Lo­cal Trav­eller women take on Mini Marathon

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

A LARGE group of Trav­eller women, all of whom are en­gag­ing with Wex­ford Lo­cal De­vel­op­ment (WLD), will take part in this year’s VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on June 3.

The event, which is tak­ing place on Sun­day for the first time this year, will see over 35,000 women tak­ing part in the 10km route which starts in Fitzwilliam Square and fin­ishes on Bag­got Street.

Last year, WLD’s Trav­eller Com­mu­nity Health Work­ers lead 33 Trav­eller women across the fin­ish line on their first out­ing to an event of this kind. Not even the wet weather and sore feet could over­shadow the feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment and achieve­ment felt by the women, and that has spurred on their de­ci­sion to en­ter the 2018 event.

Word of mouth within the Trav­eller com­mu­nity has been very pos­i­tive with the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing part of such a unique women-only event leav­ing a last­ing im­pres­sion. WLD em­ploys nine Trav­eller Com­mu­nity Health Work­ers who are work­ing to en­cour­age par­tic­i­pa­tion in ac­tiv­i­ties such as the Mini Marathon.

The marathon women are all on­go­ing par­tic­i­pants in an ini­tia­tive aimed at in­creas­ing ac­tiv­ity lev­els within the Trav­eller com­mu­nity, as part of a Chronic Con­di­tions Heart Health Pro­gramme, de­liv­ered by WLD in part­ner­ship with the HSE’s Trav­eller Health Unit.

In lo­cal ar­eas such as En­nis­cor­thy, New Ross, Bun­clody, Tagh­mon and Clon­roche, which have high Trav­eller pop­u­la­tions, women en­joy weekly health ed­u­ca­tion classes and avail of the oneto-one sup­ports of­fered by the project. Classes are de­liv­ered with sup­port from the So­cial In­clu­sion and Com­mu­nity Ac­ti­va­tion Progamme (SICAP) which tar­gets projects within very dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties.

Nan Moore­house, a grand­mother from Drum­goold in En­nis­cor­thy, has been a Health Worker for over five years. Ac­com­pa­nied by her three sis­ters and two daugh­ters, the 2017 Women’s Mini Marathon was the first time Nan had ever been pre­sented with a medal. Af­ter the event she felt such a sense of pride that she em­barked on her own weight loss and ex­er­cise pro­gramme en­cour­ag­ing her col­leagues, neigh­bours, fam­ily and friends to join in.

Phys­i­cal ex­er­cise has now be­come part of Nan’s daily regime. She also skips the scones on of­fer at Wex­ford County Coun­cil’s Trav­eller In­ter­a­gency Group meet­ings, where she rep­re­sents her com­mu­nity along­side de­ci­sion-mak­ers from the Lo­cal Author­ity, the Lo­cal Sports Part­ner­ship – Sports Ac­tive Wex­ford, the HSE and other pub­lic bod­ies who work to­gether lo­cally to im­prove Trav­eller health out­comes. The dial on her weigh­ing scales re­flects her suc­cess.

Nan warmly re­mem­bers the feel­ing she had cross­ing the line, say­ing ‘It made me very emo­tional to fin­ish the mini marathon in the name of Crum­lin Hos­pi­tal’.

This year Tem­ple Street will be the cho­sen char­ity.

Like many oth­ers, the Trav­eller women raised over €2,000 for Crum­lin Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, a char­ity that was close to their heart given the higher rate of chronic health con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced by Trav­eller chil­dren and that the in­fant mor­tal­ity rate is still al­most four times high­ter than that of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.

The women are train­ing hard at the mo­ment and will, no doubt, be seen strid­ing out on the lo­cal walk­ing tracks and path­ways of County Wex­ford.

The Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is the big­gest all fe­male event of its kind in the world and Ire­land’s largest one­day char­ity fundrais­ing event. Since its in­cep­tion, it has raised over €210m for var­i­ous char­i­ties. En­tries are open un­til May 18 at: www.vhi­wom­ensmin­i­marathon.ie

The group of Wex­ford Trav­eller women who took part in last year’s Women’s Mini Marathon.

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