GOAL Mile goes global to hit €200k fund target
THIS year's GOAL Mile fundraising drive is set to be the biggest ever with the overseas aid charity hoping to raise €200,000 over the festive season.
The charity, which is involved in aid efforts in 13 countries including Syria and the Philippines islands, is holding over 100 walks around Ireland.
And this year the event has gone global with troops set to take part in a Christmas Day hike in the Lebanon and the Golan Heights. Sonia O'Sullivan will host her own event in Melbourne next Saturday, the first ever GOAL Mile in Australia.
GOAL chief executive Barry Andrews said that the GOAL Mile raised over €150,000 last year. He told the Irish Independent: "We hope to meet last year's amount and because we have an extended number this year and we have a few overseas there's no reason why we shouldn't head towards €200,000 this year."
He said that the GOAL Mile has become a "Christmas institution" adding that it appeals to everyone from "people pushing a buggy or walking the dog to half-mad fellas like me trying to beat the four-minute mile".
This year has seen a competitive edge with celebrity backers already vying to complete the mile in the fastest time.
Mr Andrews said his best effort was seven minutes and 19 seconds, while Kilkenny hurler Richie Power currently tops GOAL's leaderboard with the mile completed in 5m 10s.
Rugby player Jamie Heaslip is next on 5m 17s while his teammate Leo Cullen, who rowed his mile, is two seconds behind.
Former 5,000m world champion Eamonn Coghlan ran the mile in 6m 08s.
Mr Andrews will join Senator Coghlan and Dublin footballer Alan Brogan at the GOAL Mile in Kilbogget Park, Killiney, south Dublin, on Christmas Day.
Thousands of people will take part in the walks around the country over the next week, with GOAL Mile events already having taken place in New York, London and Dubai.
Mr Andrews says that the work his agency is doing in northern Syria, providing food and supplies to refugees who have been internally displaced due to the civil war, is "our biggest programme by budget in our history".