Monday 11 December 2017

Frank Greally: Dublin relay event inspired by Danes

Spar great Ireland run
Spar great Ireland run
Spar great Ireland run

Frank Greally

There promises to be some lively running action in the Phoenix Park on Thursday evening as over a thousand company teams take part in the annual Dublin Staff Relay, an event that continues to grow rapidly.

Over 5,000 runners (in teams of five) are expected to take part in the relay, which consists of five 5km legs on a largely off-road course. This is an event with a great carnival atmosphere, complete with a tented village, music and entertaining commentary. Now in its fourth year, The Dublin Staff Relay success story reflects the surge of interest in running by staff in companies, big and small, right across the country.

The Dublin Staff Relay was launched four years ago by former international race walker Pierce O'Callaghan and his team at Savvy Sports Ltd. The event was based on a hugely successful week-long corporate running event that O'Callaghan had witnessed in Copenhagen.

Launched four years ago, the DHL-sponsored Copenhagen Corporate Running Festival takes place over five evenings, with a total participation of over 186,000 and is the largest fun run in the world.

O'Callaghan was quick to recognise the potential this type of event could have in Dublin and the inaugural Dublin Staff Relay proved a soaring success, with team entries increasing year on year.

SSE Airtricity, title sponsor of the Dublin Marathon, has the biggest complement of team entries in this year's Dublin Staff Relay. The company has entered 30 teams of five, a sure sign that the company's Dublin Marathon sponsorship is having a ripple effect at staff level. Several other companies have also entered multiple teams.

"Events like the Dublin Staff Relay are great for team building and keeping morale high among staff," said Peter Kelly of financial outsourcing company Certus. The Certus team is still celebrating its third straight Corporate Team victory in the SPAR Great Ireland Run and is also hopeful of regaining the Dublin Staff Relay title won in 2012. Last year's title was claimed by Athlone Institute of Technology, but the Certus team is eager to reclaim the high ground on Thursday night.

A total of 99 staff from Eircom participated across a range of events in the recent Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run and returned to their Dublin office near Heuston Station with the overall title of Fittest Company.

Dublin Staff Relay founder Pierce O'Callaghan will be making a 'flying visit' to this year's event as he arrives in Dublin on Wednesday from Baku in Azerbaijan where he has taken up a position as Director of Sport for next June's inaugural European Games. Thursday night's Dublin Staff Relay in the Phoenix Park starts at 6pm sharp.

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Twitter: @Irishrunnermag

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