It was impossible not to keep an eye on the weather as the days ticked over to the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon.
The early verdict seemed to err on the side of cloudy,and it was hard to know if our weather apps were going to prove prescient and deliver on their threat of rain.
This is Vhi’s first year as the flagship sponsor of the event, and their presence was in great evidence all around the course, with signs that served to keep the women inspired along the way. “You’re doing great!”, one read, and banners and balloons were set out to let everyone know that Vhi were behind them 100 per cent.
The inspiration had been building, thanks to Vhi’s support team. A downloadable app provided a training plan and updates from the team, which included David Gillick, who was in charge of nutrition support, medical advice from Dr Ui May Tan, top fitness advice from Louise Hegarty, and much needed comic relief from Maeve Higgins.
Louise wasn’t too put off by the weather. “It may slow some people down, but people have put in the training and they’ve faced some of these condition over the past few months, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a hindrance and perhaps will encourage them to run faster!” she said.
David Gillick was in charge of sharing his wealth of information about nutrition during all aspects of training, not the least of which was the all important race day. He believes that following a new regime has benefits even after the last participant has crossed the finish line. He said: “Away from training, there’s little things that people can implement in their lifestyle, and they can continue to avail of the benefits of it, and it’s a really, really positive.”
Lest we forget about the fun aspect of the day, Maeve Higgins has been working as the motivational ambassador. “It means you get to win,” she jokes, “You get to push the other ladies out of the way, and I get to win!”
All joking aside, she acted as a cheerleader to spur the women on in their goals. “I’ve been writing a piece every two weeks, I’ve been doing interviews — it’s been all about encouragement. I live in New York and I’ve been training there, so that’s why it’s been really good to have the app, to stay connected to everyone who was doing it here.”
The rain came and went but these amazing women are not made of sugar, and they were well prepared to face anything that the weather thought to toss their way. Rachel Byrne embarked on her first Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon as a walker, and agrees. She said: “It’s the usual in Ireland — whatever the weather is, we’re still going to do it!”