Julie Harte, a woman who attends the day classes at Carmona Services, Glenageary, will be taking part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon.

Harte, who has an intellectual disability, began taking part in a fitness class as part of her activities at Carmona and quickly fell in love with exercise.

Harte embraced a walking programme when her volunteer, Maire Ui Scolai, started taking her out on a weekly basis.

Now, she trains every week by going for walks in the Dun Laoghaire and Glenageary area.

Harte is the youngest from a family of two sisters and three brothers. She is the first in her family to take part in the event.

She will also be the first of her peers in the day service and residential home to participate in the race.

According to Ui Scolai, after one of their many nightly chats, she asked Harte would she like to participate in the Mini Marathon in June.

“Julie’s face lit up and immediately she said yes,” says Ui Scolai.

“From this night on a programme was implemented and Julie has never missed a training session regardless of the weather conditions.

“Julie has even coaxed her sister Aisling to partake on the day and checks in on her most nights to see if she has completed her training.

“Not only has Julie’s physical health improved it has impacted positively on her emotional wellbeing.”

Harte has been supported in her endeavours by the house staff and her housemates who have taken part in some of the walks as she trains for the event.

“Some of her housemates are now inquiring about participating for next year’s marathon,” says Ui Scolai.

“Maybe Julie could be their trainer!”

The services at Carmona are a part of the Saint John of God Hospitaller Services Group which provides a range of health and social care services for children and adults.

These include facilities at Saint Augustine’s School, City Gate in Sandyford, and STEP, a programme which helps adults with intellectual disabilities find employment.