Athletes reach the finish line at the Great Limerick Run 2018 in the heart of O'Connell Street PICTURE: DAVE GAYNOR
IT’S been a golden day in the city as thousands of people have taken part in the ninth annual Great Limerick Run.
The city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, was closed off from early on Sunday, as up to 13,000 runners of varying abilities took part in the Bon Secours hospital sponsored event.
Limerick basked in sunshine and warm weather throughout the event, something welcomed by spectators – but less so for many of the athletes, who complained it made conditions tougher.
But the sun most definitely shone on Kildare man Peter Mooney, who won the marathon with a time of 2.29.23. He was followed by Cork’s Eoin Sugrue who was a further three minutes behind.
Elsewhere, thousands of people ran for personal targets and good causes as part of the six-mile fun run.
One of them, Adare man Shane Quill, a member of West Limerick Athletics Club, feels he may have had a bit of divine inspiration before the start of the run.
“I met some people who were looking for for the Jesuit Church. I walked them up the road, and said i’d stay in the Latin Mass for ten minutes. So it hopefully helped me out a bit,” he laughed.
As for the race, Shane added: “It was very warm! I was delighted with my time. The atmosphere was unreal, and only for the weather, we might not have had as many spectators.”
Around 35,000 spectators lied the routes across Limerick to cheer on the runners who took part in the largest mass participation sport to be held outside Dublin.
Metropolitan mayor Sean Lynch was on hand to present the medals to the various winners.
He said: “It is a wonderful day. It’s the day we have been waiting for. For the athletes all the hard work is over – they just needed to get out there and do it. Forget about the miles, think of the glory. There’s going to be aches and pains, but the pride of doing it is going to last forever.”
To the city alone, the run is estimated to be worth in the region of €4m, while €1m is anticipated to be raised for good causes.
Riverfest continues into this Sunday evening, with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Shannon from around 9pm.
The festival ends this Monday.
For more information on what's on, visit: www.limerick.ie/riverfest, and for more pictures, and reaction to the weekend’s events, see Wednesday’s The Leader, and the weekend Limerick Leader editions.
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