SPAR kicks off Christmas with New €800,000 TV Ad Campaign
Kitchen Hero 2013
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St Patrick’s Day Special
View video of Kitchen Hero 2013
Irish golden girls launch SPAR Great Ireland Run 2013
- European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton launches Ireland’s biggest mixed 10k running event with team mates Linda Byrne, Ava Hutchinson and Lizzie Lee
- Ireland’s gold medal winning team will run in the Phoenix Park on Sunday April 14th
- 12,000 adults and children expected for great family running day out
The SPAR Great Ireland Run 2013 - on Sunday April 14th in the Phoenix Park, Dublin - was launched by Ireland’s European Cross Country champion Fionnuala Britton and her team gold medal winning colleagues Linda Byrne, Ava Hutchinson and Lizzie Lee in Dublin today.
Britton has committed to lead the women’s field in the Run where she finished seventh in 2011. “I just love the Phoenix Park,” she said. “There is no place better in Europe to run and the buzz around the SPAR Great Ireland Run is incredible. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more kids in their own races; and then runners, joggers and walkers of all abilities start in a top class international race to aim for their own personal best.”
This year’s Run will be all about enjoying a family running day out. It will begin with a SPAR Mini Run for 5 to 8 year olds over a lap of a mile and an adult can run/walk alongside each child if they wish. After the Mini Run comes the SPAR Junior Run for 9 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 Phoenix Park in its springtime glory. The Run will again be shown live on RTE Television.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of athletics has conferred an IAAF Silver Road Race Label on the SPAR Great Ireland Run, in recognition of the event’s high standard of organisation, elite participation and media profile. This is the only Irish event recognised in this way by the IAAF.
Last year’s event was won in a stunning course record time of 27 minutes 49 seconds by multiple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. The women’s champion was Gemma Steel of Great Britain in 32 minutes and 6 seconds. Once again a superb field of international and national distance runners will compete on the day, led by Ireland’s European Women’s Cross Country Championship winning team.
The 2013 Run will include the Irish 10k road championships and will feature most of Ireland’s top 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 ten Irish men and women.
Participants are encouraged to raise funds for good causes and the Run’s nominated charities are SPAR’s charity partner, the 3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide) and the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. The Baby Max Wings of Love Fund is the nominated charity for the SPAR Junior Run and Mini Run.
The SPAR Great Ireland Run is an integral part of The Gathering Ireland 2013 and included in its promotional programmes. Runners from all over the world are being encouraged to come to Dublin for the weekend and take in the event. Almost 600 runners from the UK have already entered.
Entrants are asked to identify a preferred county on their entry form and before the event will receive a customised number in their chosen county colours. Every finisher will receive a technical event T shirt, medal, goody bag and chip timed results.
The 2013 event will feature an All Ireland County Challenge competition for the Ronnie Delany Trophy. Using chip finishing time technology the county with the most finishers in a particular time frame are recorded and declared the winner.
>Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director of BWG Foods (operators of the SPAR brand) said:
“We are delighted to be the title sponsor of the SPAR Great Ireland Run once again, as part of SPAR’s ongoing commitment to supporting athletics in Ireland. This year SPAR Ireland celebrates its 50th anniversary so it is a very special occasion for us. We are planning to mark our anniversary at the event with prizes for runners including the 50th person to register for the race; and the 50th runner over the finish line in each of the three races. We hope this year we will see record numbers of entrants in all categories.”
Entries for all events are available at www.greatirelandrun.org
SPAR kicks off Christmas with New €800,000 TV Ad Campaign
- Iconic tree gets seasonal makeover
- Irish musicians Gemma Hayes and Jape bring lots of festive spirit to SPAR Christmas Ad with ‘The Christmas Song’
The TV ad is a celebration of Christmas in Ireland and ties in with the SPAR slogan, ‘Under the Tree’ by featuring Christmas trees in obscure - and not so obscure - locations across Dublin, Cork, Carlow and Wicklow, such as the Dursey Island cable car in west Cork, Pearse Street DART station in Dublin, Leighlinbridge in Carlow and Barnarlingan Wood in Wicklow.
Commenting on the new campaign, Suzanne Weldon, Marketing & Communications Director at BWG Foods (owners and operators of SPAR Ireland) said: "In deciding to produce a Christmas advertisement, we wanted to create something which was true to the brand and the fact that we’re an Irish company, so the obvious starting point was our iconic tree and slogan: ‘Under the Tree’. The SPAR store is a key part of hundreds of towns, villages and cities across Ireland and many of our shoppers will be familiar with the tree symbol; what better way to capture both these aspects than by filming Christmas trees in some very unexpected and out of the ordinary locations in Ireland.
"The timing of this campaign is significant in that next year marks the 50th anniversary of the SPAR brand in Ireland. Ultimately, our aspiration was to celebrate half a century of the brand in Ireland and for this ad to find its place among the timeless Christmas greats, which Irish people love and anticipate year in and year out.”
The five day production features filming in 18 different locations across the country, from a pool to a school, a horse to a boat, a sea cave to a SPAR shop and everything in between. (See notes below for full list of locations.)
The backing soundtrack has also been specially produced with Irish musicians, Jape and Gemma Hayes, coming together to perform a special cover of “The Christmas Song” originally recorded by the Raveonettes which will be available for download on itunes. While the new SPAR campaign is being anchored by the TV commercial, the wider marketing campaign will also include in-store point of sale materials, Christmas product promotions, and competitions, including one to be launched on Facebook. With over 100,000 fans on its facebook page SPAR is inviting Irish shoppers to post images of local Christmas trees to be in with a chance to win cash prizes.
The Christmas Ad, created by SPAR Ireland and advertising agency Publicis has been produced by Paul Holmes of Red Rage Films and directed by Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman from D.A.D.D.Y.
