Athletic Laois family do the county proud in Ireland's Fittest Family

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Athletic Laois family do the county proud in Ireland's Fittest Family heats

The McDonnalds from Ballyroan, Laois

A Laois family has zoomed home in first place in the first heats of Ireland's Fittest Family.

The RTE programme returned to our screens on Sunday night with newer and tougher challenges. 

In the first episode, 20 families kicked off the show with an epic 2km race on Dollymount strand in Dublin, with teams tied together running into the sea and back out through an obstacle course.

Romping home in first place were a family from Laois, the McDonalds from Ballyroan.

They are a seriously sporty family and have the medals to prove it, having won several for cross-country and road-racing. Father Martin, 61, who works as a farmer, has represented Ireland many times in sport, came 2nd in the World Mountain Running Championships O60s twice, as well as several All Ireland Medals at track, cross-country, and road.

Last weekend Martin won the Masters M60 Category of the Autumn Open Cross County in Abbotstown.

His daughter Breda, 25 is a secondary school teacher, while her sister Kate, 23 studied psychology. Both also represented Ireland at Mountain Running.

Their brother Cian, 17 is a fifth-year secondary school student and also got the sport bug from his father, having represented Ireland several times at mountain running. He also runs cross-country, track, road and mountain running. 

All are members of the Ballyroan Abbeyleix & District Athletics Club.

New presenter Kathryn Thomas joins coaches Anna Geary, Davy Fitzgerald, Donncha O’Callaghan and Derval O’Rourke, and with a new course designed by the ATS Team - those behind The Biggest Loser - the season promises to be even more challenging and ultimately rewarding.

Best of luck to the McDonalds from everyone in Laois! 

Below: Kathryn Thomas with coaches.