Further enhancing the stellar suite of options presently available within Athlone Regional Sports Centre, an outdoor fitness park encompassing a wealth of family laden activity choices, will be unveiled to the public on Monday (September 21 ).
A timely unveiling with the need to maintain positive mental health and wellbeing as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the outdoor fitness park cost approximately €1m to construct with Monday realising the culmination of phase one of the project.
A purpose built outdoor space situated on the grounds of Athlone Regional Sports Centre it is expected that the outdoor fitness park will prove popular within the community with a vast array of activities certain to attract exercise enthusiasts of all ages.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Athlone Regional Sports Centre Manager, Liam Cunningham, noted that plans to develop such an outdoor fitness park facility were initially mooted a decade previously with the fruition of phase one of the project a welcome addition to the centre.
“It was our intention to fully develop the lands in proximity to the centre with the aim of encouraging persons of all ages to become fitness aware. What we have developed is an all inclusive hub of activity with numerous fitness options certain to appeal to the general public,” Liam asserted.
Free to use, the outdoor fitness park boasts an attractive array of features most notably two impressive trails certain to please the casual walker and runners who wish to avail of a gradient laden 5km jaunt.
“Incorporating two trails, the outdoor fitness park will attract walkers and runners alike. One trail is 1.5km in distance, has a flat surface and will be conducive for use for walkers and parents strolling with prams.
“The second on site trail comprises asphalt and golden gravel, is 2.5km in length, has a number of gradient features and will prove popular for those runners who wish to enjoy a 5km route,” Liam added.
Outdoor gym equipment also dots the outdoor fitness park which is complete with interval metre markers to ensure family safety.
For younger children, a pedal karting area will soon be installed with use of the existing playground perennially available, while for teenage family members, the construction of a half basketball court, two five a side football pitches and a climbing pyramid net is certain to add to the fitness park’s popularity within the community.
“In conjunction with a number of local groups, we are presently in the process of developing a sensory garden for those with intellectual disabilities and it is a space which we hope to populate further in the coming times,” Liam continued.
Eager to involve senior adults within the fitness park, a space afforded to playing petanque (French boules ) has been created.
Athlone Regional Sports Centre has appointed Gary Flannery as its new Head Running Coach and the experienced trainer is primed to host a number of programmes for walkers, joggers and runners of various abilities.
“Now available for booking such programmes are designed to promote a health and fitness ethos and will be launched in the coming weeks. The programmes, entitled, Runners Reset, Strong Seniors, Can’t Run, Won’t Run, Run for Fun and Advanced Running will appeal to individuals who wish to return to running ways or boost their present potential.
“Now, more than ever, individuals need exercise for their personal mental wellbeing. Individuals must return to a regular routine with exercise a vital component in assisting positive mental health in such challenging times,” Liam stated.
Phase two of the fitness facility will see the creation of an outdoor functional training space and obstacle course area. Both of these areas have been fenced off, cabling installed and the Sports Centre hopes to complete this stage of the project in the not too distant future.
The outdoor fitness park has been financed through funding from the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, Westmeath County Council and Athlone Regional Sports Centre.
“Athlone Regional Sports Centre has invested over €225,000 into its outside facilities over the last 18 months as it is essential that we, as a fitness facility, enhance our community ethos and aim of enticing more individuals to become active while also contributing commercially to the running costs of our business.
“Each euro of profit generated by Athlone Regional Sports Centre is returned to the benefit of the business, ensuring the provision of a fitness facility which a community the size of Athlone and its environs deserves,” Liam emphasised.