Park run is up Paula's Street
'Coronation Street' actress Paula Lane will trade the cobbles for the phoenix park when she joins the spar great Ireland run in Apri
British actress Paula Lane, who is best-known for her work as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, will soon be trading the cobbles of the much-loved soap for the grasslands and tree-lined avenues of the Phoenix Park when she takes part in the SPAR Great Ireland Run this April.
"Bupa approached me as I have done quite a lot of runs for them before in the UK. I've done the Bupa Great North Run for them twice and then quite a few 10ks so they asked me to come over to Dublin and do this one," said the 27-year-old actress who has also appeared in popular shows such as Heartbeat, Casualty and EastEnders.
On Saturday, April 6, the fitness fanatic who also swims, dances and climbs mountains to keep it as varied as possible, will run the 10k race in the Phoenix Park on behalf of her Manchester charity called Henshaws, which provide expert care, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss.
Lane, who was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2011 National Television Awards in the UK, will join over 12,000 other runners and their families in what is both a highlight of the athletics calendar and a great family day out.
In the heart of one of Europe's largest city parks, the SPAR Great Ireland Run will feature a course that challenges runners of all abilities and ambitions from the 10k race, to the SPAR Mini Run and the SPAR Junior Run.
"I've been running now for 10 years on and off and I was doing long distance running for the last five years. I still find it quite testing but I enjoy it a lot. I've done the full London Marathon and two half-marathons in Newcastle."
No stranger to Ireland, Paula is originally from the village of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire but has strong links to Skibbereen, Co Cork, through her mother.
"My family holiday in Ireland a lot and I also have ancestry on my mum's side from west Cork, around Skibbereen. We do have quite close connections with it, so it is always nice to come back and I have been quite a few times."
The SPAR Great Ireland Run is the only race in Ireland to be recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of athletics.
The event is one of 22 races in the world to receive an IAAF Road Race Silver Label in recognition of the event's high standard of organisation, elite participation and media profile.
Last year's event was won by multiple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in 28 minutes 51 seconds. The women's champion was Lauren Howarth of Great Britain in 33 minutes and 36 seconds.
This year's race will once again feature a superb field of international and national distance runners.
To further incentivise elite Irish athletes, and raise the standard of 10k running in the country, a prize fund is being put in place for the first 10 Irish men and women, something Paula hasn't pinned her hopes on just yet.
"I'm just going to do my best in April, I've no goal as it depends on how your feeling on the day as well.
"I'm not a particularly fast runner so anything under an hour will be fine for me.
"I've been informed it's a bit hilly in the Phoenix Park so I'll have to try and get my fitness up. With my level of fitness at the minute, I'd be able to get through it but I would like to be a bit more fit for the big day."
The toned brunette may even encourage her Corrie co-stars to come along and join her.
"I understand a lot of people can't run for health reasons but if you are able to, it's the best form of exercise in terms of a quick fix, it works all your body so get signed up for it as it has a lot of benefits."
Although the elites lead the field, the event is not only for the seasoned athlete – it is a great day out for runners of all ages and levels of fitness. It will begin with the SPAR Mini Great Ireland Run for three to eight-year-olds over a 1.6k course, where adults can accompany each child if they wish.
This is followed by the SPAR Junior Great Ireland Run for nine to 15-year-olds over a longer distance of 2.5k.
The day is topped off by the 10k which covers a scenic single lap of the park. As in previous years, the event will be shown live on RTÉ television. Every finisher will receive an event T-shirt, medal, goody bag and chip-timed results.
The 2014 event will also give runners the chance to represent their county in the All-Ireland County Challenge competition for the Ronnie Delany Trophy.
To qualify, each county must have at least five registered runners, and the winner is determined by the fastest average time of each county's competitors. Each county will also have a recorded time for the fastest male and female finisher.
Willie O'Byrne, managing director of BWG Foods (owners and operators of the SPAR brand in Ireland), said: "SPAR has a proud tradition of supporting athletics, and we're delighted to keep flying the flag for Irish athletes in 2014. I'm sure our ambassadors Paula and Ryan Andrews from Fair City will inspire people from all across the country to sign up for the SPAR Great Ireland Run.
"Whether you're competing with the elite field or walking to raise much-needed funds for charity, we're delighted to have you along."
Entries for all events are available at www.greatirelandrun.org. Follow the Great Ireland Run on: @GreatIrelandRun or at www.facebook.com/ greatirelandrun