THE Limerick women’s mini marathon is back - returning for its 17th year this October 26 - with over 500 entries already received.
A stalwart and perennial favourite in the Limerick’s running calendar, the 8km walk and run during the Bank Holiday weekend was launched in the Strand hotel this week.
John Cleary, of Focus Events, the company which is now managing the race alongside the Barrington’s hospital Great Limerick Run, said they hope to have between 2,500 to 3,000 participants on the day - largely women, of course, but with a strong body of men taking part dressed in drag for a good cause.
“We’re delighted that without very much promotion or publicity to date we already have some 500 people registered, which is a pleasant surprise. If we can match the success the event has seen down through the years, we’d be delighted,” he told the Limerick Leader, of the race which has grown from just 400 in its inaugural year.
An avid runner himself, with 11 marathons under his belt, John will be competing in the Chicago marathon next week.
The route will again be held on the grounds of the University of Limerick, but as building works are taking place for the new home for Munster Rugby the route will have to change slightly this year.
Last year the run was held on a Saturday as part of an overall Ladies Weekend in Limerick - centring on the run, a day at the races and a night out in Clohessy’s - which John admitted didn’t quite work as they had hoped, so they have reverted to the popular Sunday slot.
However, the fact that it has endured for nearly two decades is “testament to a lot of people who have put their shoulder to the wheel over a long time.”
Ronnie Long, 80, of Limerick Athletics Club, which previously organised the run, said “while it has grown and changed over the years it has become the main fundraiser for charities in Limerick and across the Mid-West, which hopefully will continue.”
Edel O’Shea, a long running supporter of the race, will be hosting 5km running clubs starting from the car park in Limerick Institute of Technology on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6pm, which started this week.
Representatives from CARI (Children at risk in Ireland), which operate in Limerick and Dublin, are urging people to run or walk for their cause, as funds are continually needed for therapy and counselling of children who have been victims of sexual abuse. Contact their Limerick centre on 061 582200 for a sponsorship card.
Last year’s winner was Orla Drumm, who finished in a time of just 28 minutes.
Tickets are priced at €20, and can be booked online. See www.ladiesweekend.ie/limerick-womens-mini-marathon