Kilcormac ‘Spartan’in marathon mission

SPAR Spartan Jean Donnelly from Kilcormac has completed a ten mile race in preparation for the Dublin Marathon.

SPAR Spartan Jean Donnelly from Kilcormac has completed a ten mile race in preparation for the Dublin Marathon.

Jean was chosen to represent Offaly in the 2011 National Lottery Dublin Marathon having won the popular vote in the SPAR Spartan challenge. Jean completed the gruelling 5 mile run in a time of 1 hour and 13 minutes.

The next race Jean and the 26 strong team of Spartans will take on is the National Lottery half marathon on September 17 followed by the Dublin marathon on October 31.

The 26 Spartans are being guided in their preparation by fitness guru, Karl Henry (Operation Transformation) and nutrition expert, Paula Mee who are spearheading the campaign.

Those who wish to follow Jeans’s progress, training runs and blog updates can do so via the website www.spartanchallenge.ie or by visiting SPAR’s Facebook page.

The website also includes motivational, fitness and nutrition videos from the expert panel and will be updated weekly with new content so that anyone can follow the programme.

The Spartan that receives the most support votes and is judged to have most fully embraced all aspects of the challenge will win a trip for two to New York to spectate at the New York City marathon on November 6. Vote for Jean by logging onto www.spartanchallenge.ie.

Karl Henry, spokesperson for the campaign, said: “The Spartans are beginning to reap the rewards of their hard work, setting personal best times nearly every week. They are still in the building foundation phase, preparing for the big miles to come, but so far so good, they are going to set some great times in the Dublin city marathon.”

Commenting on the selection of the SPAR SPARTAN Challenge team, Suzanne Weldon, SPAR Marketing & Communications Director: “On behalf of everyone at SPAR I would like to congratulate Jean on completing the 10 mile race and wish her all the best for the half marathon in September. The SPAR Spartan challenge really is the ultimate for fans of leisure running. Completing a marathon is a massive goal and ambition for many people and through the Spartan challenge we aim to make that goal a reality for people from all around the country.

“At SPAR we’ve been successfully promoting leisure running in Ireland over the past number of years through our support for events including the Dublin Marathon, SPAR Great Ireland Run and the Join SPAR and Ray for 5k initiative last Spring. For us it’s a really meaningful approach to sponsorship as people aim to get out and get healthy during these tough economic times.”

SPAR also aims to drive awareness and support for its charity of the year the 3Ts – Turning the Tide of Suicide. The 3Ts aims to heighten awareness of the problem of suicide in Ireland and to raise funds to help lower suicide rates through a dedicated helpline ‘1 Life’ (Free phone 1-800-24-7-100), research, educational support and intervention. The 1Life service is provided through a partnership involving the 3Ts and Console.