SPAR: 26 Miles, 26 Counties, 26 Spartans needed

SPAR launched the 2011 “SPARTAN Challenge” to the nation today as it seeks to recruit athletes of all abilities to take part in four events with which it is an official partner – the three 2011 National Lottery Race Series events in the Phoenix Park and the National Lottery Dublin Marathon.

Building on the success of last year’s “SPARTAN Challenge” SPAR are seeking out one representative from every county in the Republic of Ireland to form a 26 strong team of SPARTANS to prepare for and compete in the 26.2 mile marathon on October 31st.

Applications to take part in the SPARTAN Challenge are being sought from walkers, joggers and runners of all abilities from which a team of 26 Spartans will be selected by fitness guru, Karl Henry (Operation Transformation) and nutrition expert, Paula Mee who are spearheading the campaign. Those who want to join the SPARTAN team can apply online via the website or on Facebook along with the reason why they think they should make the team to take on the challenge.

Once the SPARTAN team has been selected, they will receive a fitness programme from Karl Henry, a nutrition programme from Paula Mee as well as full running equipment. When the team start their training, they will blog regularly on the SPARTAN website. The website will also include motivational, fitness and nutrition videos from the expert panel and will be updated weekly with new content so that anyone can follow the programme, even if they are unsuccessful in the selection process.

The SPARTAN 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 6th 2011.

Commenting on the launch of the SPAR SPARTAN Challenge, Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director, BWG Foods (owners of the SPAR brand in Ireland) said:

“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. 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.”

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.

Notes to Editor:

Karl Henry
Karl was born in Dublin on January 12th 1982 and attended St. Michaels College Secondary School from 1989 to 2000. He has been playing sport since a very young age and since becoming vegetarian over 5 years ago he have found an all new level of fitness that has seen him progress into marathon running, ironman triathlons and now ultramarathons.

Karl has a B.S.C from University College Dublin, where he achieved a 1st hons in his thesis on Obesity in Children. He also has a personal training diploma from the American Academy of Bodysculpting and a diploma from the American Council of Exercise.

Karl works with clients who are willing to work hard to achieve their goals. His client base is varied, consisting of business men and women, athletes and celebrities. All of whom are protected by client confidentiality clauses which keeps their training private, which he feels is essential. As well as personal training, Karl does corporate wellness days, lecturing and week long boot camp holidays in any destination across the globe.

Karl has been an expert on RTE’s hit television and radio show ‘Operation Transformation’ for the past five years, where six leaders on each series have lost an incredible amount of weight under Karl’s expert leadership. Viewership of the show has reached over 500,000.

Paula Mee
From Galway, Paula graduated from University College Galway with a BSc in Biochemistry. She then completed her postgraduate qualifications in Dietetics and a Masters in Health Science in Leeds Metropolitan University.

Paula has been awarded a Diploma in Allergy from Southampton University. She has also completed the British Dietetic Association’s Sports Dietician course. She is a current member and a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting was set up in 2004 and offers organisations and industry an extensive range of services in nutrition, product development, and marketing communications. As part of her working week she also operates a dietetic and weight management clinic in the Dublin Nutrition Centre. Previously Paula worked as senior nutritionist in the National Dairy Council. She has also practiced as a dietician in hospitals in Northern Ireland.


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