SPAR Ireland, part of BWG Foods, incorporates SPAR for convenience and neighbourhood shopping and SPAR Express for forecourt shopping. SPAR provides employment to over 14,000 people locally and supports many local Irish food and beverage suppliers around the country. SPAR and its retailers have been recognised through international and local awards programmes for innovation and world class standards in retailing.
‘Radical’ new Irish products for SPAR Shoppers!
- New Irish Food Producer ‘The Radical Food Company' wins nationwide competition to stock products on SPAR shelves
Sunday 28th October 2012 – Aspiring new Irish food business, The Radical Food Company, located in Dublin, will soon get to stock its Radical Oats product on SPAR shelves nationwide after today being announced the winner of a 10 week competition run by Newstalk 106-108 fm’s ‘Down to Business’ and SPAR Ireland to find the country’s best new food producer. Runners-up, Zanna Cookhouse, from Wexford, will also get the opportunity to sell their gourmet products at their local SPAR stores.
The Radical Food Company and Zanna Cookhouse beat off stiff competition from over 50 up-and-coming food producers from all across Ireland, making it to a short list of finalists selected by a panel of judges including Bobby Kerr, Simon Marriott for SPAR, Kieran Rumley for Love Irish Foods and Food Consultant, James Burke. The final task for the shortlisted companies was a ‘speed dating’ event with the SPAR management team to select the overall winner.
Simon Marriott, Trading Director, BWG Foods (owners and operators of SPAR Ireland) said: “We are absolutely delighted to be in a position to give The Radical Food Company an instant nationwide entry into the Irish grocery sector. Our SPAR retailers are dedicated to supporting Irish food producers, as well as looking for innovative new products to bring to market, and this partnership with Newstalk has delivered on both fronts. We were extremely impressed by the quality and calibre of entrants and look forward to introducing these new products to SPAR customers in the coming weeks.”
Speaking about the competition, Down to Business presenter, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star, Bobby Kerr, said: “This has been a fantastic initiative and has resulted in real positive on air debate with the artisan food community. Small well run Irish food businesses are one of the great hopes for the future of Irish business. We have also given the two winners a real opportunity to scale up and increase their sales and output by getting their products onto the shelves at Spar."
The Radical Food Company is headed up by husband and wife team, Miriam Cox-Monahan and Tony Monahan, who earlier this year decided to ‘make oats cools’ by developing a tasty product that would appeal to their four hungry kids, Tabitha, Ayesha, Zuleika & Ka. With a team of critics at the ready, it wasn’t long before they turned ordinary porridge into Radical Oats, using all natural Irish ingredients to keep the hunger at bay for longer and give the family the energy needed to sustain them through school, work and their hectic activity schedules.
Radical Oats is a chilled product containing the superfoods oats and low-fat probiotic yogurt designed to be eaten for breakfast or as a snack. Made only with Irish oats, milk, cream and yogurt, Radical Oats comes in Original, Strawberry, Black Cherry and Raspberry flavours.
Runner-up Zanna Cookhouse is a small family business, established by Owen and Lorna Mullins in early 2008, which started in the home kitchen and now operates out of a specially equipped kitchen in Wexford. The company has gone from strength to strength, reporting growth of nearly 40% last year and holding numerous awards including 1st place at the All Ireland Farmers Market Competition 2011. Using locally grown produce and only natural ingredients, the Mullins have a product repertoire spanning gourmet quiches, pies, soups, pate and desserts.
Social Media Expert Darren Wins Once-in-a-Lifetime Round the World Travel Reporter Job for SPAR
Personality and a Flair for Social Media Land Tipp Man an All Expenses Paid Trip Around The World With SPAR
Having searched the length and breadth of the country Darren Gayson from Cashel, Co. Tipperary has seen off competition from over 100 entrants to claim the title of SPAR’s Round the World Reporter. Darren will set sail on a 4 month, 12 country and 4 continent all expenses paid trip on July 30th and will report back on his experiences through Twitter, Facebook and with a regularly updated blog.
From July 30th to November 30th Darren will visit The UK, South Africa, Zambia, Australia, Indonesia, China, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy travelling by plane, train, bus and any means possible. He will join representatives from Norway, South Africa, The UK, Slovenia and Italy who were also successful in the SEE THE WORLD WITH SPAR competition in their homeland, each of whom will go their separate ways, travelling independently of each other serving as SPAR reporters.
Throughout their journey, SPAR’s intrepid reporters will share their personal adventures with the rest of the world via video, blog and photo updates. In addition, they will also receive a SEE THE WORLD WITH SPAR travel-bag - fully equipped rucksacks filled with practical travel equipment, as well as various digital goodies.
For more information on Darren and on the SEE THE WORLD WITH SPAR competition log onto www.seetheworldwithspar.ie
Commenting Suzanne Weldon, Marketing and Communications Director for BWG Foods (operators of the SPAR brand), said:
“As part of a SPAR International campaign we’re proud that SPAR Ireland is putting forward such an incredibly strong candidate in Darren, who wowed us with his ability to maximise digital and social media tools to achieve a variety of tasks set for him.
SPAR has fully embraced the world of social media, with over 84,000 Facebook fans, and by helping budding journalists to make a name for themselves in online travel journalism we’re looking to give back to our community of Twitter followers and Facebook likers who have supported us over the last few years.”
SPAR KICKS OFF RACE SEASON WITH EXERCISE AND DIET SURVEY
A recent survey conducted by SPAR, has revealed that over a third of the population have never run five miles for any reason and that 70% have never taken part in an organised race such as the SPAR Great Ireland Run. SPAR commissioned the research as part of its programme to help marathon novices achieve a lifelong dream of completing a marathon with the SPARTAN Challenge initiative.
