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Health chief Leo leads by example in city night race

New Minister for Health Leo Varadkar led by example last evening when he took part in a night run across the capital.

Joining around 4,000 others, the minister set off on the 5km run from the Custom House on City Quay with members of his staff.

"It's a really well organised race and the organisers deserve a lot of credit," Mr Varadkar said.

"There's been a great response from staff in the Department of Health to this race and we're entering two teams of runners under the Healthy Ireland initiative."

He was joined in the Grant Thornton Corporate 5km Team Challenge by Olympian and former London Marathon winner Catherina McKiernan. Catherina, who won the race in 1998 in a time of two hours, 26 minutes and 26 seconds, could not speak highly enough of last night's event.

"It was a fantastic sight to see so many people out running and enjoying themselves," she said.

"The team element adds a sense of fun and camaraderie among work colleagues."

According to the registered numbers, exactly 3,856 people took part as members of 964 teams.

Various companies around Dublin entered teams in the event, with Dunnes Stores being represented by 23. The minister's team was called Healthy Ireland after his department's new strategy, and he said he was looking forward to tackling the nation's unhealthy habits.

"I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into Healthy Ireland and making it a reality," he told the Herald.

"Two thirds of Irish adults are overweight and only a third get enough exercise.

"There is a lot that we can do as individuals to improve our health, and I think Healthy Ireland is going to play a big role in that."


Former Irish rugby captain Keith Wood is chairman of the group to which he was appointed this year.

A major survey is about to be carried out by Healthy Ireland aimed at collecting data on the status of the country's health.

It will be conducted from October to December, and the results are expected to be published in April.