts and social media messages and it’s a message we think is worth making often. We will soon be sharing some new web based initiatives recently developed on foot of motions agreed at the last IMRA AGM which will highlight the levels of active volunteering within IMRA.

It really is great to see the growth of interest in the outdoors in recent times, be it IMRA related or otherwise. It is especially great to see the development of new races and leagues this year with the North West League due to take off. Loads to be celebrated and more importantly, enjoyed!

If you want to follow up directly with me on any of the above, you can contact me by emailing - And, of course, as an IMRA member you are always welcome to submit a motion on this or another matter at the AGM.

All the best

Conor MurphyMar 15 2023, 12:57pmThank you so much for your long and detailed response. That was very considerate of you. Ultimately, it’s probably time to draw a line under all of this and move on...

1. I think your email highlights the problem. IMRA should not need to explain that a platform with the name IMRA, run by IMRA committee members, who slate an IMRA member for his contribution to IMRA has nothing to do with IMRA, so the mods can indeed do as they see fit, in their words. And that the platform with the name @irishmountainrunning which doesn’t contain IMRA in the title at all is in fact the IMRA platform. As I said, there should be better control of IMRA social media.

2. No, I won’t be writing long emails about this or raising motions at meetings! I’ve been on enough committees now to know how it works, the wagons get circled. And ultimately it’s a bit of a storm in a teacup. I’m sure IMRA will continue to grow without my input...Pól O’Murchú clearly felt it didn’t amount to much anyway (though again I would ask that IMRA contact the Munster reps, I hope they’ll say I made a positive contribution, if they say I was useless I’ll be morto!). I won’t change my view that big businesses that look to IMRA for participants and volunteers should contribute. I’ll take the ban by IMRA committee members from the platform that bears the IMRA name and stand over the points I make about bad governance. The time spent persuading me that I’m wrong about either issue, unofficial IMRA social media or businesses using IMRA would be far better spent if you discuss amongst yourselves how to improve on this stuff in the future.

But thanks again, I do appreciate the courtesy.
Peter O'FarrellMar 15 2023, 2:54pmSpeaking of IMRA and business but not so much about the social media, how and why did IMRA get to a place where we have races which cost €70 to enter?

If the volunteer model can't put a race together for €25 then maybe that race shouldn't be run.

Lianne van DijkMar 15 2023, 4:22pm@Peter Farrell I'm sorry but I have to comment on this.

This clearly is about the Beara Way Ultra - a 100 mile (!) race where for €70 you get many well-stocked aid stations, a hoodie, a nice finish line AND trackers (I'm probably forgetting something). The organisers are going above and beyond to put together an event that will be enjoyed by many, charging way less than others while providing more than most.

Even doing a route like this self-supported would set you back more than €25 (I've tried). This is not your typical short Saturday morning race and I for one am very grateful that there are race directors and helpers who are willing to put a lot of time and effort into what is currently IMRA's only 100 mile event. I feel like they don't deserve comments like this.
Raymond CumminsMar 15 2023, 4:42pmI have to agree 70 Euros is a steal. I did a 100 miler last year with nowhere near the amount of support and friendship you get at races at home, and it cost me £195, and this is for a lot of us on our doorstep.

IMRA races are incredible value. We are so lucky to have so many people to volunteer and give up their own wish to run.
Gaelan ElliffeMar 15 2023, 8:18pmFrom what I have seen IMRA has a great voluntary, not for profit ethos and overall has a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

This is something to be championed. While difference in opinions and directions will likely occur. I think people should strive to be nice and courteous to each other.

From afar, thats my two cents. Try not to get personal, I believe everyone wants the same thing.
Patrick KissaneMar 16 2023, 12:31am70 euro is absolutely nothing for a 100 mile race. In fact, it's actually too cheap in my opinion. It's only a tenner more than the Wicklow way race from last year I believe.
Eoin Mac MahonMar 16 2023, 8:46am0.41 euro a km for Beara is the bargain of the century
Brendan LawlorMar 16 2023, 9:30amI love it when one forum spat morphs into another..!
Stuart ScottMar 16 2023, 9:48amEoin, you might be on to something there. 41c per km would be a great charging structure for all IMRA races :-)
Michael McSweeneyMar 16 2023, 10:28amStuart and Eoin,
Would the extra couple of k tacked onto the end of a '10km' race be free?
Warren SwordsMar 16 2023, 10:39amGood point Michael.

As well as a jacket, people need to have 41 cent, in exact change, as part of their mandatory kit from now on. This is to cover any extra distance you may run intentionally or not. Your freeloading days are over.
Peter O'FarrellMar 16 2023, 12:13pmThere's a literal cost barrier to entry when races cost 70 or 80 euro.

I went online here to enter a race sometime last year and of the 6 races in the shop there was only only one that was 7e to enter - thankfully that was the one I was doing.

The others ranged from 25e upwards. I was surprised at the time but didn't want to get into a forum post as people are acting in good faith.
This is around the start of a new year and costs in general are on everyone's minds. Now is the time to discuss the how and why of an association that had a very basic cost structure now has races with large entry fees.

People have passionately defended a 70e IMRA race and obviously it's a brilliant event with an excellent team involved in IMRA's core purpose - promoting and organising the sport of mountain and trail running. My apologies for seeming to pick on one event. It's not about any one Ultra. It's about all of the IMRA races which have high prices.

Obviously there are arguments to be made for certain safety features such as trackers, which add cost for a definite addition of safety.

My basic point does remain the same though.

