An enterprising Laois venture called Bogathon has the chops for encouraging team building and physical conditioning.
The owners of Lisduff Adventure Farm near Errill, Co Laois, have sparked up a new venture they call Bogathon that has literally taken a field and turned it into an obstacle course that will whip teams into shape.
Ideal for fitness and wellness enthusiasts who have taken part in competitions like Hell and Back, the Bogathon venue is an all-year-round affair where 10 acres have been turned into a gruelling challenge that has been used so far by everyone from GAA to corporate teams to army troops from the nearby Kilkenny barracks.
“Our Bogathon course is a fun mud run consisting of obstacles and fun activities through muddy bog terrain. It is over 5km and has 70 obstacles. It takes over two hours to complete”
The course, which officially opened in 2002, includes bog holes, rope climbs, a man-made pond, hay bale obstacles, tyre obstacles, and pits filled to the brim with sludgy peat from the nearby bog.
Founder Rosaleen Dwyer said that the business is looking to expand its customer base nationwide.
“Our Bogathon course is a fun mud run consisting of obstacles and fun activities through muddy bog terrain. It is over 5km and has 70 obstacles. It takes over two hours to complete.”
Upon arrival participants fill in a wavier and receive a wrist band. “They then head to our dressing rooms which are fully heated. When they are ready to go the instructors get a group picture while they still look clean and are given a full safety debrief and then a warm up session.
“The warm up session consists of games and exercises each tailored to the current group. Once they have finished the course they then head to our outdoor heated showers and get dressed. In our restaurant we offer food to anyone who wishes to avail of it. We have a tuck shop also.”
Dwyer is also the proprietor of Lisduff Adventure Farm and this encompasses five crèches, a pet farm and a play centre.
“I’m very stubborn and determined which might not be the qualities you need in an employee but it’s necessary when you want to work for yourself. I love being my own person, making my own decisions and making my own mistakes (which is daily, every day is a learning day). I have four children that keep me going, I love new ideas and following through on them often deemed as impulsive and different in my approached and ideas. I’m not sure if this is an entrepreneur or just me.”
A key factor in Dwyer’s evolution as an entrepreneur was the support of Laois Partnership which offer her a course with Blaise Brosnan.
“This offered opportunity of networking with other business and valuable approaches to improving revenue and businesses supports.”
As well as being supported by Bank of Ireland, Dwyer received a LEADER business grant for €150,000.
Dwyer’s advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to not always listen to the naysayers. “Always trust your gut even when people advise against your ideas, Believe in yourself even when people doubt you, always surround yourself with capable people that want the very best for you.”
Her advice for fellow founders is just as apt for those who attempt the Bogathon obstacle course. “Never give up, work hard, believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams no matter what anyone says.”
Main image at top: Fitness instructor Ian Martin with Bogathon founder Rosaleen Dwyer. Images courtesy of The Farmers Journal