THE 2013 Dingle Women's Mini-Marathon enjoyed a supremely successful inaugural outing as 628 competitors lined out for the off in Daingean Uí Chúis last Saturday.
The event, which had been heartily endorsed by some of the country's most recognisable figures, including Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Miriam O'Callaghan, took in some of Corca Dhuibhne's most beautiful terrain in a 10km course devised to suit novice runners to seasoned campaigners.
A carnival atmosphere was certainly palpable at the onset as lady competitors, running in aid of the local secondary school, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, and the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, were joined by a few rogue gentlemen who, in solidarity, donned ladies attire in order to run the course.
The event also enjoyed an international dimension with competitors from as far afield as the United States and the UK also taking part.
Then it was down to the more serious task of running with a strong group emerging from the onset as competitors left Dingle town via the Marina, the Wood and Baile an Mhuilinn before setting their sights on the west, taking in a rural course of An Bóthar Fada, Baile Íochtarch, Mullinagleamaig, Cnoc na hAbha, Ladies Cross and back to the finish line in Dingle town.
First past the post, in a time of 39.19, was Kerry woman Marie McCarthy from Milltown-Castlemaine. Hot on her heels was Cill Chúile native (now living in Douglas, Cork), Fionnuala Desmond in a time of 42.38. Third place went to another Kerry lady, Norah Barry from Lisselton, who finished in 43.11.
Fourth place went to Sarah Devane of Dingle (43.50), followed by Mary O'Shea of Sneem in fifth place (45.58).
Margaret Carnin of Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry came sixth (46.03), with Geraldine Breen of Sneem in seventh place (46.26). Castlegregory lady Suzanne Hall came a respectable seventh in a time of 46.30 followed by Limerick's Sarah Kiely (47.10) and Amy Ní Bhriain of Dingle (47.20) in ninth and tenth place respectively.
According to race organiser Seán Ó Suailleabháin, the inaugural staging of the event was a great success and consequently the date for next year's Dingle Women's Mini Marathon has already been set for Saturday, May 17, 2014 with registrations already open at DingleMiniMarathon.com.
"We were hoping for between 400 and 500 competitors, to have 628 on our first outing was really encouraging," he said.
"Dingle Women's Mini Marathon 2013 certainly surpassed our expectations. We wish to extend our sincere thanks to the participants and also to the many individuals and sporting clubs who were very giving of their time in supporting staging the event. It was a great day."