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The Runner – The Masochist



– noun

1. gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed 
on oneself, either as a result of one’s own actions or the actions of others, esp. the 
tendency to seek this form of gratification.

The act of turning one’s destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself.

How do you define someone who runs in solitude? What kind of pleasure must they get from this seemingly needless, pointless, aimless hobby? Why would they submit themselves to such arduous tasks? 

It’s 6:30am. The darkness still appears to be in its prime. The warmth, comfort and security of bed, makes the idea of getting up almost impossible. The runner, shuns these pleasures, and instead chooses to get up. They get primed, hydrated and insulated. Armed with reflective jackets, they leave their humble abodes and take to to the roads, seeking some kind of self gratification. To others, these habits are grotesque. Others might consider, one day, I might do that, but inevitably find reasons not to.


It’s 7am, and the runner has left his home. The initial shock of the cold air rasping against his lungs, the pain of each breath taken in, makes the runner themselves, contemplate their decision to abandon their warm caring beds. Knowing that they are now too far gone to turn back, they continue.

The darkness heightens their sense of awareness of their surroundings, conscious that these roads possess various dangers. The runner is fully aware that at any moment, a car could speed along the road, caring not for the helpless runner out on their morning jog. Regardless, they continue.

After 10 minutes, their muscles begin to loosen up. The runner, still struggling with their breathing due to the harsh, unforgiving cold air, begins to find their rhythm. Each step feels easier than the last. The runner reassures themselves that their sacrifice will eventually pay dividends. There will arise an opportunity where they can showcase their new found fitness. Satisfied that the ends will justify the means, they struggle on.

Half an hour has passed, and the runner is halfway through their routine. Conscious that their pace must result in at least 10k during their hour of torture, they pick up the pace. It’s easier now; they have become acclimatised to their surroundings. The crusty rime of frost now begins to glisten on the road as the dawn begins to emerge. They comfort themselves now, knowing by the time most people are pressing snooze for the first time, they will have an intense workout completed.x

On the run home, the runner’s mind is at ease. They can pass their neighbours homes, noticing that lights are slowly beginning to be turned on. As the idle are wiping the sleep from their eyes, the runner is wiping the sweat from their brow.

Each step is slowly being accompanied by a jolt of pain. The lactic acid has begun to take hold. This is the challenge the runner has been waiting for. Determined not to succumb to the pain, they push themselves harder. The pace has been increased from a brisk trot, to a spritely canter. The pain intensifies with each step. This separates the men from the boys. They are now entering the final few turns which lead to their home. The canter suddenly becomes a gallop. The pain is now excruciating. They drive for the finish. This last gasp effort will be worth it; at least that’s what they keep telling themselves. This is what separates the men from the boys. The small hill leading to their front gate suddenly becomes their Everest. As the gag reflex tries to take hold, the finish line is in sight, one final effort and the goal will be achieved. With all their energy which is left, a final intake of air is breathed in and the aching muscles are asked to put in one final effort. The finish line draws ever closer and just as their energy expires, they have completed their goal. A few minutes are taken to assess their achievement. Once done, a sudden sense of satisfaction is realized. They had pushed their bodies to the limit and were satisfied.

Many question their merits. What point to this numb self sacrifice? The athletics world is filled with many talented athletes, so their chances of winning a race are extremely limited. They do it because they know they can. They can push their bodies to their limit, feel the burning ache of cramp, and push on regardless. They compete in races, not for the winning or losing, but for the chance to compete on a platform against likeminded, like willed people.

How can one describe this kind of sport? Awards may not be won, people may not even remember or acknowledge the sacrifices they have made, unlike those who compete in many team sports. They push themselves through agony to prove to themselves that they can push themselves to the edge. For this reason, they are masochists.

The definition holds true, “gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted  or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one’s   own actions or the actions of others, esp. the 
tendency to seek this form of gratification”

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IFA Raises Payment Concerns with Dept at Charter of Rights Meeting



Speaking at a Charter of Rights meeting with the Department of Agriculture this week, the IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said it’s absolutely essential that the maximum number of applicants in tranche 19 of TAMS are approved as soon as possible to provide certainty to farmers who are planning to carry out work.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins welcomed confirmation that payment of the ANC balancing payment will commence next week.

