Meet three ‘Wonder Women’ of Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon
Meet three ‘wonder women’ …
With 35,000 runners, walkers and joggers hitting the starting line for this year’s Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, what makes these three women stand out?
They can each boast the extraordinary feat of having competed in every single Women’s Mini Marathon without fail since the event began 35 years ago.
Trish Horgan from Whitehall, Dublin; Margaret McBride from Galway and Carol Ormon from Bray, Co. Wicklow are in an elite band of women who were there from the start and have seen the event grow and grow year after year.
4 Children Under 6
Wonder woman Trish Horgan from Whitehall in Dublin had 4 children under 6 when she first did the Women’s Mini Marathon 35 years ago. Her twin boys were only a year and eight months old.
So what convinced her to do the Women’s Mini Marathon that first time?
“I loved my young family dearly, but this was a great chance to escape for a little while! I first went out and started to train for my sanity! I used to go out for an hour or so with two of my pals. I came home and my legs were killing me and my husband asked me how long had I run – I said about 5 or 6 miles but when I went out with him in the car I realised that it was only 2 miles. He got involved and started to encourage me and I started to run longer distances”.
Trish spotted that the Women’s Mini Marathon was starting. “It was something different. I had the feeling that it was going to be something big. There had never been anything like that in Ireland before. I loved fitness and dancing. I also heard that you could walk it if you wanted to.”
“I’m Never Doing that Again!”
Looking back at her first event, Trish remembers that her race number was 3256. “My twins had a sign saying ‘come on number 3256’ waiting for me and cheering me on at Leeson Street.” So how was that first race? “I cried my eyes out and threw up. Someone met me with a mile to go and handed me an orange – it was the worst thing ever. When I got over the line at 74 minutes, I said ‘I’m never doing that again’.
“However after I had my shower things were different. It’s just been like a drug ever since and I am lucky that I have the health to do it. When the charities got involved it was great. People are helping the most amazing causes - from heart disease to cancer and there are women with t-shirts on, with pictures of people with heartrending stories.”
“I live for it now”
Trish has supported 3 charities over the years – the Irish Heart Foundation, Alzheimers Society and cancer research. “I change every 10 years.” She credits her husband Paddy and her children Nicola, Darren, Keith and Niall for their fantastic support.
“I live for it now. I start thinking about it every year after Christmas. I jog once a week for a mile or two and when it comes to January or February I start to do more. As many young people as possible should try to do it. Women are great. They just get on with it. Whatever ups and downs they have they just bounce back and say tomorrow is another day. It’s great to have your health and be able to get involved.”
“After You’ve Done it 10 Times You’ve Got to Keep Going!”
“After you’ve done it 10 times you’ve just got to keep going!”, says another ‘wonder woman’ Carol Ormon from Bray, Co. Wicklow who has run the Women’s Mini Marathon every year since its foundation.
Recalling the time when she first became involved: “At that time, women were not running around the streets exercising. You rarely saw a woman in shorts outside of the beach at that time!”.
Carol worked at the time as a psychologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital at Crumlin. “I always believed that it was good for your health to run short distances. I saw that the Mini Marathon was being launched and thought it was a great idea to do something to unwind after work, so I started to run at Marlay Park two evenings a week. I felt it was a very healthy thing. I loved training up there with women, all with a single purpose. We had a good laugh and there was great camaraderie and I then talked a few friends in to doing it too”.
“Nowadays, even though I’m getting older I do feel that the training makes me feel really much healthier. I was up this morning to play tennis and then ran 5k and I feel all the better for it.”
“My daughter Catherine wanted to run with me in the early years, but she was too young and had to wait until she was 14. I used to be faster than her but now she leaves me for dust!”
“I like to come charging in!”
“Even at my age I want to do a good time. I used to do it in under the hour but now if I get in in an hour and 15 or 20 minutes I’m happy. I love looking around on the day and seeing everybody and I pace myself so that I can still have enough to put on some speed at the end and come charging in!”
“In the early days, it was extraordinary and there were so many people standing up and clapping. Now I have such respect for the bands that play music along the way and it gets everybody jizzed up”.
“I do it for my own physical and mental wellbeing”
Carol has run for many different charities over the years including Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and more recently the charity Concern. “But I also do it for my own physical and mental wellbeing and the friendship, and for the spirit of it. Women should run because it’s a good healthy thing to do and say ‘I have a right to do this for myself’. It is wonderful to see that millions and millions of euros have been raised over the years”. Carol is a big advocate of parkrun and often does them as part of her training. “They are fabulous and free and it is great to see people out enjoying nature."
“I am looking forward to this year. With the weather improving it is a lovely feeling to feel yourself getting stronger with training. I’m definitely a better tennis player from all the running and I can get from the back of the court to the net very quickly. Running can give you an invincible feeling.”
Carol has had setbacks over the years from a sprained ankle to a spider bite but has still endured and never missed a year of the run.
“I thought it was a great idea”
Margaret McBride, now 63, is one of the group of ‘Wonder Women’, which also includes Rosemary Halpin (Dublin); Joan Brady (Dundalk); Angela McLoughlin (Sligo); Brenda Preston (Celbridge); Sheila Merne (Dublin); Mary O’Colmain (Dublin); Ann Quinn (Dublin) and Anne Hynes (Dublin).
“I had always done a little bit of running at school and my brother was an athlete. I saw the ad back then for the first mini-marathon ever – just for women. I thought it was a great idea,” recalls Margaret McBride. “I went up that first year and I haven’t felt the 35 years passing. I did it for Crumlin Children’s Hospital.”
“You don’t have to be big into running to do it. I try to do it in between 50 and 60 minutes and some years I have bettered my best record. I’m happy enough to get in under the hour,” says Margaret.
“The atmosphere is magical”
“The atmosphere is magical the whole way around. We had a fantastic time for the 25th anniversary of the run. We were brought to Dublin and a presentation was made to us. We were on an open-top bus and we got to start the race that year right behind the elites which was amazing.”
“On the day of the run there is so much going on. It is so lovely to see so many people out and people are actually starting to recognise one another at this stage”.
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