The headline findings were that:
Building on the success of last year’s SPARTAN Challenge SPAR have again assembled a team of 26 marathon novices, one from every county in the Republic of Ireland, to train under the expert guidance of fitness guru Karl Henry (Operation Transformation) and nutritionist Paula Mee. The 26 Spartans of all ages and abilities will take part in the five events with which SPAR is an official partner – the five Dublin Marathon race Series events - culminating with the 26.2 mile 2012 Dublin City Marathon on October 29th.
With 15% of the population never eating the recommended 5 pieces of fruit & veg a day and 37% regularly skipping meals the SPARTANs will be educated in a healthy diet and exercise regime designed to help them achieve their marathon dream. Over 91% said that they would feed their children a healthier diet than they eat themselves.
The SPAR commissioned survey has also revealed that 33% of the population thought they were at their fittest between the ages of 16 to 18 with only 5% believing they reached their physical peak over the age of 30. Perhaps surprisingly men eat more fruit than women with 33% eating a piece a day compared to 25% of women. However women are better educated in when it comes to knowing their daily recommended calorie intake with 66% of women compared to 59% of men knowing their recommended intakes are 2000 & 25000 calories respectively.
44% of men exercise three or more times a week compared to 34% of women with a worrying 8% of men and 5% of women saying they never exercise.
Commenting Suzanne Weldon, Marketing and Communications Director BWG Foods, said:
“Our survey has thrown up some really interesting stats and reaffirms our commitment to promoting healthy eating and lifestyle through our leisure running initiatives.
This is the third year that we’ve helped marathon novices achieve their dream through the Spartan Challenge and we’ve been inspired in grow the challenge year on year by seeing the transformation in our Spartans as they progress through the four month regime.
SPAR has a long history of supporting running through sponsorship and with more and more people taking part in leisure running as a form of exercise we will endeavour to help people achieve their goals with expert insight from Karl and Paula.”
Each SPARTAN will receive a tailored fitness programme from Karl Henry, a nutrition programme from Paula Mee as well as full running equipment. When the team start their training, they will blog regularly on the SPARTAN website. The website will also include motivational, fitness and nutrition videos from the expert panel and will be updated weekly with new content so that anyone can follow the programme, even if they are unsuccessful in the selection process.
SPAR is a partner of the Dublin Race Series and Marathon. Upcoming events:
|Irish Runner 5 Mile||Phoenix Park||Saturday, 30th June|
|Fingal 10k||Swords||Sunday, 22nd July|
|rank Duffy 10 Mile||Phoenix Park||Saturday, 25th August|
|Dublin Half Marathon||Phoenix Park||Saturday, 15th September|
|Dublin Marathon||Dublin||Monday, 29th October|
With the All Ireland Football Championship gathering momentum Dublin stars Bernard and Alan Brogan have launched their very own kid’s football available exclusively in SPAR stores for a limited time only. The custom designed size four ball carries the Brogan brother’s signatures and is kitted out in the unmistakable true blue Dubs colours. Priced at €4.99 and with stocks limited Dubs fans are urged not to miss out on this special offer.
Kitchen Hero: Episode 1 "Cheap & Healthy"https://vimeo.com/42115019
Kitchen Hero: Episode 2 "Pork"https://vimeo.com/42115085
Kitchen Hero: Episode 3 "Food Bloggers' Supper Club"https://vimeo.com/42117977
Kitchen Hero: Episode 4 "Baking"https://vimeo.com/42117994
Kitchen Hero: Episode 5 "Real Fast Food"https://vimeo.com/43022155
Kitchen Hero: Episode 6 "Fish"http://vimeo.com/43023843
SPAR Partners with RTE’s ‘Kitchen Hero’ for a Third Series
The popular Donal Skehan returns for his 2nd series marking an additional €200,000 investment through a long-term partnership with SPAR
SPAR Ireland is to sponsor the 2nd series of RTE’s hugely popular cooking programme, ‘Kitchen Hero’ hosted by Donal Skehan, representing an overall €200,000 marketing investment by the brand. The show, with almost 500,000 viewers per episode last season is set to return to the airwaves next Monday 30 April.
Marketing & Communications Director, BWG Foods (owners and operator of the SPAR brand) Suzanne Weldon, said: “reaffirming our partnership with ‘Kitchen Hero’ was a no brainer given that the focus of the show is the convenient cooking of good value, quality food, something that is a clear match with our own brand. The theme of this season coincides with Donal’s upcoming book ‘Great Food for Less’ and is something that most people can identify with in this day and age. We know that Irish people have an established and ever growing love affair with food, and in particular cooking shows, and this show, through platforms such as social media allows us to align ourselves with what our customers want”.
“Running along side our sponsorship with ‘Kitchen Hero’, SPAR will continue its specially created advertising with SPAR personality ‘Ferg’ – comedian Fred Cooke – which has really resonated with our audience and stakeholders. From a marketing point of view Donal Skehan has brought with him a fresh, young and motivated customer base which we have been able to tap into through social media platforms such as Twitter and our very own SPAR iPhone App,” said Weldon.
The upcoming season, tipped to be another overwhelming success, will comprise 13 episodes tastefully focussing on great food for less where Donal will attempt to create a number of delicious dishes from a value conscious perspective.
Donal Skehan is a self-taught cook and food photographer, who at the age of 25 has an award winning blog and three cook books. The series has been created by TV food and travel specialists, Inproduction, who also produced Neven Maguire’s Home Chef, Clodagh McKenna’s Fresh From the Sea and Rachel Allen’s Favourite Food. All programmes, including Kitchen Hero, are directed and produced by David Hare, the company’s managing director.
There are 450 SPAR stores operating throughout the Republic of Ireland, providing employment to over 14,000 people locally and supporting many local Irish food and beverage suppliers around the country. SPAR Ireland, part of the BWG Group, incorporates the three SPAR formats of SPAR for convenience and neighbourhood shopping, SPAR Express for forecourt shopping and EUROSPAR for family and supermarket shopping. SPAR and its retailers have been recognised through international and local awards programmes for innovation and world class standards in retailing.
