Offaly’s Mark successfully completes Spartan Challenge

The 2012 SPAR SPARTAN Challenge drew to a close on Monday October 29th, Mark Egan from Ferbane, along with 25 team mates, completed a personal challenge to train for and complete his first marathon.

The 2012 SPAR SPARTAN Challenge drew to a close on Monday October 29th, Mark Egan from Ferbane, along with 25 team mates, completed a personal challenge to train for and complete his first marathon.

Each county in the Republic was represented by a marathon novice of varying age and ability and, with the support of SPAR and their team of experts, Mark completed the Dublin City marathon in 3hrs 58min. The team ran between them a staggering 11,000 miles in training and shed over 33 stone in weight.

Mark’s achievement is in stark contrast to the exercise habits of the nation, as research conducted by SPAR revealed that over one third of the population has never run a distance of 5 miles at any stage of their life and 6% never exercise at all. SPARTAN Peter Fitzgerald from Clare completed a incredible 750 miles in preparation for the marathon with the group averaging 420 miles. The fastest finisher from the group was Brendan O’Donoghue from Kerry with a time of 3hrs 4 min, and the groups average time was an impressive 4hrs 8min.

The 26 marathon novices were guided in their preparation by fitness guru Karl Henry (Operation Transformation) and nutrition expert Paula Mee who spearheaded the campaign. They have also taken part in a Chi-running workshop by former Olympian and triple marathon winner Catherina McKiernan.

Having been judged to have most fully embraced the challenge Edmund was named King of the SPARTANS 2012 and won a holiday for two to New York.

Karl Henry, spokesperson for the campaign, said, “Once again our SPARTAN’s stepped up to the challenge and achieved what many of them never thought they could. I’d like to congratulate Mark and the entire SPARTAN team for their dedication over the last number of months and am sure now that the aches and pains have subsided that they’ll be eyeing up their next challenge.”

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

Commenting on the SPAR SPARTAN Challenge, Suzanne Weldon, Marketing & Communications Director, BWG Foods (owners of the SPAR brand in Ireland) said: “On behalf of SPAR I’d like to congratulate the entire SPARTAN Challenge team on completing the Dublin City Marathon and achieving their lifelong dream.

“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. For us it’s a really meaningful approach to sponsorship as people aim to get out and get healthy during these tough economic times. The SPAR SPARTAN challenge is the ultimate for fans of leisure walking, jogging or 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.”

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 suicide prevention 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.