Athletics Ireland and Waterways Ireland have announced a new strategic partnership, which will promote physical activity on the more than 1,000km of trails and facilities across the Waterways Ireland system.
This partnership will see a range of Athletics Ireland programmes, including Fit4Life and The Daily Mile, avail of Waterways Ireland facilities to help promote improved levels of fitness, health and wellness across all ages in a fun and sociable environment.
Hamish Adams, CEO Athletics Ireland, has run several of the canal systems and towpaths, which he described as ‘second to none’. “Athletics Ireland shares a vision with Waterways Ireland to get people moving and we want to encourage the nation to utilise the incredible facilities on offer across the Waterways Ireland system,” the Athletics Ireland CEO said.
Waterways Ireland manages, maintains, develops and promotes more than 1,000km of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes. A key focus of Waterways Ireland is to inspire more people to discover and enjoy recreational activities on the inland waterways, and to explore these rich environment and heritage attractions.National Marathon champion, Mick Clohisey; Waterways Ireland head of marketing and communications, Sharon Lavin; and CEO of Athletics Ireland, Hamish Adams pictured at the launch of the new strategic partnership.
Sharon Lavin, head of marketing and communications, Waterways Ireland said: “Waterways Ireland is delighted to launch this strategic partnership with Athletics Ireland. For Waterways Ireland, the partnership is an ideal opportunity to encourage people to see inland waterways as a fitness and recreational opportunity for them, and through the programmes developed, they will learn skills to help them stay fit and healthy for life.
“Waterways Ireland has seen a huge increase in the number of recreational and tourist users on and along all our waterways in recent years and with the provision of our Blueway and Greenway trails, we have now created even more opportunities for people to try new recreational activities. This partnership allows Waterways Ireland and Athletics Ireland to join forces in promoting the health and wellbeing and social opportunities that are available in the great outdoors. We look forward to growing this partnership.” Further information on available routes can be found at www.bluewaysireland.org
European Junior hammer-throwing medallist, Michaela Walsh was on hand with Athletics Ireland National Children’s Officer, Kieron Stout and HSE Tobacco Free Campus lead, Miriam Gunning to launch the ‘Smoke Free Sport’ initiative as part of Athletics Ireland’s commitment to the HSE National Tobacco Free Ireland Strategy (2013-2025).
“I am delighted to be part of this initiative on behalf of my sport. Athletics should be a safe healthy place for children and young people to participate and making it smoke free will go a long way to making that happen,” said Michaela.
One of the main actions in this Government Strategy is the promotion of tobacco-free campuses for sporting facilities in order to protect young people from the dangers of exposure to tobacco smoke and denormalise tobacco use for the next generation.
Athletics Ireland has committed to creating Tobacco Free Sport at its championships and national events to help improve health and wellbeing and to play its part in the achievement of the overall Tobacco Free Ireland target – a reduction in smoking prevalence to less than 5 per cent of the population by 2025.
“We are delighted work with the HSE to support our clubs in becoming smoke free anywhere children or young people gather to enjoy sport. Athletics is playing its part to help achieve the reduction in smoking prevalence target set out by the Government,” said Kieron Stout.
The Smoke Free Sport initiative is being rolled out to all Athletics Ireland clubs nationwide in 2019 and will include education through the Irish Cancer Society’s XHALE programme, information signposting at mass-participation events and support for clubs through the HSE’s QUIT service for its members.
“The decision to become a smoke-free sport is an important step towards achieving a tobacco-free Ireland. We know that young people are hugely influenced by what they see and hear. We know that adults around them are powerful role models for both negative and positive health behaviours. Making the commitment to become a smoke-free sport sets an example for the younger generation of athletes and their supporters,” said Miriam Gunning.