There's a literal cost barrier to entry when races cost 70 or 80 euro. My viewpoint is that IMRA's core role is promoting hillraces and maximum promotion should include minimum cost to enter.
Mícheál O'MullainMar 16 2023, 1:30pmIMRA in my view offer fantastic value in their races.

I wonder has consideration been given to having an additional column in the race results showing the number of times a person has volunteered? I appreciate it's on everyone's profile page but it would put it up in lights.

There are many who have shamelessly ran well in excess of 10 races and have never lifted a finger and in my view it's an injustice to all the RDs and to the other volunteers including the IMRA committee who all give up their time to keep the show on the road
Andrew MendelsonMar 16 2023, 1:54pmThere's a 100 miler in the woods of Tennessee right now that costs $1.60 and a numberplate to enter. IMRA should consider taking a leaf....

Yours etc.

Seriously, 70 Euro for a 100 miler is insane value. If you put your mind to it, you could consume that in aid station flat Coke and Haribo.
Brendan LawlorMar 16 2023, 2:12pmMícheál O'Mullain, those suggestions were debated at the last AGM and will be implemented soon.
Andrew HanneyMar 16 2023, 3:15pmI've had communication from the committee on the proposals I brought to the AGM on raising awareness of volunteering. Changes are in hand and will be delivered in the near future.
Mícheál O'MullainMar 16 2023, 3:53pmThanks for the responses Brendan and Andrew. Fair play.
John MurrayMar 21 2023, 12:54pmI have to agree with Peter, there is a lot of races on the calendar with higher entry fees than normal.

IMRA is a Non-profit organisation.

Yes the races are still good value when you compare them to COMMERCIAL races, but that is not what IMRA is about. IMRA is not a commercial entity and should never be compared in that way.

IMRA's role is to promote and encourage mountain running throughout the island of Ireland without discrimination of gender, age, religion, social background or financial status as a few examples. It should always be run in a way that is inclusive of it's full membership as best possible.

Naturally the finances of the association have to stay healthy to ensure it's role in promoting this sport can continue year after year.

At last Novembers AGM, although a hard copy of the accounts wasn't presented on the day to the membership it was noted however that IMRA's cash in Bank at the time was circa €77,000. I believe this figure did not take into account any cash in other bank accounts from any regional branches like IMRA Munster, so I think it would be fair to say that the true financial status of IMRA is good and healthy.

€70 may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but to others it becomes a deciding factor on whether they can have an attempt at that 100 mile goal or not. It's up to IMRA to ensure that barriers of entry are reduced for it's complete membership as best possible.

In the case of this Beara 100 mile event a simply way to lower costs for people would be to make Hoodies / T-shirts and any other memorabilia an optional purchase in the shop. Not everyone wants these extras and those that do can simply purchase separately.

Yes, the cost of trackers in some events are a worthwhile expense in terms of H&S for race directors so would be of the opinion that these are not optional.

Just my opinion.
Niamh O'CeallaighMar 21 2023, 9:35pm@Conor
Back to the original topic. I fully agree with you.
The IMRA committee needs to distance itself from this unofficial Facebook page. I felt very badly treated a couple of years ago by a mod of the page. It had a significant negative impact on my wellbeing at the time.
If it is really unofficial, then it needs to BE really unofficial.
I have nothing against the general fb page and it is often full of good info and mountain running related chat, but I do think that the committee either needs to take on responsibility for it or completely step back from it.
Conor MurphyMar 26 2023, 7:35am"It had a significant negative impact on my wellbeing..."

IMRA saying it has no control over the social media that carries its name and mods who say they can do what they like isn't good enough. And the runners that contacted me all agree on that.

Now, they are all Munster runners. And we have our own Facebook page, clearly titled "Munster IMRA", no dancing on the head of the "official/unofficial" pin. Afaik it hasn't banned any runners or harmed any member's wellbeing.

And if a regional organisation can manage it, it should not be beyond the national organisation.

But more importantly than all of the foregoing...sorry to hear you were hurt by your treatment Niamh. And I hope the mods and/or IMRA said that too.
Richard NunanMar 26 2023, 10:52amHi Conor,

While you seem to be dragging this thread to the bottom of the sea on a Sunday morning, can you please take the time to direct your energys elsewhere where it being beneficial. We are already having to deal with the clocks going forward and the pain of yesterdays super events, MMU and Clonmel.

I am sure people would have a preference for their well being to be reading what amazing events they were and waking up sore from their success yesterday. Rather than re-visiting this thread.

Niamh, Mary, Diarmuid, and Cormac have been legends of IMRA for a very long time so we would of course speak to them if there was a concern.

It would be great now if we could all move on now as IMRA have made their stance known in this situation and its not going to change until November 2023 at the AGM should some issue be raised ! Now that we have a long stretch lets make the most of it and get back on the hills and get off the keyboards !
Conor MurphyMar 27 2023, 5:43pmThanks for the reply Richard...though I'm puzzled by some of the points.

In relation to "dragging the thread down" I started the thread when I was banned from the Facebook group for saying big businesses should contribute to IMRA if they use IMRA for advertising and volunteers. Niamh said decisions by the mods affected her wellbeing. There are other threads for the MMU and Clonmel. I'm sure Miriam, Laura and the Committee are well able to handle our polite criticism of IMRA's social media AND change their clocks!

I won't raise this at an AGM. I think it would be futile. Plus people can scroll past posts here, I won't force the matter by motions.

I'm glad to hear IMRA intervened in Niamh's situation and all was resolved between her and the mods. I also think IMRA was right to step in. I don't know when policy completely changed to the non interventionist approach noted by Laura above, judging from your post that could only have happened at an AGM, but I think it was the wrong decision.