THEY CAME to run, but for many running stalwarts and complete novices meeting rugby player Alan Quinlan and radio host Ray D’Arcy gave them that competitive boost before the starting gun was fired.
Dozens of people queued to have their pictures taken with the rugby giant and diminutive broadcaster at a 5km fun run in the city this Tuesday. For others, there simply wasn’t enough time to change into shorts and a t-shirt during the lunch-time run, as one man ran in his suit and changed only his shoes to run the few miles.
Time was certainly of the essence for corporate financier and business advisor Peter Keogh, of Keogh Somers chartered accountants at The Crescent in the city, who even ran with his briefcase in hand and a health supplement of The Irish Times under his arm as a joke.
Mr D’Arcy jokingly warned the 1,000 competitors that they had to run behind him throughout the race, but was overtaken in the final stages of the run from King John’s Castle back up towards O’Callaghan Strand. The first person to cross the finishing line was Dermot Kearns, 41, from the Old Cork Road, who runs with Dooneen club and is gearing up for the marathon in the Great Limerick Run in May.
“It was excellent, brilliant, great atmosphere,” said a breathless Mr Kearns. “It was great craic. We took off easily and gradually increased the pace.” He passed the line at 19 minutes 37 seconds, and was quickly followed by Mike Curley Cunningham, from Cappamore and Tom Blackburn from Galbally. Mr D’Arcy himself finished after 23 minutes, and hot on his heels was Laura Ryan, of the Limerick Communications Office.
Corbally man Gary Kirwan, who lost 13 stone last year and currently weighs around 28 stone, was cheered on throughout the route and offered some words of wisdom to other runners before the race. “Some of you may never walk or run again,” he said, as the crowd laughed. “Get out their and do your best. This really is the start of something special.” Limerick Athletic Club, with the assistance of Limerick County Board AAI, hosted the run.