He stressed the importance of paying the remaining farmers as soon as they meet their stocking density requirements, which the Dept confirmed happens on a weekly basis.  Farmers will be paid as soon as they meet the required stocking density, which in some cases will run to the end of the year.

Michael Biggins also called on the Dept to pay the ANC to farmers who omitted in error to tick the ANC box on their BPS application this year.  “A system where a farmer has to ‘opt out’ rather the ‘opt in’ would ensure there are fewer errors when submitting applications,” he said.

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe welcomed the payment of the BPS balancing payment which commenced this week.  “The Dept also confirmed the issue around transfer of entitlement, which held up payments of around 1,000 farmers, has been resolved for most at this stage and the remaining ones will be resolved in the next week,” he said.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden has welcomed DAFM facilitation of farmers who made ‘Draft applications’ to BEEP-S scheme and who had operated under the impression they were participating in the scheme by carrying out measures on their farms. IFA had raised this issue directly with the Department of Agriculture and the acceptance of these farmers into the scheme is the right decision.

Regarding the Beef Finishers Payment, Brendan Golden again called for cattle exported for slaughter in the reference period to be paid on from the surplus in the Beef Finishers Payment fund.

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IFA Launches Guide to Personal Insolvency Arrangements



IFA National Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh and Martin Stapleton, Chairman of the IFA Debt Support Service, have launched a Guide to Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIA).

IFA Debt Support Service was established following the last recession to provide specific support to farmers in arrears.

The confidential service is comprised of an experienced team of IFA volunteers working with professional support to provide assistance to IFA members in financial difficulty.

Martin Stapleton said IFA has worked with over 500 farmers over the last few years. While the numbers in difficulty are reducing, recent weeks have seen an increase in activity from vulture funds since the COVID-19 Payment Breaks came to an end.

“This guide is available on IFA’s website and will serve as a useful resource for farmers in arrears seeking to protect their family home and farm land,” he said.

A Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) is a debt resolution mechanism outlined in the Personal Insolvency Act, which acts as an insolvency solution for people with unsecured and secured debt.

Rose Mary McDonagh added that a PIA can provide a debtor with protection from their creditors and on completion, a debtor will return to solvency.

At present, the Oireachtas is considering one of two Bills which will reform the area of personal insolvency and amend the current eligibility requirements for a PIA. Rose Mary McDonagh said the definition of relevant debt should be expanded to include debt prior to 2015, and debt secured in or over a debtor’s income reliant/core asset.

The IFA Debt Support Service can be contacted, in confidence, at 1890 924 853.

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EU Must Complete an Impact Assessment of Green Strategies



Speaking after a meeting of European Farm Leaders (COPA) with EU Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans yesterday, IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the EU must complete a full impact assessment of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.

“I told the Commissioner a full impact assessment is needed to determine how much implementing these strategies will cost,” he said.

“Frans Timmermans has threatened to withdraw the Commission’s own CAP proposal if it doesn’t take more account of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Yet he has no idea how much these strategies will cost or who will pay for them,” he said.

“People are quoting all these targets without any consideration for their impact on output or on production costs of farmers. Farmers cannot be left to carry the can on this,” he said.

“We also need Teagasc to do an assessment of the impact in Ireland. We are currently deep in discussions on the Agrifood 2030 strategy, but again we have a data vacuum,” he said.

“It’s incredible that the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture has examined the impact of ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy on farm incomes, output and trade and neither the EU nor Ireland has,” he said.

“The US report predicts that as a result of the strategy, farm incomes would be reduced by 16%. This is as a consequence of the expected loss of production by 12% across the EU which would not be offset by the 17% increase in market prices.”

“If these measures were implemented, the report predicts a loss in output at an EU level which would cause exports to fall by 20% and imports would increase by 2%. The knock-on effect of these changes in trade is predicted to increase the cost of food by €132 per person in the EU.”

“If these figures are correct, they would be devastating for European farmers. Yet the EU Commission doesn’t know, or won’t tell us, what their assessment of the impact will be,” he said.

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