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Athletics: Darkness into Light to shine brightly

ONE standout running event that touched me deeply last year was the Darkness into Light 5k event in aid of Pieta House in the Phoenix Park.

There was something very moving about this event which started in the darkness near the Papal Cross at 4.0, not long before daybreak.

There were a few thousand participants in last year's event and I expect to see a much bigger gathering this Saturday, May 12. The walk, jog or run event will again start in darkness and finish as dawn is breaking.

This is an event where both a sense of loss and hope is palpable among the participants -- some of whom have lost loved ones through suicide.

This darkness into light event is a key fundraiser for Pieta House, the only organisation in the country providing a professional, face-to-face, free-of-charge therapeutic service for people in the acute stages of suicidal distress.

Pieta's primary aim is to help reduce the incidence of suicide by helping people get through that critical phase when suicide becomes a plan rather than just an idea.

Last year the Pieta House Darkness into Light event went nationwide with events taking place in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Ennis and Killarney.

This year there will be even more events as the list grows -- Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Clare, Waterford, Tipperary, Roscommon, Cavan and Laois all host events.

Pieta House has helped over 6,000 people since 2006. Last year the organisation opened its second national centre in Limerick, an addition to the charity's existing facility in Lucan, as well as its three outreach centres in Finglas, Ballyfermot and Tallaght.

Annual running costs are €1.3m, so fundraising promotions such as the Darkness into Light 5k event are vital to guarantee the future of this free service. For more information about this unique running event visit www.pieta.ie or view the video from last year at https//vimeo.com/11595665

Don't miss a rare and profound running experience.

Meanwhile, this Sunday's Terenure 5-Mile Road Race -- an event long promoted as the Dublin 5-Mile Classic -- should see some fast times recorded as a new course over two laps has been designed by the organisers.

This is an event with a long tradition -- the inaugural Dublin 5- Mile Classic was organised by Sportsworld AC back in 1985. The race starts at 11.0 near the event HQ at Terenure College and the new two-lap course should be ideal for spectators. The online entry is €20 and late entries at €25 will be taken up to 10.30 on race day. Register online at: www.terenure5mile.com

David Campbell is best know as a track specialist, but on Saturday he took to the roads and came home a winner in the Business Houses Athletic Association RTE 5-Mile Road Race in Donnybrook.

Campbell finished strongly in 24:31 -- ahead of Sean Hehir, 24:37 and Eoin Flynn, 25:08. Aoife Talty won the women's race in 27:37 from Laura Shaughnessy, 29:35 and Mairead O'Callaghan, 30:04.

The next BHAA race on the calendar is the annual ESB Beach Race over 5km, which takes place on Tuesday evening next in Sandymount -- starting at 7.30. Race HQ is the Clana Gael/ Fontenoy GAA Club, Sandymount. Information from: www.bhaa.ie

Irish Independent