This week over 1,360 children in Gaeltacht schools around the country, including over 300 in Connemara have started preparations to run a marathon over the course of the coming weeks.
Oved the next eight weeks, these kids will be running greater and greater distances at their schools in the Maratón na bPáistí.
They will run a specified distance around the school yard four days a week, increasing the distance every week until they have run a full marathon, 42.2km.
Each day they run they will also follow lessons where they learn about the physical, mental, educational and social benefits of being active.
Children will run the final mile of Maratón na bPáistí on Thursday 10 December, when they will be awarded special medals and t-shirts.
This project is being promoted by the Gaeltacht Irish Language Planning Officers, in conjunction with Marathon Kids Ireland.
They devised the programme and have been running it successfully in Dublin schools for five years. This is the first time the programme is being run outside of Dublin.
Majella Ní Chríocháin, Language Planning Officer with Pobal Rua in An Cheathrú Rua said they’re delighted with the level of participation seen, but not surprised.
“We have over 150 children involved in the programme locally and it is a wonderful opportunity for them to become fitter, more confident and to learn about the importance of physical activity,” she said.
The kids will also come to learn how jogging and running improves their ability to learn, to socialise and to be part of the community.
“This is a fun activity which all children, regardless of their level of fitness, can take part in and enjoy.”
From a language planning perspective, it provides an opportunity for children to socialise and engage in activities in Irish in the school yard, with their friends and classmates.”
“We wish all of the children taking part the best of luck, go n-éirigh go geal libh!”