THE GOAL of building a medical centre in Guatemala came a little bit closer on Sunday as grown-ups, children, babies in strollers and even the odd dog took part in the annual Hope Guatemala 5km Fun Run & Walk from Dingle to Ventry.
Goat Street was packed at 2pm as the Dingle Carnival Band warmed up the crowd ahead of their 2.30pm start. Organiser Eddy Dieckmann soon managed to round up the troops – who were in high spirits – for the off as Dingle Gardaí cleared the way for the event to begin.
Some of West Kerry's veteran runners, including long distance runner Jonathan Flannery from Dingle, set a quick pace over Milltown Bridge and on to Ventry via the back road. Some chose a more leisurely stroll while others opted for the bicycle. Even though many different modes of transport were employed – be it 'Shank's Mare' or the Unicycle – there was no doubt that a carnival atmosphere ensued with plenty of craic and chat along the route to Páidí Ó Sé's pub where a tortilla party was laid on by the Goat Street Café and live music by Thin Lizzy tribute band The Sidewalks, whose very talented members include Eddie's son, Ben.
Eddie said proceeds from the fun run and walk will go towards the continuing effort to provide education and essential services for the indigenous Mayan people of Guatemala who endure appalling poverty and discrimination.
While 2012's funds went towards the construction of a school, to Eddy this year's proceeds will be focused on helping to build a health centre in the highlands of Nejab which currently has no health service leaving the elderly, children and pregnant women in the precarious position of having to walk for five or six hours if they are in need of medical assistance.