Banbridge girl Suzy Neill recently attended a training session with Commonwealth Games star Gladys Ganiel to mark the return of the Flahavan’s Porridge Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League.
Suzy, 12, a pupil at Banbridge Academy, was amongst a number of young athletes at the picturesque Portstewart Strand for the training session delivered by Athletics NI.
League Ambassador Gladys Ganiel joined the 2014 squad for a session of cross country running through the sand dunes at the official launch.
Marathon specialist Ganiel is one of the country’s top endurance runners and recently represented Northern Ireland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
In addition to marathon running Gladys is also an accomplished cross country runner and has represented Northern Ireland at International events.
Gladys spent time with squad members who asked her questions about her training regime for both marathons and cross country races. Speaking at the launch Gladys said, “I was delighted to be asked to act as this year’s official Ambassador for the League, both in my role as an Athletics NI athlete and as a fan of Flahavan’s Porridge!
“I got my start in running through cross country and I have gained so much from the sport over the years.
“Young people in Northern Ireland can benefit from involvement in the sport at all levels.
“I feel that it is important to support children in their development as young athletes and to encourage them to participate in sport as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Entering its eighth season the League continues to grow from strength to strength with over 4000 runners participating in last year’s events.
Following the final the top 20 girls and boys will be invited to join the Flahavan’s Porridge Athletics NI Junior Cross Country Squad.
Moya Verling, Flahavan’s Porridge Brand Manager explains, “As Ireland’s leading porridge brand we are delighted to continue our support for the Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League and Squad.
“As a seventh generation family business, making porridge for over 200 years, we recognise the importance of encouraging children to enjoy a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and starting the day on the right foot.”