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Final call for Paddy's Day 5K

Final call for Paddy's Day 5kWITH time ticking away to Sunday's KBC St Patrick's 5k Festival Road Race, postal and online entries have been double last year's figure.

For the past two years, close to a thousand runners of all standards and abilities have lined out for the run -- a figure likely to be smashed next Sunday.

As always, expect to see lots of St Patrick's, leprechauns and shamrocks shuffling along in a race, which successfully combines serious racing up-front with a carnival atmosphere.

Escorting the race around the Georgian Dublin course are motorbiking friends of race director Eamonn Coghlan, whose late father Bill was the inspiration behind the original event in 1983.

With €1,000 going to the winning man and woman and €500, €250 and €100 for the second, third, a strong entry is guaranteed with some of the country's top club athletes lining out.

Mark Christie of Mullingar, who was outsprinted by Brian Farrell of Slí Cualann for victory last year leads the men's entry. Farrell, who is injured, won't be defending his title.

DSD's Linda Byrne, winner of the national cross-country title last Sunday, will be back to defend her title, although the race takes place a day after the Irish University Cross-County in Cork.

With other likely winners such as Deirdre Byrne and Hazel Murphy competing at the World Indoors, the women's race is wide open.

Late entries for €20 will be taken up to 11am on the day at Dublin's Mansion House, where families can also enter for just €35.

Afterwards, everyone can have their faces painted and head off to the Big Day Out at Merrion Square.

Souvenir T-shirts and a stuffed goodie bag go to the first 2,000 to enter and a portion of the entry fee goes to Temple Street Children's University Hospital. After the races, all participants return to the Mansion House for prize-giving and a warming cuppa.

p Not running but want to be part of it? Course director Eamonn Dolan would welcome offers of help. Contact him at 087-6703311.