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Thousands to join the RTÉ Operation Transformation leaders for 5K finale

The finish line is in sight for the five RTÉ Operation Transformation leaders as they take on their final challenge – the 5K run. Five thousand people will join the leaders, Chris McElligott, Marie Grace, Maireád Redmond, Seán Daly and Yvonne Keenan-Ross, as they run, walk and jog the distance in the Phoenix Park, Dublin this Saturday.

And thousands more Operation Transformation followers are getting involved by taking part in parkrun 5Ks at more than 60 locations all around the country.

Emotions are sure to run high as the leaders prepare to prove their mettle in this final challenge after weeks of hard work on the Operation Transformation plan.

Presenter Kathryn Thomas said: “The Operation Transformation 5K this Saturday will be a huge celebration for all five of our leaders. They have been training and increasing their fitness for the last seven weeks and this will be a real testament of how far they’ve come. The Phoenix Park event is always fully subscribed so it’s great that OT followers can get out and participate in their local parkrun 5K and be part of the event nationally.”

Among those taking part tomorrow is Minister for State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy T.D. She said: “I am delighted to be able to support Operation Transformation and the very positive effect it is having in encouraging people across Ireland to take part in physical activity. Being active benefits both our physical and mental wellbeing and getting more people active is a key aim under Healthy Ireland. We would like people to see being active not as something that they must do, but rather as something they can do because it is fun and enjoyable. The fact that the event this weekend is fully booked out is a great tribute to the success of this initiative and it is fantastic to know that thousands of people across the country will be taking part in parkruns in their communities. I commend the five leaders for their hard work on the programme and I wish all those taking part across the country an enjoyable run or walk this weekend.”

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr, who will be sounding the claxon at the start of the run, is looking forward to welcoming participants from all over the country: “The Operation Transformation walk is always a fantastic fun filled event drawing people from all corners of the country to Dublin. I am delighted that I will be there in Phoenix Park on Saturday to greet the thousands of participants who will line out. I wish all of those running and walking the very best and I’ll see you at the start line!”

All runs will start at 9.30am and more people are expected to take part than ever before with 20 new parkrun locations added since last year. The Operation Transformation effect has seen attendances quadruple at parkrun events nationwide as the show teamed up with the organisation to help encourage people get on their feet and start running on Saturday mornings. There have been more than 15,000 new registrations with parkrun since the programme started in January and last week alone there were 9,500 runners pounding the pavements in parks across Ireland. In fact, Operation Transformation is the biggest parkrun group in the world.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy said: “Sport Ireland is delighted to be working with RTÉ, Athletics Ireland and the OPW on the Operation Transformation 5K for the seventh year running. The Irish Sports Monitor highlighted that running remains one of the most popular forms of physical activity. The Operation Transformation 5K is a very important event in the promotion of healthy living and the pursuit of exercise and I look forward to seeing another big turnout of participants on Saturday.”

DJ Keith Walsh will bring listeners all the fun from the 5K in the Phoenix Park on RTÉ 2FM.   He’ll be live from the roadcaster from 9-11am on Saturday.

Anyone who wants to take part and join the Operation Transformation 5K should go to www.parkrun.ie/events to find their park run, select ‘Operation Transformation 2017’ as their club and print off their barcode.

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