OVER 12,000 people have taken part in the Barrington’s Hospital Great Limerick Run.
The number of participants this year is a record for the run, which boasted six different events in total and is celebrating its fifth staging in the city.
Kenyan Lezan Kimutai won the marathon event in a time of two hours and twenty five minutes.
The runner, who has four children and is 41 years of age, has run marathons all over the world, including an ultra-marathon in Connemara, a mere 70km in total.
He said of the race: “It is very nice, I love it. I feel fantastic. It was easy. I tried to relax. It is a lovely course.
“I feel relaxed, the race was very nice and guys ran together, two very strong Irish guys. I love the course, there was no problems, it was ok for me,” he added.
Gary O’Hanlon from Dundalk, who will be 40 years of age in August, came home second, while Phillip Harty from Dungarvan finished third in the marathon event.
Tullamore’s Pauline Curley was the first woman home in the blue riband marathon event. The 45 year old chef ran for Ireland in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and came home in two hours, fourty-four minutes, thirty seconds.
“I am delighted with that. It was a tough course, undulating and it was quite breezy but I am delighted with the win,” she said.
Over 1,000 participants took part in the marathon event, 2,000 in the half marathon, plus over 100 relay teams while the bulk of participants were taking part in the six mile - or 10km - event, which began at Pery Square at 1.30pm, more than 6,500 in total.
Participants came from all over the world, including the UK, US, Italy, Canada, France, Holland, Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain, plus a large contingent from Chicago.
Race director John Cleary the reaction to the race was “fantastic, that is all you can hope for, a big crowd and everyone got off safe and home safe as well”.
“It is all about promoting Limerick, showing the positive side. Just to be part of it is what everyone wants,” he said.
“Everyone plays their part - this is a Limerick gig and it is great.
“At a national level, people will judge for themselves, but in a few years we are the biggest event outside Dublin, we are growing faster that any event, we have continued to do so, even when other events are going down, so I think that tells its own tale.
“The most important thing is that it is a good event, the people of Limerick are proud of it and I think it is doing all those things.”
Some 75 companies also took part in the fittest company challenge in the race.
Fifteen bands, from the Boherbouy Band to Leading Armies, with gospel, reggae and jazz on offer around the course, and competitors referenced the entertainment and particularly the support from cheering crowds as helping them over the line.
City and county manager Conn Murray competed in the half-marathon and said at the finish line that it was “tough but very enjoyable, the crowds were great”.
“One thing I heard out there from other people is that is the best organised event in the country. The reaction was fantastic. I am feeling great now,” he added.
Lorraine Fanneran who runs La Cucina restaurant in Castletroy ran the 10km race with husband Bruno and 20 family and friends to raise awareness for her breast cancer campaign, including Joy Neville, who captained the Irish Women’s rubgy team to Grand Slam glory last year.
“I had no intention of running any races and then I said you know what I was raising money for the National Breast Cancer Institute in Galway anyway so we decided around February we would do the race today,” Lorraine said before the race.
“Anybody can get cancer and the best thing is to catch it early and then just be positive. I was a bit teary this morning because I have put so much into my running since January I probably put all my focus into that so this morning.
“I flew through recovery with a positive mind but it’s probably through running as well,” she added.
For more coverage of the Great Limerick Run, see Tuesday’s Limerick Chronicle and the Limerick Leader broadsheet editions next week.