The gong has sounded. The councils have nodded. The Election is coming.
It’s time for the presidential hopefuls to warm up in preparation for the starting gun. Canvassing is not for the fainthearted and any businessman/president/Senator worth their salt, who wants a place on the great podium in The Park, would be best to invest in some PT sessions. Or at the very least do a Couch 2 5k.
They don’t need to look too far for tips. The current batch of elected representatives in the Dáil have led with a greater example than the most influential of fitness influencers on the ‘gram’. For, along with our so called ‘New Politics’, we now also have New Politicians. And they’re partial to a bit of cardio.
Cigar smoking, silk shirted, ortolan eating chaps won’t garner much momentum on Instagram these days. A new and improved formula is being tested amongst the ranks of ‘Team Politics’. And, if anything is to be learned from this new breed of politician populating the Dáil, it’s that anyone who intends to run for office might be best to do just that. Run.
Our current Taoiseach is leading by example. In fact, he started this fit approach to politics many years before he took poll position. He knew that the race to the top was a marathon not a sprint. Varadakar was doing ‘Hell and Back’ adventure races long before he took up jogging with Trudeau. One doesn’t simply just get up of a morning and go running with another world leader. There is a training plan involved. The last thing you want is to be out of breath when casually engaging in political chit-chat during a Park-Run.
Leo’s recognition of the value and importance of exercise in helping an individual become their best selfie is not one held by him alone. The merits of exercise have been extolled by Drs and scientific researchers for many years. There exists a wide selection of TED Talks online to support this view. (TED, for those who may be unaware, is a platform that allows academics and personalities of note to use their thesis to talk down to us in a light-hearted way.) But no research can make a greater case for the value of a good workout than the Taoiseach turning up to Brexit negotiations in his gym gear.
The next time you find yourself doing a mud run have a good gawk around. If you spot a presidential candidate scaling an 8ft wall before successfully dodging through ‘sniper alley’, they may be The One to watch. Maybe check and see if they stop to give someone a leg up or are they stomping a muddy foot on someone’s head to get over the wall first. And then decide which characteristic you deem to be more presidential.
As we all know there is no ‘I’ in team and Leo isn’t the only one promoting treadmill politics. Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, has also been known to dip is toe in. Last October, while Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, was in Ireland, Murphy brought her sea swimming. In fairness if you’re going to be discussing climate change you are probably best to throw yourself in at the deep end.
Fit politicians (the physically fit that is) are not exclusive to Ireland. The aforementioned Trudeau has a penchant for yoga along with his love of jogging with Taoisigh. The Telegraph has reported on Theresa May’s ‘gruelling workout regime’ stating that the PM uses “heavy resistance training, weight-lifting and squats” to keep her fighting fit. While being interviewed on Australian radio show Triple M, Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball, said he was partial to Pilates. (Slightly disappointed it wasn’t surfing. Can you imagine the ‘Insta’ hits you would get riding the crest of that political wave?) And, as we all know, Putin is partial to some bare-chested horse-riding. Tump enjoys a round of golf, but Newsweek has reported that “he prefers to take the golf cart between holes” as opposed to walking. The shortest distance between two points comes with a steering wheel.
Maybe we could do away with the idea of a Presidential Election altogether and replace it with a season of Irelands Fittest Family -The Presidential Special? The ‘Hang Tough’ session would be enough to identify who amongst them has any real staying power. And the bog run would be good for the giggles if nothing else. The Go Pro cameras on their helmets giving you an insight into their true temperament-or even just a gawk at their nose hair
And, be honest, who wouldn’t love to see Davey Fitz screaming at Sean, Gavin and Joan to get up that hill, while we all secretly route for the resident President.