GALAXY OF STARS READY AND SET TO GO IN SPAR GREAT IRELAND RUN
The biggest ever cast of celebrities from stage and screen are set to take part in the SPAR Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park, Dublin on Sunday 15th April as they come together to support a range of charities.
Among the leading lights confirmed to take part are:
Many of the celebrities are taking part to support the events nominated charities, the Marie Keating Foundation and the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. Others are running for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and other good causes.
10,000 runners, walkers and joggers are expected to participate in the event which gets under way at 1pm and is shown live on RTE television.
A further 1,200 children have entered the Mini and Junior Runs for five to eight and nine to fifteen year olds. These Runs will make up the largest ever children’s running event in Ireland.
The Junior Run starts at 11:15 followed by the Mini Run at 11:30. The Mini and Junior Runs take place over a flat 2.5km course which uses the same start and finish areas of the adult SPAR Great Ireland Run which starts at 1pm. The nominated charity for the Mini and Junior Runs is the Baby Max Wings of Love Fund.
Entries for the SPAR Great Ireland Run remain open at www.greatirelandrun.org until 9am on Tuesday 10th April. Those entering are now required to collect their numbers and Run packs at Life Style Sports in Blanchardstown during trading hours between noon on Thursday 12th and 4pm on Saturday 14th April.
At the front of the field, the 2012 Run plays host to the world’s greatest middle distance runner – Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, the current double Olympic champion at 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres. He is also the world record holder at both distances. Bekele will be defending his titles at the London Olympic Games this summer and will be using the SPAR Great Ireland Run in Dublin as an important part of his build-up.
He will face stern competition from defending champion, Jesus Espana of Spain and his compatriot, Ayad Lamsdassem, the European Cross Country silver medallist last year. Leading the home challenge will be Olympic marathon qualifier Mark Kenneally and national cross country champion Eddie McGinley.
The women’s field will be led by European Indoor 3,000 metre champion Helen Clitheroe from Great Britain who will be challenged strongly by Ireland’s Olympic marathon qualifiers Linda Byrne and Ava Hutchinson. Stern competition will also come from Christelle Daunay of France, Hungary's Aniko Kalovics with Great Britain's Gemma Steel, runner-up in last year’s Run.
RTÉ Television and SPAR announce the ultimate product placement with Fair City
- SPAR store to open in Carrigstown this December
- BWG Foods makes overall investment of €900,000 in three year sponsorship and marketing programme
RTÉ Television and BWG Foods, owners and operators of the SPAR brand in Ireland, have today announced a first for RTÉ television sponsorship with an agreement to open a SPAR store on the set of Ireland's most popular home-grown soap Fair City. The agreement, which is part of an overall marketing investment of €900,000 over the next three years, will see Christy Phelan's corner shop transformed into a state-of-the-art SPAR store over the coming weeks.
Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director BWG Foods (operators of the SPAR brand), "SPAR has been an integral part of local Irish communities right across the country for nearly 50 years now, so it seemed only natural that we would extend this presence to one of the best known local towns on Irish television. We're delighted to have reached agreement with RTÉ on what is an innovative and pioneering sponsorship for Irish television - one that will bring the SPAR brand directly to over 500,000 viewers across Ireland four times every week. We look forward to welcoming Christy to under the tree at SPAR."
Suzanne Weldon, Marketing & Communications Director at BWG Foods added, “This new arrangement with Fair City presents SPAR with a far reaching platform for communicating with its customers in an innovative and entertaining way. This opportunity goes beyond product placement because the SPAR brand will feature as part of the storyline and script and we’ll also seek to maximise marketing activity through our network of over 450 retailers. We’re all extremely excited about this development and look forward to the on-screen ‘store launch’ in December.”
Speaking at the announcement, Gerry McGuinness of RTE Sponsorship said,"This is the first high profile product placement agreement for RTÉ and the biggest to date in this territory. It is a perfect example of how creativity and commerce can work harmoniously together to benefit the production process and the brand. When Fair City planned that Christy would renovate the shop and reinvent his life it was a natural opportunity to talk to appropriate retailers about becoming the shop on the Fair City Street. Of course there was huge interest in this proposal as Fair City is the most popular soap on Irish television, attracting over half a million viewers on average per episode this year. We now look forward to the characters shopping at SPAR for the next three years.”
Jane Gogan, Commissioning Editor, Drama, RTÉ Television , said:“RTÉ’s partnership with SPAR gives us a great opportunity to develop a new story for one of Fair City’s favourite characters, Christy Phelan. The SPAR presence in Carrigstown develops Fair City in the age of product placement with a real world authenticity and brings the creative and commercial imperatives of RTÉ together with SPAR in an interesting and progressive way.”
Christy’s new SPAR store is set to be unveiled as part of the series on 6 December.
There are 450 SPAR stores operating throughout the Republic of Ireland, providing employment for over 14,000 people locally and supporting many local Irish suppliers around the country. SPAR Ireland, part of the BWG Group, incorporates the three SPAR formats of EUROSPAR for family and supermarket shopping, SPAR for convenience and neighbourhood shopping, and SPAR Express for forecourt shopping.
Vit-Hit Springs into SPAR stores Nationwide following the first episode of The Apprentice
Unique Irish product available in 450 SPAR stores across the country
SPAR and low-calorie vitamin drinks manufacturer Vit-Hit have announced an exclusive partnership designed to make Irish lunchtimes even healthier as part of their joint sponsorship of episode one of this year’s The Apprentice on TV3. The companies have followed the contestants’ lead from last night's show and teamed up to create a range of lunch options for SPAR customers right across the country. The options including "the Monday Munch", "the Tuesday Treat" and "the Wednesday Wonder" include a sandwich, bap or wrap with customers' choice of vitamin enhanced drink.
