Launching the Irish Life Health Mile Challenge at Santry Park in Dublin: the master of the mile, Eamonn Coghlan with Irish international athletes, Andrew Coscoran and Nadia Power.
Irish Life Health and Athletics Ireland have teamed up with a very special challenge to mark a very special moment in Irish athletics. The Irish Life Health Mile Challenge will set out to see which county and club are the fittest and most active with an event that coincides with the 35th anniversary of that incredible 4x1 mile relay race, which took place in August, 1985. This one-mile challenge event starts on August 17 and ends on August 23 when Ireland’s top athletes will take to the track to compete for national titles at the Irish Life Health Track and Field Championships.
Launching the event, master of the mile, Eamonn Coghlan, who was among the four record setters in 1985, along with Ray Flynn, Marcus O’Sullivan, Frank O’Mara said: “In a time of uncertainty, running has offered escapism, calmed the mind, and provided a sense of normality for many. It was especially important for those like my own children who were juggling home schooling my grandkids and working from home.” This uncertain time of Covid-19 saw an incredible 250,000 people lace up the runners and get going. And they are being encouraged to keep on running and take part in this challenge, which can be run virtually and free of charge. A four-week online training programme for beginners, intermediate and advanced will be provided by the Athletics Ireland coaching team.
Andrew Coscoran who earlier this year recorded the fastest indoor-mile time by an Irish man in six years, said at the launch: "Training for the Irish Life Health Mile challenge will provide a fresh focus for all runners. There is the bonus that if you can learn to run faster over a shorter distance, it will benefit your 5km and 10km times.”
European U23 800m medallist, Nadia Power said: "It would be brilliant for all those kids who take part in the Daily Mile in school to take part in the this challenge with their family. They would have a sense of accomplishment in clocking miles together with their family for their county to see if they can be crowned the fittest in Ireland.”
- Walkers, joggers and runners can sign up for the Irish Life Health Mile Challenge at www.athleticsIreland.ie and training programmes can be found at www.irishlifehealth.ie
- The virtual event is free of charge. There will be an option to purchase a limited-edition Mile Challenge T-Shirt at the registration stage. The window for submitting a time will open on August 17 and close on August 23. Registration is open from July 1-August 23.
- There is a €1,000 bursary on offer for the club that runs the best 4x1 mile relay with €500 for the best male and €500 for the best female team. There is also a chance for clubs to win a €500 bursary per province by downloading the MyLife App. To be in with a chance to win clubs must have a minimum of 10 runners joining the challenge.
- For most active county calculation, only one mile per person will be recorded. The most active county award will be calculated as the highest percentage of county population that took part.
- In August 1985, a piece of history was made by four Irish runners at the old Belfield track in University College Dublin as Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O'Sullivan, Frank O'Mara and Ray Flynn set the world outdoor record for the 4x1 mile relay in a time of 15:49:08.