Over 3,300 Fingal primary school students will run a marathon as part of the MarathonKids Programme, an eight week initiative to increase physical activity among young people. Marathonkids Ireland officially launched their 2019 programme on Thursday, August 28th at Morton Stadium in Santry.
Fingal Mayor Cllr Eoghan O’Brien, Dublin City Lord Mayor Paul Mc Auliffe and South Dublin Mayor Vicky Casserly were all in attendance at the launch along with delegates from Dublin City Marathon, Dublin City Sport & Wellbeing Partnership Programmes (DCSWBP), Dublin City Sports Inclusion & Integration Officer, Fingal County Council Sports Office, Fingal County Council Event Unit, and South Dublin County Sport Partnership (SDCSP).
This is the fifth year the MarathonKids programme has been rolled out in Fingal and the numbers have grown from 800 in 2015 to 3,300 in 2019. Inspired by a similar programme in the US, Fingal County Council Sports Officer Niall McGuirk and MarathonKids Ireland Director Neil Kennedy created a programme that was first rolled out by Fingal County Council before expanding to South Dublin County Council and Dublin City Council.
The MarathonKids programme targets 5th and 6th Class Students who will perform four running sessions each week inching them closer to completing their first marathon as well as learning about the benefits of physical activity through an in-class workbook. The finale will see the students running their last mile and completing the marathon at Morton Stadium in Santry.
Speaking about the programme Niall McGuirk: “I’m delighted with the success of the programme and I believe it should be in every school in the country. I’m delighted that other Local Authorities have embraced it and to have someone of the stature of David Gillick on board will only help to highlight the benefits of getting our young people more active and involved in physical activity.”
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien said: “I’d like to commend the Sports Office for all the work they do to promote Sport in the county. Fingal County Council strives to be innovative and at the forefront of Sports Development and this programme is a testament to that. To have almost half of all primary schools in Fingal involved proves how highly teachers and principals regard the programme."
Over 6,300 students from +100 schools from Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council and South Dublin County Council are going to be involved in Marathonkids Ireland programme starting from Monday, Sep 9th 2019. The programme, which has been running for five years, also features ex-athlete and European Gold Medal David Gillick as their official ambassador.