According to Suzanne Weldon, Marketing & Communications Director with BWG Foods (operators of SPAR Ireland), "Our partnership with Vit-Hit on The Apprentice was prompted by a continuing desire to respond to customer requirements. At SPAR we're always looking to work closely with Irish suppliers to the benefit of our customers and our link with Vit-Hit will allow us to provide even healthier lunchtime meal options. We are also providing Irish shoppers with the opportunity to beat the Apprentices by entering our Facebook competition to create their own healthy lunch options."
Vit-Hit drinks are available in four flavours - Citrus 'Revive' with Ginseng; Berry 'Boost' with Ginseng and guarana; Mandarin Detox with Green Tea; and Green Apple 'Lean and Green' with Mate tea - and are now available in 450 SPAR and SPAR Express stores throughout the country.
Gary Lavin said: “We were delighted to partner with such a well known brand as SPAR on the first episode of this season’s The Apprentice. Through SPAR we now have access to over half a million consumers on a daily basis, which is an incredible platform for an independent Irish company.”
International runners take the honours in 10 mile park run
Spanish runner Jose Carlos Hernandez took the honours in today’s National Lottery Frank Duffy 10 mile race in the Phoenix Park. Leading the field of over 6,800 runners, the Spaniard was just 3 seconds of the course record with his time of 48:15. Anthony Ford from England came in second place with his time of 48:36, ahead of North Belfast Harriers Stephen Scullion (49:59).
Speaking after the race, the first Irish man home- 22 year old Scullion said:
“Jose and Anthony made a bit of a break for it and it was hard to decide whether to go with them or not. It’s only early yet, the Europeans aren’t until December and I knew that I was fit but you’re not maybe ready to attack races like that and ultimately today was a test of fitness, so I made the sensible decision to just run my own race and it felt good.”
The women’s race was won by Gemma Marie Steel from England in a great time of 55:04. Dundrum South Dublin’s Maria McCambridge came in second place but said that she was delighted with her time.
Speaking after the race about her return to competitive running just 11 weeks after giving birth to a baby boy McCambridge said:
“It’s been brilliant, I’ve just been dying to get back out there; my motivation is so high. I ran alot faster than I expected, Gemma is a fast athlete so I was happy to come in second today”.
Barry Minnock (Rathfarnham WSAF) claimed victory in the Dublin 10 mile road championship which was incorporated in today’s race, crossing the line in 51:40, whilst Maria McCambridge took the women’s title with her time of 56:39.
Record numbers took part in today’s race, which was the second race in the three part National Lottery Dublin Race Series. Conditions were ideal for runners; with the sun shining and a light breeze blowing throughout the morning, it was also favourable for the many spectators who lined the course around the park.
Success for Marathon Mission's Paddy Hamilton in 5 mile victory
Northern Ireland club runner Paddy Hamilton took the honours in this year's 10th annual National Lottery Irish Runner 5 mile race. Annadale Strider's Hamilton finished the Phoenix Park route in a time of 24:56, followed closely by Clonliffe Harrier's Sergiu Ciobanu (25:04) and Star of the Sea's Mark Hoey (25:07).
There was very little distance between the elite runners along the course as they lead the 6,300 plus field in a tight pack from the outset, but in the final stretch it was Hamilton who used the hill on Kyber Road to his advantage, pulling ahead for the win.
“For the first mile the wind was in my face and no-one seemed to want to take the race on and that really set the tone. It wasnt really that quick and everyone was just waiting for the last 400m and then we’d just see who was strongest.”
"When we got to the hill the three of us (Sergio Ciobana and Mark Hoey) were just looking at each other and then as soon as we got off the hill I was able to just kick it in. I was able to see where Sergio was so I was able to gauge it the whole way in so I’m happy enough.” said Hamilton.
In the women’s race, Siobhan ODoherty (Borrisokane AC) ran the fastest time of 27:53. She said she went for it straight from the start.
"I just went out as hard as I could and I didn’t know if I was going to last the entire race but luckily the last half a mile was really, really tough and it was uphill so I think that slowed a lot of people down.”
"The wind made it tough for the first couple of miles but I was lucky because I got in with a group of men and that sheltered me a little bit.”
"I’m absolutely delighted with the time because I did the Paris Marathon in April and I haven’t really been training that much since. The plan today was just to go out and run so I really am delighted!\"
Siobhan and Paddy’s winning results also offer a boost to the Marathon Mission efforts as both a members of the elite running team. Marathon Mission is an initiative by the Dublin Marathon and Athletics Ireland aimed at improving runner’s times and reviving the quality of participation at the main marathon events in the country.
Today’s race in Phoenix Park which was attended by record numbers is the first of three races in the National Lottery Dublin Marathon Race Series.
The next race in the series is the National Lottery Frank Duffy 10 mile on Saturday, August 20th, also in Phoenix Park. To enter see:www.dublinmarathon.ie
National Lottery Irish Runner 5 mile race results:
Men’s Top 3
Paddy Hamilton (Annadale Striders AC) 24:56
Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers AC) 25:04
Mark Hoey (Star of the Sea AC) 25:07
Women’s Top 3
Siobhan ODoherty (Borrisokane AC) 27:53
Julie Turley (Dromore AC) 27:58
Gladys Ganiel O’Neill (North Belfast Harriers) 28:40
SPARTAN CHALLENGE – 26 MILES, 26 COUNTIES, 26 SPARTANS NEEDED
SPAR launched the 2011 “SPARTAN Challenge” to the nation today as it seeks to recruit athletes of all abilities to take part in four events with which it is an official partner – the three 2011 National Lottery Race Series events in the Phoenix Park and the National Lottery Dublin Marathon.
Building on the success of last year’s “SPARTAN Challenge” SPAR are seeking out one representative from every county in the Republic of Ireland to form a 26 strong team of SPARTANS to prepare for and compete in the 26.2 mile marathon on October 31st.
