The sun shone on the 8,000 participants at the 36th Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon with over 200 charities set to benefit from funds raised, but it was a Kerry woman who stole the show.
An Riocht AC star Laura Crowe just held off Leevale AC Olympian Michelle Finn by seven seconds, winning the race in a time of 21 minutes and 23 seconds.
The event kicked off with surprise guests Cork All-Ireland camogie winning stars Rena Buckley and Gemma O’Connor holding aloft the O’Duffy Cup to delighted participants.
Camogie captain and former dual-star Buckley was taking part for the first time and highlighted the uniqueness of the event.
“It’s my first time taking part because it has always clashed with the ladies football All-Ireland. You get a great buzz and adrenaline out of events like this and it’s great to be involved and to see the lovely atmosphere here and the huge numbers taking part.
Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald said the Mini Marathon shows that Cork is an active city.
“It's a day for fun, to enjoy company and get some exercise. We’re a healthy city and no wonder with all the ladies taking part,” he said.
Bishop of Cork John Buckley said the event is a vital for raising charity funds and praised participants for their efforts Maurice Gubbins, editor of the Evening Echo - sponsors of the Mini Marathon since its inception - stated the event was all about celebrating the women of Cork.
“We at the Evening Echo are delighted to be surrounded by our athletic heroes, charity fund-raising heroes and everyday heroes, the women of Cork, who everyday make a huge contribution and an enormous difference to our city and county, our workplaces, homes, social clubs and communities – we thank them for that and say well done,” Mr Gubbins said.
Past winners of the race include Olympians Sonia O’Sullivan Lizzie Lee and this year’s runner-up Michelle Finn.
Picture: Denis Minihane.
“Michelle and I pushed each other all the way. It was a hard one and it’s nice to win a good hard one in Cork. We weren’t quite anticipating the warm weather but we train in everything so we’re used to it. The support was brilliant along the route, especially towards the end. It drives you on when you really, really need it.
Finn, who competed in the 3,000 metres at the Rio Olympics said her opponent was a worthy winner.
“I tried to make so many different moves in the middle of the race but every time I did she covered it with a faster sprint but I’m actually happy with how I raced.”