Cobh To Have First Parkrun In Cork County

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cobh is to become the first location in Cork County to host a junior Parkrun, following the backing of the Municipal District for the introduction of the free fitness phenomenon.
Parkrun is a global programme which involves a free weekly 5km timed walk or run in parkland, for all ages and fitness levels.
The HSE supported programme will be led by volunteers, with runs planned to take place at the Tech racetrack each Saturday or Sunday which are geared towards families with children aged 4 to 16 years.
Founder, Paul Sinton Hewitt, came up with the concept in 2004while unemployed and nursing an injury. Today, Parkrun is held across 1300 locations internationally.
1.5 Million people are registered for the fitness circuit, with 100,000 taking part weekly.
Cllr Sinead Sheppard gained support from the majority of Councillors on Tuesday (3 April) to hold a junior event in Cobh, as well as a commitment of €3,000 towards the initial start-up cost of €6,000.
The Fine Gael Cllr said “it is something which will get families more active away from technology and connected with outdoor activity.”
Each participant is chipped electronically every week so that families can go online and plot their progress.
Cobh Olympic Silver Medallist, Sonia O’Sullivan, is set to return to her home town next month to launch the junior park run.
Independent Cllr Diarmaid O’Cadhla said that, while the plan is “admirable”, he couldn’t support the request for funding.
He said by taking €3,000 out of the town’s paid parking dividend, Cllr Sheppard was looking to “bypass funding requests from other organisations who went to the effort of submitting plans for a share in short resource (community grants)”.
Executive Officer, Padraig Lynch, said he would be happy to provide the one off funding subject to proof of spending if the majority of Cllrs were in favour.
Mr Lynch said he was cognisant that the group had missed the deadline for the Community grants, and the paid parking dividend was the only fund suitable for the scheme.
He continued by saying that an allocation through the Town Development Fund was not warranted, as there was no economic benefit accruing from the programme.
Cllr Kieran McCarthy said he was “supportive of anything that can get kids out of the house and active.”
Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry agreed saying “with that level of professionalism where kids see how they make improvements, it’s something to which we should be supportive. Within a family you could have a competition on who’s making the most improvements week on week.”

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