Thursday 29 September 2016

Everyone’s a winner as 35,000 hit streets

Downpour fails to dampen spirits at mini-marathon, writes Ciara Treacy

Ciara Treacy

Published 07/06/2016 | 02:30

A general view of participants in the 2016 VHI Women’s Mini Marathon which saw 35,000 participants take to the streets of Dublin to run, walk and jog the 10km route, raising much needed funds for hundreds of charities around the country. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
A general view of participants in the 2016 VHI Women’s Mini Marathon which saw 35,000 participants take to the streets of Dublin to run, walk and jog the 10km route, raising much needed funds for hundreds of charities around the country. Photo by Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Lauren Dunne and Emma dunno from Clondalkin celebrate with their medals. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Mary Walsh, from Paulstown, Kilkenny, with her daughters, Caroline, left and Denise, Kilkenny pictured before running the mini marathon. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Annmarie Shevlin, left and Eileen Drumgoole, from Carrickmacross Monaghan. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Ladies celebrate as they start the VHI womens mini marathon. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Michael Donavan and Sarah Murphy from Drogheda celebrate. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

A rainbow of colour flooded the streets of Dublin as sprinters, runners and walkers arrived at the starting line for the VHI Women's Mini Marathon.

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Some 35,000 ladies - and a few appropriately attired gents - took part in the annual 10k run winding through Dublin's city centre and beyond yesterday.

Joe and Kay O’Regan (80) finish the Cork Marathon hand-in-hand, 30 years after their first marathon together. Pic: Darragh Kane
Joe and Kay O’Regan (80) finish the Cork Marathon hand-in-hand, 30 years after their first marathon together. Pic: Darragh Kane

Amid the stretches and protein shakes, it appeared a heavy shower of rain was the best preparation for the day.

"It's actually good so we can cool down a bit and it's not too cold," Katie Griffin (23) from Drumcondra, Dublin, said during the downpour, which thankfully cleared before the starting whistle blew.

It was also welcomed by Maureen Armstrong (91), from Thurles, Co Tipperary, who was walking the course for the 22nd time.

"I've been doing it in aid of cancer all the time and have a lot of money raised," she said. "I love the attitude here and all the singing.

"I won't be tired at all afterwards. Sure I might be able to come back again tomorrow and do it again," she added defiantly.

In its 34th year, the mini-marathon is an important date in the calendars of many Irish women (and some extravagantly-clad men), and raises millions of euro for over 800 charities.

In a summer marked by the Euros and the Olympics, it is one sporting event which never focuses on taking home gold.

Rather, every participant is victorious from the moment they fasten their laces.

Damien Coleman, who broke the world record for running a marathon with a hurl and sliotar (4h28m) Pic Darragh Kane
Damien Coleman, who broke the world record for running a marathon with a hurl and sliotar (4h28m) Pic Darragh Kane

One group of 27 women from Co Roscommon were raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society - a fitting tribute for their late friend Mary Kelly-Higgins (41), a mother-of-three who died from the disease in February.

"Mary died at home - that's how she wanted to die and the Irish Cancer Society provided palliative care for her at home," said friend Linda McNally.

"She would be delighted to give something back. Her mam and sister-in-law are doing it with us and her husband is meeting us at the finish line."

Maria Costigan from Balbriggan, Dublin, was doing her seventh mini-marathon, this year to raise monies for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. She wanted to support the charity's effort to legalise the drug Orkambi for sufferers of the condition.

Emma Larkin, Niamh Sheridan, Lorraine Glavin, Vicky Burke-Kennedy, Aoife Mannion, and Jo Farrelly ran the mini-marathon in aid of Crumlin Children’s Hospital, St John’s Ward Oncology Unit
Emma Larkin, Niamh Sheridan, Lorraine Glavin, Vicky Burke-Kennedy, Aoife Mannion, and Jo Farrelly ran the mini-marathon in aid of Crumlin Children’s Hospital, St John’s Ward Oncology Unit

"Don't think about it, just do it," was her advice for the day. "And plenty of cocktails and sweeties afterwards."

The first past the finish line, Siobhan O'Doherty (31, inset left), said it was an emotional day for all who took part.

The Tipperary woman, who works as a physiotherapist in St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, finished with a time of 34min 30sec. It was her second win at the mini-marathon.

"I didn't think I was going to win so it's always good to get a win when you don't expect it," she said.

While many relaxed with cool packs and complimentary massages, this runner had a different form of post-race therapy in mind. "I'm going to go shopping. There is no Topshop in Kilkenny so it is my first port of call anyway.

Clodagh Smith, left and Lauren Walsh from Clondalkin at the start of the mini-marathon. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Clodagh Smith, left and Lauren Walsh from Clondalkin at the start of the mini-marathon. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

"My mammy Agnes always comes with me to this race.

"It's a really emotional race because everyone is doing it for a reason."

Irish Independent

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