A GROUP of workers from the Athy International Concentrates plant have been busy training to take part in a 100km charity cycle next month.
The cycle to Athlone in aid of mental health awareness charity Grow Ireland will take place on Saturday 22 August and it will be undertaken in conjunction with colleagues in their sister plants at Ballina and Drogheda.
Tom Malone is the Human Resources Manager at Athy International Concentrates plant.
“Coca Cola has three sites in Ireland at Athy, Ballina and Drogheda within the Commercial Products Supply division and the idea of the cycle is that groups from the three plants will cycle almost exactly the same distance and hopefully arrive at the same time in Athlone. Last year we did a local cycle in memory of our former colleague Timothy Kelly who died in March 2013. Having done that we decided to do a longer cycle this year.
The Commercial Products Supply division nominates a charity that we support each year and this year Grow Ireland is our chosen charity.”
Ray Power is the Operational Excellence Co-ordinator at the Athy plant and he outlined the preparations which have been taking place.
“A few years ago it wouldn’t have been possible to organise an event like this. But in recent times there has been a renewed interest in cycling which coincided with Tim’s passing. Cycling is a sport which is as much about the mental challenge as it is about the physical endurance, so it is fitting that the charity we are supporting is a mental health charity.
“After last year a few of the guys who had taken part decided that they wanted to undertake a more challenging cycle and so we came together with our colleagues in Ballina and Drogheda to organise this event. We have 29 men and two women from Athy taking part and those taking part have been in training since January.”
On the day those who aren’t cycling won’t be left out of the action either. “Those who aren’t cycling can do either a seven or 14 kilometre walk or run here in Athy. The route will focus on the bridges, rivers and canals and we would hope to have another 20 or 30 taking part in this event. Both events will start from here on the morning of 22 August.
“Some of the guys doing this are in their 50s and wouldn’t have been on a bike since they were children and because of the training they think nothing of getting up on the bike and doing a 70km spin. A support team will travel with the cyclists including our occupational health nurse Sian Keary and John Fox from the Athy Bike Shop who is helping out with the servicing and transport of the bikes. These events are part of the Coca Cola’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative and we are delighted to have the support of the public who have been sponsoring and donating funds to our colleagues who are taking part.”