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Two-Thirds of Runners lace up to Boost their Mental Health


65% of regular runners are motivated to go for a run to improve their mental health.

53% of runners are motivated to go for a run to be out in the fresh air and in nature.

78% of parents who run regularly feel they are positive role models to their children and an example to them of how exercise improves mood.  

Over two-thirds of runners, are motivated to lace up and go for a run because of the mental health benefits experienced according to research results revealed today as part of the launch of the Irish Life Health Festival of Running. The event on Sunday 28th of July will bring the elite and every-day runner together in a celebration of running and athletics. Organised by Athletics Ireland, the festival will include a 1 Mile Fun Run for children and a 3km Run in Santry Park with all races finishing on the home straight of the track in Morton Stadium before the start of the Irish Life Health national track and field championships.

Healthy Minds

Speaking at the launch Performance Psychologist with the Sport Ireland Institute and Olympian Jessie Barr commented: “Running is the perfect way to decompress and let off some steam, providing a welcome distraction from daily hassles. Research has found that engaging in just 20 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety for several hours post-exercise.”

Marketing Director of Irish Life Health Liz Rowen said: “Irish Life Health is committed to helping people stay healthy and well and we are delighted to support the Festival of Running as a new event in our sponsorship programme with Athletics Ireland. There is an incredibly strong running community in Ireland with over 300,000 adults running regularly. This research has confirmed for us how important physical activity is to mental health and hopefully will encourage more people to get out and run.”

Green Therapy

The research also revealed that half of those who run regularly are motivated to go for a run to be out in the fresh air and in nature with Psychologist Barr adding: “Just 5 minutes of running in a green space can positively affect your self-esteem and your mood, which is great for those of us who don’t like to run for very long periods of time! Personally, since I have hung up my competitive spikes, I have really enjoyed going for easy runs outside and being among nature, so I would encourage runners of all abilities to sign up for the 3km run which will take place in the woodland of Santry Park.”

Positive Parental Role Models

Olympians Rob and Marian Heffernan and their youngest children, Regan and Tara were also on hand to launch the event.  Marian stated: “As parents we need to serve as role models to our kids, to be a positive influence for them. It is important to me that my children know that the benefits of being active both for the body and mind by seeing it in our everyday lives.” This is supported by the research conducted, with 78% of parents who run regularly stating that they feel they are positive role models to their children and an example to them of how exercise improves mood.  Olympic medallist Rob added: “Having fun together while being active is really important too and we are looking forward to taking part as a family in the festival in the beautiful surrounding of the Santry Park.”

Festival Family Fun

Hamish Adams of Athletics Ireland said: “We are delighted to bring the Irish Life Health Festival of Running to our national track and field championships. All those who take part in the 3km and family Mile will get to experience the excitement of finishing on the home straight of the track. All participants will receive free entry to the national championships so they can see Ireland’s top athletes compete for national titles. There will also be plenty of trackside family fun entertainment including a Fanzone to meet and greet the athletes.”

Enter on-Line  

Register on-line for the Irish Life Festival of Running , entry for the 1 Mile Fun Run is €5 per child, 3k Race is €10 per person, or family pass at €20 for two adults and two children. All entrants will receive a goodie bag and free entry into Irish Life Health Senior Track and Field Championship.

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