ONE THOUSAND runners and walkers took part in the Ray D’arcy run in Limerick city this Wednesday - his only sell out run among five venues in the country.
Comedian Pat Shortt and singer Niall Breslin were among those put through their paces in the 5km run around the city, starting from O’Callaghan Strand.
It is the second time that Limerick has hosted the event, which is organised by Today FM and AAI Athletics Association of Ireland.
The route took in the North Circular Road, Shannon Bridge, Arthur’s Quay, King John’s Castle, and Sarsfield Bridge, before finishing back at O’Callaghan Strand.
Also held in Letterkenny, Athlone, Cork and Dublin, the run is in its second year and designed to promote fitting in fitness into your lifestyle - hence its lunchtime slot, which saw the masses turn out in a sea of luminous green t-shirts.
“We can’t compete with the giant Granny, but we’ll do our best,” said the Today FM radio host at the starting line.
Limerick’s so-called Mr Motivator - fitness trainer Richie Clifford of the University of Limerick Arena - warmed up the crowd in advance of the 1pm start.
But it was perhaps a little too energetic for some. “I’m f***ed,” said a near breathless Pat Shortt. “Enjoy the day out, and if you don’t see me halfway through I’ll be at Tom Collins’ pub.”
Ray encouraged runners to run with him for the first 2.5km, saying the event is called “‘Run with Ray’, it’s not ‘let’s beat Ray’! But you can go hell for leather after that.”
Singer Bressie, who is now a regular visitor to the city as he is filming a new TV series here, said after his hometown of Mullingar Limerick would be his second favourite place to live. “I’ve become very close to this city over the past number of months. I think running has become the most positive and pro-active thing you can do for your physical and mental health, so it’s amazing to see this amount of people here and I’m delighted to run with you all,” he said.
The Limerick event was managed in conjunction with two running clubs in Limerick – Emerald AC and Dooneen AC.
Running clubs in Limerick said they have worked hard over the last number of months in promoting the race and offering ‘couch to 5k’ training in the People’s Park three times weekly.