I was so proud to cross the finish line of The Echo Women's Mini Marathon last year — I’m doing it again!

The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon is an important fundraiser for COPE, who support more than 2,300 people, writes CHRIS DUNNE
I was so proud to cross the finish line of The Echo Women's Mini Marathon last year — I’m doing it again!

Anna O’Shea, Elaine Murphy, Bebhinn Geary, Caoimhe Suipil, Leona Morey and Ina Wolfe out training for The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, September 22. Picture: Darragh Kane

COPE employee Elaine Murphy, 26, who is from Clashmore, and who lives in Blackrock, Cork, has a hectic schedule on the weekend of September 20 to 22.

“I’m taking part in The Echo Mini-Marathon for the COPE Foundation on the Sunday,” says Elaine.

“And our ‘Breaking Down the Barriers’ Ball is the Friday before the mini-marathon; on the 20th. So yes, it’ll be pretty hectic for me that weekend.”

Elaine works for COPE and she supports and promotes the charity in her day-to-day job.

“I’ve been working in the Communications and Fundraising Department of COPE in Cork for a year now, so I’m all about spreading the word about the work we do, supporting more than 2,300 people with intellectual disabilities, and/or autism in our 69 locations,” says Elaine.

She’s in steady training for The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon — but she’s also busy shopping for a show-stopping dress for the upcoming ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Black Tie Ball, hosted by Lidl in Silversprings on Friday, September 20 in aid of the COPE Foundation and Jigsaw.

The proceeds from the ball will go towards COPE Foundation’s Ability@Work programme.

So it’s all systems go?

“It sure is,” says Elaine. “The ball will be a fantastic night.

“So yes, getting all glammed up and wearing a lovely dress is all part of it!”

She has good stamina, geared up for two big Cork events that are supporting the COPE Foundation.

The ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Ball is also supporting Jigsaw’s new schools initiative, aimed at supporting mental health and wellbeing for young people.

“I’ll be ready to line up at the starting line for the mini-marathon on Sunday all going well!” says Elaine.

She has been part of the women’s mini-marathon — one of the biggest sporting participation events in the region — before.

“This time last year, before I started my position in COPE, I ran and walked in the mini-marathon with two pals for the COPE Foundation,” she says.

Elaine was game ball to lace up the trainers and give it a go.

“I’m not a much of an athlete!” she adds.

“But last year, the weather was so nice, and there was such a strong sense of the fun atmosphere associated with the event; it was just great. You felt that you had to be part of it.”

Crossing the finish line last year gave Elaine a great sense of achievement.

“I was so proud!” she says.

Elaine felt good to be one of the crowd.

“Anyone can take part in The Echo Mini-Marathon,” she says.

“You can go at your own pace and enjoy the company and all the good fun along the way.”

The Echo Mini-Marathon is an important fundraiser for the COPE Foundation, a long-established charity which is a not-for profit organisation.

“For us, The Echo Mini Marathon is a very important fund-raiser,” says Elaine.

“Our Flowers of Hope campaign, which takes place in April, celebrating inclusive communities, work-places and schools, is the other major annual fund-raiser, raising awareness about the need to embrace diversity and accept people for who they are .”

Elaine can go the distance for COPE on the September weekend, with two major events taking place that will help fundraise for the vital services that the Foundation provides to so many people.

“I’m running up and down the Mardyke whenever I get a chance!” she says.

Has she a regular training routine or training schedule?

Elaine laughs out loud.

“There is no rhyme or reason to my running regime!” she says.

“I run as far as I can go and then I stop to get my breath back.”

She’s good to go when she gets her second wind.

“I get my breath back, then I repeat the run. It works for me!”

Elaine always sees her projects through.

“I made a resolution to do the mini marathon back in January/ February,” she says.

And she’s well on track.

“My target was to raise €200. I had it up on my Facebook page.

“My family and friends were great to donate for the COPE Foundation. So far I’ve raised €258,” says Elaine.

“By November, I’ll be up to €400. No problem.”

Elaine can’t wait to get going.

“The mini-marathon is so inclusive and it is so much part of the Cork community.

“And the ‘Breaking Down Barriers Ball’ is a fantastic opportunity to come together to support two wonderful charities that are ‘breaking down barriers’ every day. It is about why we do what we do.”

Tomorrow is another day and there is an on-going project to complete before the all important fundraising weekend.

Will Elaine say ‘Yes to The Dress’?

“The ball is a Black Tie Ball — and the Love Bugs are providing the entertainment. The dress must fit the bill!”

For more see www.copefoundation.ie and www.jigsaw.ie

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