Applications to take part in the SPARTAN Challenge are being sought from walkers, joggers and runners of all abilities from which a team of 26 Spartans will be selected by fitness guru, Karl Henry (Operation Transformation) and nutrition expert, Paula Mee who are spearheading the campaign. Those who want to join the SPARTAN team can apply online via the website www.spartanchallenge.ie or on Facebook along with the reason why they think they should make the team to take on the challenge.
Once the SPARTAN team has been selected, they will receive a fitness programme from Karl Henry, a nutrition programme from Paula Mee as well as full running equipment. When the team start their training, they will blog regularly on the SPARTAN website. The website will also include motivational, fitness and nutrition videos from the expert panel and will be updated weekly with new content so that anyone can follow the programme, even if they are unsuccessful in the selection process.
The SPARTAN judged to have most fully embraced all aspects of the challenge will win a trip for two to New York to spectate at the New York City marathon on November 6th 2011.
Commenting on the launch of the SPAR SPARTAN Challenge, Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director, BWG Foods (owners of the SPAR brand in Ireland) said:
“At SPAR we’ve been successfully promoting leisure running in Ireland over the past number of years through our support for events including the Dublin Marathon, SPAR Great Ireland Run and the Join SPAR and Ray for 5k initiative last Spring. For us it’s a really meaningful approach to sponsorship as people aim to get out and get healthy during these tough economic times. The SPAR SPARTAN challenge really is the ultimate for fans of leisure running. Completing a marathon is a massive goal and ambition for many people and through the SPARTAN challenge we aim to make that goal a reality for people from all around the country.”
SPAR also aims to drive awareness and support for its charity of the year the 3Ts – Turning the Tide of Suicide. The 3Ts aims to heighten awareness of the problem of suicide in Ireland and to raise funds to help lower suicide rates through a dedicated helpline ‘1 Life’ (Free phone 1-800-24-7-100), research, educational support and intervention. The 1Life service is provided through a partnership involving the 3Ts and Console.
Kitchen Hero: Episode 13 "Food for a crowd"http://vimeo.com/28875609
Kitchen Hero: Episode 12 "Last Minute Fixs"http://vimeo.com/28874485
Kitchen Hero: Episode 11 "Sunday Lunch"http://vimeo.com/28873257
Kitchen Hero: Episode 10 "Birthday Party"http://vimeo.com/28872006
Kitchen Hero: Episode 9 "Gone Fishin'"http://vimeo.com/28870693
Kitchen Hero: Episode 8 "Food for Romance"http://vimeo.com/28869069
Kitchen Hero: Episode 7 "Summer BBQ"http://vimeo.com/25396333
Kitchen Hero: Episode 6 "Baking for Kids"http://vimeo.com/25178010
Kitchen Hero: Episode 5 "Asian Invasion"http://vimeo.com/25047532
Kitchen Hero: Episode 4 "Picnic for a 5 Mile Hike"http://vimeo.com/24518332
Kitchen Hero: Episode 3 "Band Reunion"http://vimeo.com/24514785
Kitchen Hero: Episode 2 "Friends for Dinner"http://vimeo.com/24161529
Kitchen Hero: Episode 1 "Surfs Up"
- Get cooking with Donal Skehan's new TV series on RTÉ sponsored by SPARhttp://vimeo.com/23873617
SPAR to Sponsor New RTE Cooking Show ‘Kitchen Hero’
- New TV series featuring Donal Skehan represents €400,000 marketing investment by the brand
SPAR Ireland is to sponsor RTE’s brand new cooking programme, ‘Kitchen Hero’ hosted by Donal Skehan, representing an overall marketing investment of €400,000 by the brand. SPAR’S sponsorship of the show, which goes to air on May 16th, is to include a brand new advertising campaign featuring popular SPAR character ‘Ferg’.
Marketing & Communications Director, BWG Foods (operators of the SPAR brand) Suzanne Weldon, said: “Kitchen Hero is an ideal partner for the SPAR brand because good food is at the heart of our business, as is convenient hassle-free shopping, and Donal’s cooking is all about good food, prepared in a hassle-free style. His recipes are designed to appeal to the at-home cook, many of whom probably frequent our stores for their ingredients.”
“As part of our sponsorship of Kitchen Hero, we have developed a brand new series of entertaining advertising stings featuring SPAR’s very own TV star ‘Ferg’, otherwise known as comedian Fred Cooke, who tries his hand at cooking with questionable success. The ads have been developed specifically with the show in mind, to reflect the fun aspect of Donal’s cooking, and with the ongoing popularity of cooking programmes amongst the Irish public we’re hoping they will hit the sweet spot with our customers,” said Weldon.
Described as ‘a cookery programme for first time cooks, students, toast burners and take-away regulars’, Kitchen Hero is presented by self-taught cook and 24 year old Donal Skehan, who has an award-winning food blog and two cook books. In the series, Donal prepares food for a surfing trip to Kerry, a home-made Chinese take-away, a romantic dinner, a birthday party, a barbeque and a band reunion.
The series has been created by TV food and travel specialists, Inproduction, who also produced Neven Maguire’s Home Chef, Clodagh McKenna’s Fresh From the Sea and Rachel Allen’s Favourite Food. All programmes, including Kitchen Hero, are directed and produced by David Hare, the company’s managing director.
There are 460 SPAR stores operating throughout the Republic of Ireland, providing employment for over 14,000 people locally and supporting many local Irish suppliers around the country. SPAR Ireland, part of the BWG Group, incorporates the three SPAR formats of EUROSPAR for family and supermarket shopping, SPAR for convenience and neighbourhood shopping, and SPAR Express for forecourt shopping.
