(Photograph: Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, Clare County Council; Richie Murphy, Active Ennis Facilities Manager, Caroline O’Halloran, Clare County Council; and Abaigeal Healy, Active Ennis pictured at Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road.  Photo by Eamon Ward)

Three new fitness circuits for walkers and athletes of all abilities have been introduced to the 130-acre woodland at Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road. 

The Fartlek Interval Training System features colour-coded posts located throughout the woodland, with each one dictating relevant programmes and exertion level guides.  The new system has been delivered with funding of €10,000 received under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme with an additional €10,000 being funded by Clare County Council.

Fartlek, a Swedish term meaning “speed play”, is a form of continuous interval or speed training that allows the athlete to run at varying intensity levels over varying distances.

Meanwhile, funding has been provided through the Healthy Ireland Fund towards the provision of three all-terrain wheelchairs, two of which are based in Active Ennis John O Sullivan Park, Lees Road and one in Active Kilrush Sports Complex.  Known as Mountain Trikes, the wheelchairs enable people with disabilities to tackle challenging surfaces with confidence and safety.

Mayor of Ennis Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy said, “The importance of these new fitness circuits and mountain trikes for all age groups cannot be emphasised enough and this investment in our recreational facilities ensures even more opportunities for members of the community to benefit from regular exercise activity.”

Councillor Gerry Flynn, Chair of Clare County Council’s Social Development SPC, commented, “Active involvement in recreational activities is important throughout life as it has a positive impact on our health and well-being. It is clear that this investment at Lees Road will enhance the recreational opportunities for children, youths and adults in the local community.”

Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, Clare County Council, said, “We are delighted to have such a unique service available at one of our facilities and this addition further aids our vision in making County Clare the Sports and Recreation ‘hub’ of the Mid West Region.”

Commenting on the newly introduced Fartlek Interval Training System, Clare County Council’s Head of Recreation & Sport Tim Forde stated, “The benefits of such a fitness programme are that it can be used for all fitness levels.  For the beginner, it can be a mixture of walking with jogging sessions added in where possible and for the competitive runner, the Fartlek system is key for race day readiness.  By its design, the Fartlek System caters to a healthy active lifestyle for the beginner, improver and advanced athlete as well as tourists, active aged, children and youths.”

Active Ennis John O’Sullivan Park, Lees Road, which is located on a site of approximately 134 acres of woodland at Drumcliffe, also comprises four conventional playing pitches, a floodlit all-weather pitch, a cross country running track, woodland amenity walks and Clare’s first specifically designed and purpose built Skateboard Park.  Other facilities managed by Active Ennis / Clare County Council, include the Green Flag award-winning Active Ennis Tim Smythe Park, Active Ennis Leisure Complex, Active Ennis All Weather Pitch (Cloughleigh), Active Ennis Pitches (Coote Park & Glenina) and Active Kilrush Sports Complex. For more visit www.activeennis.ie.

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