ATHLETE-turned-politician Eamonn Coghlan was taking it all in his stride as he left Fine Gael young gun Leo Varadkar trailing at the St Stephen's Day GOAL Mile fundraiser in Dublin.
Senator Coghlan joined Fine Gael earlier this year and he was hoping the hundreds of people turning out for the event at the Metro St Brigids (MSB) athletics club in Porterstown Park, Castleknock, would help beat last year's total of €3,500.
Dublin West TD Leo Varadkar, who had a slight limp from a muscle twinge, said he had far too many New Year resolutions to reveal, but that they might include taking a "little more time to go running, swimming and getting some exercise".
The Sports and Tourism Minister expects a hectic start to 2013, with his 'The Gathering' tourism bid getting under way on December 31.
"I don't know if I did do an injury, I think I just need to stretch it out," he said.
"If I do it in under seven minutes I'd be happy enough," the minister quipped before making a beeline for the starting post.
He managed seven minutes 30 seconds – just 10 seconds behind former top middle distance runner Coghlan (both pictured).
The first race was claimed by David Troy (12) in a time of six minutes 21 seconds as they dubbed the young MSB athlete the new Eamonn Coghlan.
Lisa O'Shea, from GOAL, said there had been 100 Christmas GOAL Miles taking place throughout the country from last Friday until New Year's Eve, with an estimated 45,000 taking part.
"It is easy, fun and about the community spirit," she said, adding that they were major fundraisers for the charity.
"You don't pre-register and you throw a few bob into the bucket on the day."
Mother Ita Glynn had her hands full as she steered Ewan Glynn (4), along with his friend Jake O'Neill (5), towards the finishing line.
"The running is great," she said, explaining her older children had been training four times a week while the young ones had just started. Fun runners and serious athletes can view the dates and locations of the remaining GOAL Mile events on www.goal.ie