World Heart Day will be held on September 27 this year, and to help celebrate the day, and help build awareness of the importance of a healthy heart, Athlone Regional Sports Centre has teamed up with the Advertiser and Precor Fitness to run the inaugural World Heart Day 5k Family Fun Run/Walk.
Liam Cunningham, general manager of Athlone Regional Sports Centre explains the reason behind the 5k Family Fun Run/ Walk.
“The idea of the event is two fold. One is to create awareness of a healthy heart and do something active on the day. The other is to help raise some money for both the Irish Heart Foundation and St Vincent’s Hospital in Athlone to help buy some cholesterol testing units for their Mental Health Group.”
The theme of the race is The Run that’s Fun for Everyone. “Ireland has unfortunately high levels of heart disease. We want to encourage people to do something active on World Heart Day. They can walk the 5km distance with their friends or family or if they are fitter, run the 5km distance. Indeed, families are invited along with children from as young as eight years of age allowed enter.”
Cost to enter the race is €15 per adult and €5 per child with sponsorship cards also available. Those who raise €50 for charity will receive free entry to the race.
Every entrant will get a free goodie pack which will include race t-shirt, fruit and drink. There will be free tea and coffee after the race in the café at the sports centre. The fruit is very kindly sponsored by Mark Lennon of Northgate Street while the tea/coffee and biscuits are very kindly sponsored by Mary Nagle of An Caca Milis at the Sports Centre. After the race participants will be allowed a free swim or a relaxing dip in the Jacuzzi, sauna, or steam room.
Tanya Comber from the Irish Heart Foundation explains the importance of the event: “Each year around 10,000 people die from cardiovascular disease, and half of these deaths are from sudden cardiac arrest. With 70 per cent to 80 per cent of all cardiac arrests occurring in the home, we are trying to improve survival rates through bystander CPR training.
“Funds raised for the Irish Heart Foundation from the Athlone 5km race will go directly to support our lifesaving CPR for Schools Programme. In Co Westmeath almost 450 students received our CPR kits in 2009,” she added.
Registration forms can be downloaded from www.irishheart.ie/athlone5k or by contacting the Sports Centre directly on (090 ) 6470975. People can pay by Laser card or cheque in the post or pay by cash/ Laser/cheque at the Sports Centre. Sponsorship cards can be sent out to race goers or collected from the Sports Centre.
Liam encourages the readers of the Advertiser in Roscommon, Galway, Westmeath, and Offaly to take part. “I think 5k mis a feasible distance for many people. So I encourage people to say ‘Yes I will do something active on the day’ and they will not only help themselves but also raise money for two worthy charities. Encourage a friend to take part with you so you can enjoy the walk or run whilst having a chat along the way. It will only take an hour out of your day but it is a significant hour that will help others.”