PURDUE THRASHES MORE EXPERIENCED RIVALS - ESPANA TAKES MEN'S TITLE IN SPAR GREAT IRELAND RUN
Her victory and that of former European 5000 metres gold medallist Jesus Espana came on a magnificent day's competition with over 10000 entrants savouring the sunny conditions in Phoenix Park for the 10 kilometres race. The event organisers will be submitting an application to the IAAF for Silver Label status for the 2012 Great Ireland Run as they believe that all the required criteria may have been achieved to upgrade from bronze level. Purdue despite having ran the fastest five kilometres leg for her Aldershot club in the English National Road Relays the previous day, trounced her rivals when winning her race in a time of 32 minutes 42 seconds. The 19-year-old taking charge of the race after eight kilometres powered away to finish well clear of Gemma Steel who finished in a time of 33min 03sec with Nadia Ejjafini of Italy placing third in 33min 09sec. It was the testing pace of Ejjafini which initially destroyed the ambitions of pre-race favourite Ethiopia's Berhane Adere one of the world's greatest ever distance runners who fell away after seven kilometres and Hungary's highly experienced Aniko Kalovics who quickly followed.
Purdue in contrast always looked comfortable as the overseas visitors faded out of contention a fate which befell Ireland's s top stars Mary Cullen and Fionualla Britton whose hopes of a home victory were also dented. When Purdue the top non-African finisher at last month's IAAF World Cross Country Championships made her move, it was decisive and her razor sharp turn of pace quickly opened up a lengthy gap ahead of Steel and Ejjafini.
"The course was easier than I thought and it wasn't the plan to break away like that," said the reigning European Junior Cross Country champion who will very shortly depart for a period of high altitude training in Font Romeau, the French Pyrenees venue Paula Radcliffe uses. "At 5km I felt as if I was jogging and then at 8km I could hear everyone around me breathing heavily, so I just went."
Purdue who some believe could eventually follow in the footsteps of Radcliffe, dismissed suggestions that two hard races within 24 hours was probably too much for a 19-year-old. "It didn't affect me at all and in my head I didn't think about it," she said. "The volume of training I do prepared me for the races."
Espana produced a lethal finish in the final 1200 metres to clinch the men's title in a time of 29min 26sec ahead of Finland's Jussi Utriainen and Martin Fagan.
The Spaniard was content to follow the pace particularly when defending champion Fagan took charge in the second half of the race which saw the demise of the highly fancied Sergey Lebid of Ukraine and Portugal's Rui Silva.
With two kilometres remaining that left the host nation's Fagan in the driving seat with Espana and Utrianen determined to prevent him notching another victory.
Espana made that a definite fact when unleashing a turn of speed which saw him open a 25 metre gap within the space of the next 100m as he powered to a five seconds win from the Finn and Fagan who clocked 29min 35sec.
"I suffered a lot in the race because Martin made it hard," said Espana who failed to defend his European title in Barcelona last summer when beaten into second place by Mo Farah.
The meeting's first ever Spanish champion added: "But towards the end I started feeling good, but it was still very difficult for me to win."
Fagan who triumphed 12 months ago against domestic opposition because of flight cancellations caused by the volcanic ash disruption on travelling, declared himself happy with another podium finish.
The USA-based star, said: "It was totally different from last year where I felt I was just running against the clock. Today it was an international field."
Fagan recently returned from injury and whose immediate future aim is qualifying for the 2012 Olympic marathon added: "Off four weeks training I feel a different person. It's more than I expected."
Jedward Launch the 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run
John & Edward call on runners to sign up to raise funds for ‘1Life’ 24 hour Suicide Prevention Helpline
Eurovision hopefuls Jedward were in Dublin today for the official launch of the 2011 SPAR Great Ireland Run which takes place on Sunday April 10th in the Phoenix Park. It is anticipated that the event will attract record numbers with 12,000 participants expected to tog out on the day.
John and Edward were on hand to encourage individuals to run on behalf of SPAR’s Charity of the Year - The 3Ts (Turning the Tide of Suicide). The 3Ts aims to heighten awareness of the problem of suicide in Ireland and to raise funds to help lower suicide rates through a dedicated helpline ‘1 Life’ (Free phone 1-800-24-7-100), research, educational support and intervention. The 1Life service is provided through a partnership involving the 3Ts and Console.” The No. 1 killer of young men in Ireland is Suicide. Over 600 people in Ireland are estimated to die through suicide annually, 1 in 6 suicide deaths are males under 25 years, or almost 1 in 4 males under 35 years.
This is the second year that SPAR has been the title sponsor of the race which is open to runners and walkers of all abilities but will also feature some of the top middle distance elite athletes from the world of athletics including national indoor 1500m champion, Mary Cullen. Former World 10k champion Berhane Adere of Ethiopia will also compete along with Irish cross country champions Joe Sweeney and Ava Hutchinson and European Junior Champion Charlotte Purdue.
Competitors can register to take part at www.greatirelandrun.org.
Commenting at the sponsorship announcement, Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director, BWG Foods (owners and operators of the SPAR brand) said:
“We’re delighted to be once again taking on title sponsorship of the SPAR Great Ireland Run and Junior Race. Leisure running in Ireland has never been so popular with the number of participants increasing under more difficult economic times. Leisure running is a very positive activity, and a low cost way to exercise, and through SPAR's support for athletics events in this country we aim to encourage people to get out to participate.
In particular I’d like to thank John and Edward for their continued endorsement of the SPAR Great Ireland Run and in helping us to raise much needed funds and awareness for our support of the 1Life Suicide Prevention Helpline. 1Life is a very important community service. As a community based retail group, SPAR retailers are pleased to support this very worthy initiative. ”
2011 marks the ninth running of the event which has grown rapidly in popularity since the first run in 2003. The event is the largest mixed 10km race in Ireland and is preceded by the SPAR Junior Great Ireland Run for participants between the ages of eight and 15.
SPAR serves up Tasty Treat on last night's The Apprentice
SPAR has today announced that a brand new product from Irish supplier Broderick’s - the Chilly Brrrr Brrr Slippy Slice as featured on TV3’s The Apprentice last night - is now available in stores nationwide.
