HUNDREDS of students from Thurles’ Presentation Secondary School donned their runners and t-shirts under blazing sunshine on Thursday to take part in an 8km fun run organised by the school, celebrating Thurles being this year’s European Town of Sport.
Some 630 students and 50 staff trained for weeks in advance, in a fitness programme designed by the school’s PE Department.
Starting shortly after 11am, gardaí directed traffic for the run, with athletes taking in a circuit from the gates of the Presentation School on Mitchel Street, via Kickham Street, the Dublin Road, Drish Bridge, continuing on to Kyle, Rathmanna, Tonogha, and on to Galboola Cross. With the mercury nearly hitting 20c degrees, students and staff made it on the Mill Road reaching the roundabout at the junction of Kickham Street, finishing two hours later back at the Presentation School. Thurles town Gardaí, Knights of Malta, and staff members driving lead cars were on hand to help with water stops and first aid where required. Principal Marie Collins thanked local gardaí especially for their co-operation in organising the event.
PE teacher Henry Flynn said the students had been preparing for the event for at least six to seven weeks, running after school, and working out in the gym attending “Zumba” and PE classes. Henry, along with Mary Ryan, Lorraine O’Keeffe, Edel Maher, Elaine O’Dwyer, and Aine Staunton, have been coaching the girls in advance of the big day. “We wanted to do something that would tie in with Thurles being this year’s European Town of Sport,” Henry told the Tipperary Star. “The fact that we have six PE teachers means sport is very important to the school anyway. We have every kind of sport going: basketball, camogie, soccer, football, hockey; there’s equestrian, running, athletics. There’s something for everybody.”
“We had decided before the mid-term that it was going to take place. We’re running a scheme in the school we call Pres-Activate. And it was just to get everyone active, tieing in with this being the European Town of Sport. The Run is the culmination of all that. As part of the Pres-Activate, we introduced the idea of ‘bleep tests’ for the First Years,” said Henry.
Bleep tests are used to gauge a person’s overall level of fitness. Participants run continuously between two points 20m apart from side to side. As the test proceeds, the interval between each bleep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep up with the recording. “We were testing levels of fitness, something we wouldn’t normally have done,” continues Henry. “But we wanted to see an improvement in the girls over time. We’ve been going for six or seven weeks at this.”
Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.