Run in the Dark Press Release Oct 2021



#LockdownIreland Press Release – OCT 29 2021.


For immediate release –


  • 61% of Irish adults say they are now more resilient than pre-lockdown (resilient = better able to deal with tough times at home or in work).
  • Just 40% of Irish people plan to return to their office when lockdown ends.
  • 18% of Dubliners say they won’t return to the office at all – compared to 40% for the rest of the country.
  • Walking was the most popular physical exercise – with 56% of Irish adults hitting the road.
  • A packed Nightclub is top of the to-do list for 38% of 18-24 year-olds, as soon as lockdown ends, while 22% want to go to a live gig. 8% want a new job.
  • 49% of Irish adults want a foreign holiday when lockdown ends.
  • 43% of people say their physical training activity worsened during lockdown.
  • Almost 1 in 2 (46%) males aged 18-24 say their general health and fitness is worse since lockdown (compared to 30% of females.)


SIXTY-ONE percent of Irish people say their level of resilience has improved over lockdown, and claim they’re now better placed to deal with tough times at home or at work.

The #LockdownIreland poll, commissioned by Run in the Dark and the Mark Pollock Trust, and carried out by Bounce Insights, surveyed adults throughout Ireland to gauge their mental and physical wellbeing, as restrictions continue to ease.

Run in the Dark will take place – virtually, for what organisers hope is the last time – on 17th November, and the survey suggests much of the population has turned to physical activity to help them through lockdown, with walking by far the most popular activity.

56% of adults say they regularly enjoyed a brisk walk during lockdown, but the closure of gyms and cancellation of team sports hit others hard – with 46% of males aged between 18-24 saying their general health and fitness worsened over lockdown. Just 30% of females felt the same.

43% of all adults said their physical training activity worsened during lockdown, with many wishing for the return of normal team and individual sports.

Yet, while some say their physical health has suffered during lockdown, on the whole Irish people are coming out the other side in positive form.

61% of adults who said their resilience has changed say they are stronger now than before.

“I’m definitely more resilient now, I think we’ve all been through so much in our personal lives over the last year and definitely learned to deal with it better,” said one respondent.

Another said: “I feel like different things in life matter more now. So, I feel more resilient. I spent a lot of time reading and trying to better understand and improve my mental health and that has been very beneficial and improved my resilience.”

Another respondent: “My priorities have changed I want to have more time for myself and not work, work all the time.”

Work was a hot topic, with just 4 in 10 planning a return to the office – if they are given a choice.

Workers in the capital seem more eager to get back to the grind though, with only 18% saying they will never return, in contrast to 40% in the rest of the country keen to avoid it at all costs.

After-work drinks are a distant memory for many, but going to a packed nightclub is top of the must-do list for 38% of 18–24-year-olds.

1 in 5 want to experience a live music gig again – while almost 1 in 10 are keen to find a new job.

Some people will be happy with a change – but others want a change of scenery, with 1 in 2 of all Irish adults planning to hit the departure lounge as soon as they can, with a foreign holiday top of their list when lockdown ends.

Mark Pollock, founder of Run in the Dark and leadership speaker, said: “It seems that a majority of Irish adults believe that they are more resilient now than they were before lockdown. Few of us enjoyed the experience, but our ability to make it through is likely to stand to us as challenges appear in the future.

“In our work to help leaders and their teams adapt, perform and collaborate better, we point to examples from the extremes of human experiences to learn how people made it through the uncertainty – it seems that we can all do it with the right support.

“In this survey, respondents spoke of learning new techniques to help with their mental health over lockdown, and others said they were surprised by how well they dealt with the situation.

“We remain in an extended state of uncertainty, and we are being challenged to come up with ways of dealing with it. Personally, I’ve been faced with this question twice before, once after losing my sight and again after breaking my back – there are similarities to how I dealt with those two challenges and my approach to this lockdown.

“Sometimes we choose our challenges and sometimes challenges choose us, what we decide to do next is what matters.

“When the challenge appears, we must confront the brutal facts of our current reality, anchor ourselves with a sense of control by accepting that we’ve got options even if they’re not perfect, and finally chart a path towards a better future fuelled by hope.

“In my case confronting the brutal facts means that I must acknowledge that I can’t see, I can’t walk but my arms work, my brain is fully functioning, I’m surrounded by great people, and I have options. To really confront the brutal facts, we must examine the good, bad and ugly reality of what is going on. Perhaps that is what we are all learning during this pandemic.”

On 1 in 2 adults wanting to take a foreign holiday:

“Prior to the pandemic I travelled a lot to work with scientists and technologists around the world on our mission to cure paralysis in our lifetime. The downside was that I had no interest in going to an airport to go on holiday – that has changed! Like 50% of adults in Ireland, I can’t wait to go to the airport again and head off to the sunshine.

On walking as the most popular physical exercise of lockdown.

“Like so many people who got into walking during the last 20 months, I’m back walking in my Ekso Bionics robotic legs again. Throughout lockdown I was handbiking on a turbo trainer in my living room, but it’s great to be up on my feet again. I’ll be joining 25,000 people taking part in Run in the Dark on 17 November everywhere from Sydney to San Francisco.”






Notes to editor:

60 million people around the world suffer from some form of paralysis. Mark Pollock has been bringing people together over the last 10 years to fast-track a cure, including creating projects worth over €15million.

Run in the Dark fuels that mission to cure paralysis, and on 17th November, 25,000 people in 2000 locations worldwide will Run in the Dark to support that mission.

Entry is open until 5th November. People unable to participate can donate at

Entry fee is €32 and the virtual run pack includes:

  • Run in the Dark medal
  • Flashing armband
  • Bandana
  • Time and distance tracking on the Run in the Dark app
  • Online training plans
  • Digital certificate of completion

*No large-scale physical events will take place this year in any Irish location.

Spokespeople available.

For all queries: Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh, Run in the Dark / Mark Pollock Trust 089 2418808

Sign up at

Runners have taken part in Run in the Dark supporting Collaborative Cures

times around the globe

locations around the world in 10 years