Operation Transformation gets of to a great start in Ballinakill

Heywood Gardens hosts big walk hosted by Laois Sports Partnership

By Stan Henderson


By Stan Henderson



The Laois Operation Transformation 2017 walk took place at Heywood Gardens Demesne, Ballinakill where over 250 people kick started their New Year resolutions to improve their health and fitness levels.
Registrations began in Heywood College at 9am on Saturday last, January 7. The event was in conjunction with and co-ordinated by staff from the Laois Sports Partnership (LSP). Several volunteers from various walking groups around the county were there to assist with the three and a half kilometre walk.
The event started with a zumba workout courtesy of Laois Zumba in the College’s hall. Around 100 people availed of the zumba workout while others stayed outside and did some stretching on their own.
After loosening up, the huge crowd of people, aged from four week old Raheen baby Katie Keegan up to and including many senior citizens, set off through the scenic woodlands and around the lake of Heywood Demesne.
The morning had begun misty and cool. However, just before the walkers left the start line the sun came out and shone brightly to the delight of everyone.
Members of the Civil Defence, Garda Mick Cary from Abbeyleix and emergency services were all on hand to ensure the safety of the walkers.
Volunteers and staff members from LSP served refreshments in the College canteen for everyone after the walk. The canteen was buzzing with people who had completed their walks. People chatted and congratulated each other.
Event co-ordinator for LSP Caroline Myers said, “It’s a great turn out again this year, it’s great to see such a crowd of people of all ages. This is a great way to kick-start the New Year and to begin a healthy lifestyle for the year ahead. We had a new blow-up start/finish sign made for this year’s event. This is available free of charge to community groups all around the county who wish to use it. Groups can contact us to book it for their events.”
Majella Fennelly of LSP is the facilitator of Get Ireland Walking Laois. Ms Fennelly said, “It was a great morning and well done to everyone who did the walk. The number of people who got involved was great. God was good on the day as the sunshine came out just at the right time.”
Ms Fennelly is facilitating weekly walking groups in Mountmellick, Portlaoise, Portarlington, Ballybrittas, Mountrath, Ballylinan, Ballyroan, Graiguecullen, Abbeyleix and Stradbally. These walking groups are free of charge. Phone Majella Fennelly 087 7976438 or Laois Sports Partnership on 057 8671248 for further information.