WITH excitement building over the city’s Riverfest weekend, some 50,000 people are set to line the city’s streets this weekend to view the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run.
For the first time in its six-year history registrations closed a week early, as all 10,000 slots across the series of races have been filled for this Sunday, May 3.
In addition, some 3,000 children will take part in the Kids Run for Fun this Saturday, May 2, at the University of Limerick, where the Expo will also be held on the same day.
To close registrations with a week remaining is a reflection on the continued growth and popularity of the event, said race director John Cleary. However, he said they could have easily accommodated some 15,000 people, but entries had to close due to logistical reasons.
“It is not that long ago when the event accepted race registrations right up to race day, which places huge pressure on the team in trying to accommodate individual needs of people,” he said.
Acknowledging that there will be many disappointed people who have not been able to register, event co-organiser Joe Leddin said that the team made a huge effort to keep the public informed.
“Through our various event media partners and social media we made it very clear that once we achieved the target figure of 13,000 registrations would close,” said councillor Leddin.
Close to 50,000 spectators are expected to line various parts of the race route from Pery Square, where the first whistle will be blown for the marathon runners at 9am, to the finish line on O’Connell Street. The international sports expo, which is been held in the UL Sports Arena between 10am to 6pm this Saturday, May 2, is open to members of the public to attend and visit the various retail and information stands that are offering race advice or promoting products and services.
Speaking on behalf of Barringtons Hospital, managing director Denis Cahalane said that “with registration now closed with one week remaining, the event had demonstrated the capacity to attract widespread appeal across all age groups and sections of society”.
Dozens of streets in the city will shut down this Sunday, which will see 10,000 entrants, including 1,000 doing the marathon, up to 2,500 doing the half marathon and the remainder competing in the ever popular six mile run.
Competitors from every county in Ireland and more than 22 countries are taking part this year, including the USA, Australia, UK, Germany, Spain, Canada, France, Poland, and Denmark. Mr Cleary is confident that they can hit their overall target of 15,000 for next year.
Thousands will be raising money for charity through the races, including Liam Mulcahy, whose daughter Sophie sadly passed away last year.
Liam, who in the past has organised events for Cycle for Sick Children, is running the marathon in his beloved daughter’s memory. His wife, son and other family members will be taking part in the half marathon. They have now set up Sophie’s Journey Foundation, to support in home respite for terminally ill children.