THE FAMILY that runs together, stays together.
For the fourth year in a row, father and son Alan and Taylor Gleeson will line out for the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run this May.
Alan, 45, from Castletroy, has five marathons under his belt, competing in London, New York, Chicago, Paris and the Ironman in Frankfurt.
But he has yet to do the marathon in Limerick, because he has raced by the side of his 11-year-old son Taylor in the six-mile race.
“He beat me last year by 20 seconds,” laughed Alan. “He has beaten his time year on year, getting down from 1.12 to 52 minutes and 49 minutes last year.”
Taylor wasn’t too worried about this time, but was quietly confident he might be able to overtake his father again in the final metres.
More and more children are taking part in the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run, and this year in excess of 1,500 are expected to take part.
There will be three events for children - a two-mile race for 8-12 year-olds, a 1km race for 4-7 year-olds and race on the track for children in wheelchairs.
Ciara Macken and her friend Jane Byrnes, both aged 11 from Castleconnell, are looking forward to taking part in the two-mile for the first time this year.
Ciara will be good hands as her dad is Phelim Macken, the director of Limerick County Sports Partnership. “There was over 600 people at the Operation Transformation walk on Saturday, and another 1,500 people at the Milford Hospice 10km run on Sunday, so it’s great to see so many taking part in the sport in just one weekend,” said Mr Macken..
Speaking at the launch of the event this week, the Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin said the run is becoming an “iconic” event in the city.
“It’s for the lifestyle of the people of the city that I’m excited about. We all look forward to the rugby team doing well and we should be looking forward to this,” he said.
Now in its fourth year, it is expected that this year’s event will break the 10,000 participants’ mark for the first time on Sunday, May 5.
Barringtons Hospital in Limerick has been signed up as the first ever title sponsor of the Great Limerick Run in a three-year deal for an undisclosed sum.
Failte Ireland has also identified the event, which was worth €2.4m to the city last year, as one of the main Gathering activities for Limerick in 2013.
Barringtons Hospital managing director Denis Cahalane said that the hospital is delighted to be associated with the run.
He said they had never done anything like this, but he felt it was important to give something back to the city. “We see this sponsorship as a great opportunity for Barringtons to promote the importance of an active life style, good health and wellbeing.
“Exercise relieves stress, achieves weight loss and the risk of related illnesses such as coronary diseases and cancer. This is an event for everyone and generally, participation in events such as this invokes physical, mental and social benefits so we couldn’t have come on board with a better event,” said Mr Cahalane, who has committed to taking part himself.
Event organiser John Cleary said having a title sponsor come on board just four years into the event “speaks volumes” for its success.
“Barringtons Hospital will bring not just some financial support to the event but medical expertise and advice in the run-up to and on the day of the event.”