This week sees the launch of the second Remembrance Run 5k, an event organised by Athletics Ireland in association with www.mycharity.ie, which takes place in the Phoenix Park on Sunday, November 10.
I will always be glad that I finally put thought into action, and with encouragement from Athletics Ireland, saw a little dream of mine unfold on a November Sunday last year when more than 1,000 took part in the inaugural Remembrance Run.
This year's event will again be a unique experience for the walker, jogger or runner. The 5k is within most people's compass and entrants will be encouraged to remember family or friends who have passed on, or who may be struggling with illness or other life challenges. One major target will be for those taking part to raise €200,000 for charities.
This year's event will have special significance for me as it is the 15th anniversary of the death of Noel Carroll – one of the closest friends I ever had. Noel was the original running guru, whose Drivetime spots on the then RTÉ Radio 2 helped runners prepare for the early Dublin Marathons.
Noel collapsed and died shortly after supervising a training session with some athletes at UCD in Belfield.
Competitive athletics – which took him all the way to the Olympics – was a lifelong passion for Noel, and when his own brilliant 800m career came to an end, he extended that passion to coaching. His protégées included David Matthews, who still holds the Irish 800m record; James Nolan, who works with Paralympics Ireland; and Andrew Walker, who operates a training camp in Gran Canaria.
Along with Louis Hogan of RTÉ Radio 2, Noel went to bat for the great event in 1980 and persuaded Dublin Corporation and the gardai to open the streets of the capital to runners. It is fitting that the winner of the Dublin Marathon each year receives the Noel Carroll Memorial Trophy, and I now plan on presenting a suitable memento, dedicated to Noel's memory, to one of the participants in the Remembrance Run who will be chosen from the body of the field.
We will remember William Claffey, too – the young man from Moate in Westmeath who collapsed and died in the Airtricity Dublin Half-Marathon, and I hope it is of some comfort to William's family and friends that he died doing something that he loved, which was simply, just running.
The theme song for this year's Remembrance Run will be 'Thank You for the Days' sung by the legendary Luke Kelly. Participants will also be invited to suggest favourite music for the playlist on race day.
It will also give us a chance to celebrate our own gift of days and fullness of health while remembering those close to us who have passed on; or family or friends who may be struggling with illness or other life challenges.
It will be a day to walk or run, but most of all, a day to pause and remember and write a few names on the special Remembrance Wall at the start and finish of the event. If you want a unique running experience, come to the Phoenix Park on Sunday, November 10. Check out www.remembrancerun.ie
'Irish Runner' marathon special on Sale Now
The latest issue of Irish Runner should be essential reading for anyone training for the Airtricity Dublin Marathon.
World champion Robert Heffernan features on the cover and there are tips from marathon training guru David Carrie and expert advice too on nutrition, injuries and tapering.
Irish Runner is available at newsagents or online at www.athleticsireland.ie