Irish Life Health and Athletics Ireland have teamed up to bring a new challenge to the 650,000 citizens who are regular runners or who have taken to the sport during the months of lockdown.

The Irish Life Health Mile Challenge will set out to see which county and club is the fittest and most active across the country.

The week long challenge and celebration of athletics will start on Monday 17th August, the 35th anniversary of when four of Ireland’s top milers, ran a 4×1-mile relay world record.

It will finish on Sunday 23rd August when Ireland’s top athletes will take to the track to compete for national titles at the Irish Life Health Track and Field Championships.

The initiative is part of Irish Life Health’s on-going commitment to athletics, with whom it has been a senior partner either through its own branding or through Glohealth, since 2014.

Take a look back to Sport for Business’ unveiling of Glohealth as main partner of Athletics Ireland on this day six years ago, including a video with a youthful Thomas Barr.

“In a time of uncertainty, running has offered escapism, calmed the mind, and provided a sense of normality for many,” said event ambassador Eamon Coghlan speaking yesterday in Dublin.

“It was especially important for those like my own children who were juggling home schooling my grandkids and working from home”.

Coghlan who was also a member of the 4×1-mile relay world record team added: “The Irish Life Health Mile Challenge is a great opportunity for some friendly county rivalry. I know there are runners all over Ireland who will be keen to clock their mile for their county and to put one over again on us Dubs.”

Runners of all abilities and families can sign up free of charge at AthleticsIreland.ie. Runners simply need to find a flat bit of ground, run their virtual mile, and submit their race online with proof of time and distance.

A four-week online training programme for beginners, intermediate and advanced will be provided by the Athletics Ireland coaching team.

“Training for the Irish Life Health Mile challenge will provide a fresh focus for all runners,” added Andrew Corcoran who earlier this year recorded the fastest indoor time over the mile by an Irish man in six years.

“There is the bonus that if you can learn to run faster over a shorter distance, it will benefit your 5k and 10k times”.

For athletics clubs nationwide as well as contributing to their county’s mileage there is €1,000 in total, on offer for the fastest 4×1 mile relay, male and female. Athletics Clubs could also be in with a chance to win part of a €2,000 equipment bursary, with €500 on offer per province, by downloading and signing up to Irish Life’s personalised health and wellbeing app, MyLife.

“It would be brilliant for all those kids who take part in the Daily Mile in school, which is supported by Irish Life Health, to take part in the Mile Challenge with their family,” said Nadia Power, European U23 800 metre medallist.

“They would have a sense of accomplishment in clocking miles together with their family for their county to see if they can be crowned the fittest in Ireland.”

“We know that this has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone including the athletics community,” concluded Liz Rowen, Head of Marketing, Irish Life Health.

“With the many changes and cancellations to the 2020 competition calendar, we’re delighted to be able to launch the Irish Life Health Mile Challenge”.

Walkers, joggers and runners can sign up for the Mile Challenge at AthleticsIreland.ie.