Irish Life Health has launched a new Family Mile Challenge with Athletics Ireland, encouraging families to continue to be active together.

Research has shown that parents play a really important role in their child’s participation and enjoyment of sport. They can support their children’s interest in sport by being role models themselves encouraging healthy movement with them.

By running together as a family on the 26th & 27th of June, parents can celebrate the joy and simplicity of being active together as a family. The weekend challenge coincides with the Irish Life Health Track and Field national championships which will be the last opportunity for Ireland’s elite athletes to secure Olympic qualification.

“I am really looking forward to competing at the national championships,” said Olympian Thomas Barr. “When I started the sport of athletics at 8 years of age, I tried every discipline, and it took me a long time to find one I was good at.”

“I really did not make any performance of note until I was 18. Just before that, I was seriously thinking about giving up, but my parents encouraged me to keep going, to commit to just one more year and be patient. As my career progressed, they have been a huge emotional support. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today without their support and encouragement.”

“Research has shown that parents who are encouraging, promote higher levels of physical activity in children,” said Dr Phil Kearney, lecturer in Skill Acquisition, Coaching and Performance at the University of Limerick.

All movement matters

“And as we come out of lockdown and lives get busier again, family exercise may fall by the wayside. But all physical movement matters so families should try to keep that good habit in place especially when you consider that only 17 per cent of primary children and 10 per cent of post-primary children meet the National Physical Activity Guidelines of at least 60 minutes activity each day.”

Olympic Marathon runner Lizzie Lee was also at the launch, and she will be running with her three daughters.

“When you are juggling lots of things, it can be hard to find time to be active, but it is possible and remember you are being a role model to your kids and helping your own physical and mental health too,” she said.

Research has found that children from families where both parents exercise regularly are almost six times more likely to be active than children from families where neither parent is active”.

“The mile is a manageable distance even for the smallies. And they will feel a great sense of accomplishment in finishing it. And there is a collective challenge too to see if all the miles clocked by families on that weekend can match the average mileage covered by an Irish International marathon runner in a year of 4,000 miles”

Entry to the Irish life Health Family Mile Challenge is open today and is free of charge at

Families who take part who are members of Athletics Ireland could also be in with a chance of winning a training session with Thomas Barr for their local athletics club.

“We are genuinely committed to supporting people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and being physically active and of course, the first important step in that journey starts in childhood<‘ said Liz Rowen, Head of Marketing at Irish Life Health.

“This challenge will hopefully support both parents and their children to be active and have fun together.”

“We must thank Irish Life Health for their continued support in helping us to promote the sport of athletics across Ireland,” concluded Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams.

“In the last 18 months alone the support of Irish Life Health has directly impacted on over 280,000 individual people through Athletics Ireland run initiatives. We are delighted to launch this Family Mile Challenge to encourage and motivate people to stay active and healthy.”


Athletics Ireland is one of the more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.


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