WATCH: Thousands run Limerick Women's Mini Marathon

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

WATCH: Thousands run Limerick Women's Mini Marathon

Alan Kennedy, Tipperary, Paul Fitzgerald, Shannon, Declan Bromell, South Circular Road and Jim Liston, Newcastle West at the Cook Medical Women Mini Marathon in the University of Limerick -Dave Gaynor

AN estimated 2,500 athletes, fitness fanatics, charitable participants and men in quirky drag ran their hearts out this Sunday at the Limerick Women’s Mini Marathon.

The weather remained fine, as the 19th annual event, sponsored by Cook Medical, saw participants of all ages and backgrounds take part in the two races, one a 5km run, the other 10km at the University of Limerick (UL).

With a finishing time of 35 minutes and 44 seconds, Michelle Finn, a UL graduate in Irish and physical education, was crowned the winner of the 2017 showpiece.

She was followed by Finnish runner, Hilka Kaatra, now living in Castletroy and a member of the Limerick Athletics Club.

An elated Michelle declared herself “great” at being crowned the winner.

She said: “It was a really fun event. I did a good bit of training, ten hours a week. So it is great to be able to finish it.”

Asked how she was planning to celebrate, she said she will head to the Cork Jazz Festival.

While there was a competitive element to the race, hundreds took part to raise vital funds for several charities, including University Hospital Limerick’s oncology and pediatric fund.

A group of 30 people joined together to run in memory of Raheen girl Becky MacCauley, the 11-year-old who sadly died from cancer in 2012.

Among this number was Becky’s sister Rachel, and her boyfriend Shane O’Neill of Ballybricken, who donned a blonde wig and a frock to take part in the event.

Some well-known faces took part in the race, including Deputy Mayor, Cllr Marian Hurley, who fired the starting gun before completing 10km with her daughter Emma and former Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Hurley said: “It was a lovely event. A nice easy stroll! We were chatting all the way. We just loved it. It was great to be out on the old Dublin Road. I love the feeling you get from exercising. It clears the head, and there is such a feeling of unity around this.”

For more pictures and coverage, see the Limerick Chronicle, out Tuesday morning.