Athletics Ireland and its main sponsor Irish Life Health are to host a Festival of Running in Santry as part of this year’s Irish Life National Track and Field Championships.
The festival will include a 1 Mile Fun Run for children and a 3km Run around Santry Park with all races finishing on the home straight of the track in Morton Stadium before the start of the Championships.
In order to represent Ireland at an international level athletes are expected to participate in the National Championships and a major show from potential World Championship stars like Ciara Mageean and Thomas Barr is expected to draw a large crowd to the Championships.
“We are delighted to bring the Irish Life Health Festival of Running to our national track and field championships,” said Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams.
“All those who take part in the 3km and family Mile will get to experience the excitement of finishing on the home straight of the track. All participants will receive free entry to the national championships so they can see Ireland’s top athletes compete for national titles. There will also be plenty of trackside family fun entertainment including a Fanzone to meet and greet the athletes.”
The Festival is a first step towards bridging the gap that exists between those who compete at the very highest level and the 300,000 regular runners who do so for their own many and varied reasons.
Among the most important of those is because of the mental wellbeing benefits that running brings as well as the obvious physical ones.
Over two-thirds of runners are motivated to lace up and go for a run because of those mental health benefits according to research results revealed yesterday as part of the launch of the new Festival.
“Running is the perfect way to decompress and let off some steam, providing a welcome distraction from daily hassles,” said Jessie Barr who travels to Minsk today as part of the support team backing Ireland’s 65 athletes at the European Games.
“Research has found that engaging in just 20 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety for several hours post-exercise.”
“Irish Life Health is committed to helping people stay healthy and well and we are delighted to support the Festival of Running as a new event in our sponsorship programme with Athletics Ireland,” added Marketing Director of Irish Life Health Liz Rowen.
“There is an incredibly strong running community in Ireland with over 300,000 adults running regularly. This research has confirmed for us how important physical activity is to mental health and hopefully will encourage more people to get out and run.”
The research also revealed that half of those who run regularly are motivated to go for a run to be out in the fresh air and in nature.
Olympians Rob and Marian Heffernan and their youngest children, Regan and Tara were also on hand to launch the event.
“As parents we need to serve as role models to our kids, to be a positive influence for them. It is important to me that my children know that the benefits of being active both for the body and mind by seeing it in our everyday lives.”
“This is supported by the research conducted, with 78% of parents who run regularly stating that they feel they are positive role models to their children and an example to them of how exercise improves mood.”
“Having fun together while being active is really important too and we are looking forward to taking part as a family in the festival in the beautiful surrounding of the Santry Park.”
The Irish Life Festival of Running takes place on 28th July. Entry for the 1 Mile Fun Run is €5 per child and for the 3k Race is €10 per person. There is also a family pass at €20 for two adults and two children.
All entrants will receive a goodie bag and free entry into Irish Life Health Senior Track and Field Championship.
Image Credit: Brendan Moran, Sportsfile.