Ladies under starter's orders for another record-breaking race
MORE than 40,000 women will line out this afternoon for the world's biggest all-female road race.
Not even the ending of the country's brief heatwave will dampen the spirits of the mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, and friends, who will run, jog, and walk, the 10km route of the Flora Women's Mini Marathon in Dublin.
And with more than €10m being raised for various charities through the event, the participants will be able to put their feet up this evening with double the sense of achievement.
Almost 780,000 women have run in the mini marathon since it was first held in 1983. Since then, close to €137m has been collected, making the race the biggest one-day charity event in the country.
Event spokeswoman Jackie Wright told the Irish Independent that the race had taken on a life of its own.
"It's the biggest single-start all-women's road race in the world. It began with just over 8,000 women and basically they have taken it on and made it what it is," Mrs Wright said.
"We always say that if we didn't turn up on race day the women would do it anyway."
Margaret Goodwin and her friend Ria Stewart are two of just 18 women who have participated in each of the 28 Dublin mini marathons held so far.
"We loved it the first year so much that we said we'd do it again and I suppose each year we've always enjoyed it so we just become determined to do it the following year," Mrs Goodwin, from Co Wicklow, said.
"There's a group of us but over the years people have dropped out for different reasons but myself and Ria have never missed a year."
The 58-year-old said she ran the course for the first 20 years but admitted that this time around she might be doing more of a jog on the 10km course.
"We're getting a bit older now, we have a few aches here and there but we do our best, we get around the course as best we can," she added.
The race starts at 3pm from Fitzwilliam Square and will loop through the embassy belt of south Dublin to the overpass on the Stillorgan Road at the UCD Belfield campus before heading back to the city through Donnybrook, along Leeson Street and onto the finish in St Stephen's Green.
Bernie Wright is advising women to make sure they are well-hydrated before setting out.
"We tell them to sip little and often. The other big message is get to the start area in plenty of time, the different start zones close at 2.30 so it's important for people to get in and not be rushing."
To accommodate the race, road closures and diversions will be put in place along the route and on adjoining roads for much of the day.