International middle distance athlete John Travers was on hand to launch the Forest Feast Fit4Youth programme in Santry’s Morton Stadium recently.
The Forest Feast Fit4Youth programme is aimed at youths aged 12-19 who would like to get fit in a fun, non-competitive environment.
The programme has been developed by former Irish international athlete Geraldine Nolan, who launched it with great success in her local club Kilkenny City Harriers in 2013.
Since then it has extended on a pilot basis to a number of clubs and now the plan is to extend the programme nationwide.
John Travers was in Morton Stadium with Dunboyne and Lusk athletics clubs in attendance to encourage them to get out and exercise.
The evening consisted of a Q&A session with Travers followed by a warm-up, drills, a one-mile run on the track and a cool down.
Every participant then got a T-shirt and a goody bag.
“It was a good evening to encourage people to get up off their feet and exercise and know it doesn’t have to be competitive whether it’s a walk or a jog,” said Travers who is a member of Donore Harriers.
“Athletics can be a good way to get fit while also pursuing other activities. It was great to talk to the younger generation in Dunboyne and Lusk and hopefully give them a lifelong love of just getting out running and enjoying it.
“Aside from competition, running for me is a stress reliever and an outlet to get out in the fresh air and be sociable. It’s a great way of meeting new people home and abroad.”
Kay Gilmartin, one of the leaders of the Dunboyne Fit4Youth group, said she was delighted with the day and the initiative.
“We all really enjoyed the evening, and it was great for our members to run in the Stadium,” she added. “As a means of keeping teenagers involved in Athletics, we hope that Fit4Youth will continue to be successful in Dunboyne, and that the number of Fit4Youth groups will increase throughout the country.”
The aim of the programme is to build up to a 5km run while fostering a positive attitude to health and fitness that will become a life skill.