This Saturday, 20th September, families flocked to the Clontarf seafront to take part in the Health Heroes 5km Family Fun Coastal Walk. Participants prepared for the walk at the starting point opposite Clontarf Post Office with a warm up routine with a qualified fitness instructor and some entertainment from the MaSamba Samba School to get everybody motivated and ready to go. With the warm up completed, the energetic families set off on their merry way, walking all the way down to the wooden bridge before looping back to the starting point again for picnics, games and face painting in the Health Heroes family fun zone. 
 
This walk and fun day was organised as part of Northside Partnership’s Health Heroes project which aims to encourage people of all ages from Dublin 3, 5, 13 and 17 to lead more active and healthy lifestyles.
 
Nicola and Robbie McCann who completed the walk together with their children Max and Katie told us why they were keen to take part in the event,
“It’s great to get out on a Saturday and to do something different. We’re from Coolock and we wouldn’t usually make our way over to Clontarf, we’d usually go for a walk closer to home. It’s been a great day out, we’ve really enjoyed it.”
 
Also speaking at the end of the day were Kim Flanagan and Darren Tighe who completed the walk together with their daughter Ava. They told us,
“We only heard about it yesterday, it has been a really great day out. We’ve two sons who aren’t here today that we would definitely bring along if there is another one happening again soon.”
 
What is very special and different about the Health Heroes project is that it is being led by a committee of eight young volunteers who are graduates of Northside Partnership’s Young Community Leaders programme. This group of young people felt passionate about the fact that Northsiders needed to get more active and to take greater advantage of the opportunities and resources that exist for them to get fit and healthy – and so they decided to do something about it. 
 
Between attending college and holding down part-time jobs, they began to plan for a year-long series of events which would highlight the amenities and opportunities that exist in north Dublin and gave themselves the name of “Health Heroes”. In April 2014, they launched the Health Heroes project with a family fun event in Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coolock. At this event, a range of community and sports groups came together to provide demonstrations of everything from football and yoga to how to grow your own vegetables. The launch event has been followed with an introductory Activity Trail programme which ran in Stardust Memorial Park and Edenmore Park this August / September where locals learned how to use the exercise equipment in these parks with the help of a qualified fitness instructor. The 5km Family Fun Walk was the penultimate event in the Health Heroes series which will conclude with an Intergenerational Olympics Event in November.
 
Speaking at the launch event, Rachel O’Kelly from the organising committee told us that,
“We know that it’s important for people to live a healthy lifestyle and it’s good for children to get out with their parents and do something like the walk here today. We’re delighted to have seen about 250 people attend the event over the course of the day, whether they took part in the walk or just came along to do the games and activities in the family fun zone. We hope that it helped to make them more aware of the wonderful resource that they have here on Clontarf seafront.”
For more information on the Health Heroes project, please visit www.northsidepartnership.ie/health-heroes. 
 

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