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Ultra-athlete Aidan Hogan launches the annual Cheetah Run at Fota Wildlife Park

Ultra-athlete Aidan Hogan launches the annual Cheetah Run at Fota Wildlife Park

Today ultra-athlete Aidan Hogan was at Fota Wildlife Park to launch the annual 5k Cheetah Run for adults and the 1-mile juvenile race which will take place on the Thursday 16th May. The Cheetah Run, organised by Eagle Athletic Club, is sponsored by Laya Healthcare, John Buckley Sports and Brooks Running and the registration is open for entry at www.eagleac.net. Fota Wildlife Park hosts the event in conjunction with Eagle Athletic and uses the funding raised to support conservation projects such as the re-introduction of the Madagascar Pochard to Lake Sophia in Northern Madagascar and the European Bison to Poland and Romania. The race attracts nearly 1000 participants and offers runners an exclusive route through the 100-acre Fota Wildlife Park - past giraffes, lions, tigers and cheetahs and through the neighbouring Fota House and Gardens.

Aidan Hogan said at the launch "I am delighted to be here at the launch of a unique race at what is a very accessible distance and one that will hopefully encourage many new runners into the area of athletics – it really is ideal for those who are in training for the couch  to 5K as well as the more accustomed runners,  as the aim of the Cheetah Run is to get out and get active and to enjoy exercise . Year on year there is always a great family friendly atmosphere at Fota and this year will be no exception. A few years ago, they introduced the juvenile Cheetah Mile for those aged 11 to 15 years old, and it’s been sold out since then, as someone who got involved with athletics at a young age that is very encouraging to see." Aidan Hogan is currently running 100 to 150 miles a week in preparation for this October’s 24-hour World Championship, in Albi, France. He was recently awarded the title of 2018 Ultra-athlete of the year at the Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards.

Sean McKeown, director of Fota Wildlife Park said of the race, “We are very proud to host the event yearly and for us, as a non-profit organisation, it is a great way to raise funds and awareness for some of the conservation programmes that we are involved in. One of our native species will directly benefit from the funds raised at this year’s race on the 16th May.’

Registration is open online at www.eagleac.net and costs €15 per adult runner and €8 per juvenile. The juvenile race is open to those aged from 11 to 15 years of age. The Cheetah Run adult race commences at 8pm and the juvenile race starts at 7.15pm on Thursday 16th of May. Each runner can bring a maximum of four visitors along with them free of charge to watch the race.