On last night’s show the Apprentices were asked to choose a product from a panel of Irish suppliers and create an innovative marketing and launch plan as part of SPAR’s ongoing Yes to Irish campaign. Team Fusion, who chose the snack bar manufactured by Barry and Bernard Broderick’s Dublin-based family business, were named winners of this week’s show after impressing the panel with their creative ideas.
Willie O’ Byrne, Managing Director, SPAR Ireland said: “The Broderick’s Winter Slice is a perfect fit with our ‘Yes to Irish’ campaign, which recognises the value that Irish consumers place in Irish-made products. SPAR’s involvement with The Apprentice this year has been extremely exciting for the brand and our retailers who were involved in selecting the winning product.”
“SPAR is an Irish company, dedicated to supporting local suppliers in the development of successful products and brands and we are delighted to add the Broderick’s products to our shelves. SPAR has a strong track-record of working with local Irish entrepreneurs to bring new products to market, lending our vast retail experience to ensure every possible chance of success,” said O’ Byrne.
Barry Broderick said: “Having our product stocked in hundreds of SPAR stores across Ireland is a dream come true for us. When you come up with a new product the biggest challenge is actually getting it to consumers. By partnering with SPAR we will be gaining access to over half a million consumers who shop in SPAR on a daily basis.”
The Chilly Brrrr Brrr Slippy Slice is available in 460 SPAR, SPAR Express and EUROSPAR stores throughout the country for €1.39.
SPAR Ireland is part of the BWG Group and incorporates SPAR for convenience and neighbourhood shopping, SPAR Express for forecourt shopping and EUROSPAR for supermarket shopping.
Remember Their Names: Jessica & Ben win Fame the Musical lead roles
In the final of RTÉ's /Fame the Musical/, in association with SPAR, Jessica Cervi from East Wall, Dublin and Ben Morris from Tallaght, Dublin sang their way to victory and clinched the male and female lead roles in the nationwide tour of Fame the Musical.
In the nail-biting and emotionally-charged live show at the Helix, 19-year-old Jessica and 23-year-old Ben won the nations' hearts and votes as they beat off stiff competition from the runners up, Sean Carey from Dunshaughlin in Co Meath and Sarah O'Connor from Lucan in Dublin.
Jessica said: 'I want to thank everyone who believed in me. Everyone in East Wall and every single person who voted for me.'
Ben said: 'I love you all, you're amazing.'
Judge Robert C Kelly said: 'I'm delighted, I can't wait to get started. It's going to be the most amazing show.' Original Fame TV Star Erica Gimpel said: 'I'm really happy for you both. You blew us out of the water tonight. I can't wait to see you in the musical.' Actor Simon Delaney said: 'I had the pleasure of directing Ben when he was around 14. Even then I could tell he was going to be a star.' Jacinta Whyte said: 'Both of you are going to be sensational. Fame the Musical is going to be such a sizzler.'
In a dazzling finale, featuring duets with West End star Susan McFadden and Noel Sullivan from Hear'Say, and an ensemble number reuniting the 12 performers from the live show, finalists were invited to choose their favourite song from the live shows and Jessica sang At Last by Etta James. She also performed a duet of You're The One That I Want from Grease, with Noel Sullivan.
Following Jessica's performance, Erica said: 'My dear, you sang from your heart. You are an incredible talent and a testament to what is possible when we give opportunities.' Jacinta said: 'You're a very special talent. You're got vocal power, charisma and a twinkle in your eye. That was a stunning performance.' Robert said: 'You're a huge talent. When you sing you can really sing. That was fantastic.' Simon said: 'You've got soul. It makes me proud to be a Northsider!'
Ben chose to perform Cry Me A River. He also performed 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' from The Lion King with Susan McFadden. Simon said: 'We watched you with Susan, standing beside a bone fide West End performer, and it's something you can get used to.' Robert said: 'I cannot believe you were ever in the bottom two. That was totally and utterly fantastic.' Jacinta Whyte said: 'You have been my leading man for a long time. You reduced me to tears there. You topped everything you've ever done.' Erica said: 'I'm so proud of you. You have become a master of your instrument!' causing the audience in The Helix to erupt in laughter.
For Ben and Jessica, it is a dream opportunity, launching their careers in musical theatre.
Jessica has been involved in musical theatre since the age of 10 and has appeared in a number of professional productions including High School Musical, Annie at The Olympia and Cork Opera House and pantos; Cinders, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and Robin Hood in The Olympia. Jessica got her first professional job when she was 15 in panto in The Olympia. Jessica currently studies dance in The College of Dance in Monkstown.
Ben moved to London to study musical theatre in London and began working professionally straight away after graduating. Ben first appeared in the 2007/2008 production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Savoy Theatre in the London's West End as an understudy. Ben has performed in a number of other professional shows in London and Dublin including Jack and the Beanstalk at Cork Opera House, Cinderella at The Gaiety in Dublin and the Irish tour of Oh What a Lovely War. Having moved back from London last year, Ben says he prefers to live in Ireland.
On the Show Finale, all 12 performers from the live shows were reunited to sing an ensemble number, Don't Stop Believing. Drew, Conleth, Hollie, Michael, Philomena, Caoimhe, Roisin and Stuart were back on stage with the Fame house band and the show's full troupe of dancers, to lend their support to the finalists.
Willie O'Byrne, Managing Director, BWG Foods, said: "As a community based retail group, SPAR Ireland is very pleased to have had the opportunity to partner with FAME, a programme which gave talented young people all over Ireland the chance to fulfil their dreams"
The stage tour of Fame the Musical, featuring Ben and Jessica as Nick and Serena, kicks off at The Grand Canal theatre on 20 August and will tour nationwide. See www.rte.ie/fame for tickets and information.
Fame The Musical is sponsored by SPAR.
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