'Good to still have a bit of normality': Scoil Mhuire take on Women's Mini Marathon 

'Good to still have a bit of normality': Scoil Mhuire take on Women's Mini Marathon 

Transition year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork took part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual race, pictured at Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 

Transition Year students from Scoil Mhuire took to Fitzgerald Park to complete their version of The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon, bringing a sense of normality and fun to a strange start to the school year.

Senior cycle students at Scoil Mhuire typically take part in The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon each year but with the event moved to a virtual 6k Your Way platform for 2020, like many schools across Cork, students held their very own mini-marathon.

Transition year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork took part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual race, pictured at Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins
Transition year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork took part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual race, pictured at Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins

The secondary school students completed the 6km on Thursday by walking from the school gates to Fitzgerald Park, where they completed two laps in order to reach their goal. To adhere to Covid-19 restrictions, students sported blue and pink ribbons to maintain the 2m social-distancing rule while completing the walk.

“It was gas to see them out with their ribbons and running around in Fitzgerald Park like they were four,” said Transition Year co-ordinator, Bernice O’Brien.

“They thought it was hilarious. They felt like primary school kids.”

Transition Year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork, (from left) Ali McCarthy, Isabel Burke, Lily Stack, and Nicola Healy, who took part in The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon virtual race.	 Picture: Larry Cummins
Transition Year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork, (from left) Ali McCarthy, Isabel Burke, Lily Stack, and Nicola Healy, who took part in The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon virtual race. Picture: Larry Cummins

With new restrictions, outings as a year group have become uncommon for the students. However, by maintaining their traditions there was a refreshing sense of ‘normality’ for the students.

“It’s definitely strange, but it’s good to still have a bit of normality — the fact that we did it as a group and we weren’t doing it alone, like most stuff we have to do at the moment,” said Transition Year student, Ali McCarthy, who usually takes part in the mini-marathon with her aunt.

“From some ends of the day to another, we don’t see the rest of the groups, so it was really enjoyable to get together with everyone,” she said.

The students completed the marathon in aid of the Schools and Health Foundation, a charity founded by Ms O’Brien and her brother in 2010 that helps the poor in Africa by funding the construction of schools and wells.

“We build them in very remote villages where there is no electricity, and no running water and no schools. We start from scratch in the very remote areas… so they have a chance for education and clean water,” said Ms O’Brien.

Transition year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork took part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual race, pictured at Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. (from left) Jane Ward, Robyn Deasy, Amy Brett and Abbie O'Sullivan.Pic; Larry Cummins
Transition year pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Wellington Road, Cork took part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon Virtual race, pictured at Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. (from left) Jane Ward, Robyn Deasy, Amy Brett and Abbie O'Sullivan.Pic; Larry Cummins

Like many charities, the Schools and Health Foundation have missed out on numerous opportunities to raise money this year.

“Normally we could do cake sales, or we could do draws, but we can’t have queues this year,” said Ms O’Brien.

“We would do a street collection coming up to St Patrick’s weekend but that was cancelled. Hopefully, it will come back next year, but that’s a huge fundraiser for us so we are struggling like every other charity, but we’ll continue.”

100% of the money raised from the mini-marathon will go towards the charity which has set up 13 schools across remote areas in Africa.

Traditionally, some senior students visit Africa with Ms O’Brien and the Schools and Health Foundation, and the entire school get involved by putting together care packages and school supplies for the children.

Ms O’Brien and the students remain hopeful that next year’s plans to visit will go ahead and they were glad to have had the chance to raise some money.

For the students who took part, the 6km walk was also a chance to come together and keep up the tradition of the Women’s Mini-Marathon.

“It was good to get out and get walking for a good cause,” added student Ali McCarthy.

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