FORMER Olympian Derval O’Rourke has lent her support to this year’s Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon.
The event, now in its 36th year, takes place on September 24 and up to 8,000 women are expected to take part.
Many might be surprised to learn Derval has never done a marathon or mini marathon herself and only took up recreational running in the past three months.
The world champion sprint hurdles athlete and best-selling cookbook author lives in Crosshaven with her husband Peter and daughter Dafne. She is also behind the hugely successful http://fitfoodie.ie/
Derval says she’s well clued into the success of the Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon, being from Cork — with family, friends and colleagues all having taken part.
She said the marathon is a wonderful goal for people to train towards and keep you on track this summer, in the lead up to the race.
“It is a really nice target, it is at the end of the summer,” she said. “The marathon gives people a goal to train.
“It also does so much for charity too, it is a positive experience,” she added.
Derval said she only started running three months ago. She decided to get back on track with her fitness, but was so busy at work that she was struggling to find time.
Coincidentally, two of her friends were also keen to get fit, so she decided to go running with them.
She now runs at least two days a week, weight trains other days and has built up her running distance to four to five kilometres.
“It is a nice social experience too — again your level could be walking, it doesn’t matter, once you are moving forward, and you are enjoying it.”
Derval says she doesn’t run fast, despite what people might assume — unlike during her career as an elite athlete, when she used to train to run in 12 seconds, and not more than 300 metres, as she competed in sprint hurdles. Now she says she is more appreciative of the recreational side of running, as opposed to the elite side of it.
Her advice to anyone looking to train for the mini marathon is to set up a Whats App group, name it, then at the start of every week, message the group, pick a day and go out and do your run together.
“You need to make time,” she urges. “You meet up for a cup of tea anyway, this is a way of meeting up… without the tea, and you’ll feel better after.”
Keep an eye on The Fit Foodie over the coming weeks, where Derval will be sharing videos, advice and recipes for people looking to improve their health and fitness, while living busy lives.
HOW TO ENTER THIS YEAR'S RACE:
This year’s Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon will see a number of exciting changes.
The event is being hosted once again this year by the Athletic Association of Ireland (Cork) and the Evening Echo are title sponsors, with Skechers as associate sponsors.
There are a number of new developments in the race this year, as the AAI’s Ina Killeen explained.
The event will be chipped and timed electronially for the first time.
It will also be capped at 8,000 participants — so register early to guarantee your race number.
The medal is also undergoing another revamp again this year.
Ina said planning for this year’s event started almost the day after last year’s race.
“We had a meeting soon after, where we did a post- mortem of the marathon, what was good, what was bad. We analysed things. Those who take part give us feedback, then we see what we did good and we look at what we can do better. After that we get our thinking caps on.”
Come January, organising the event steps up a pace, as the countdown to September begins and the team start getting the logistics in place.
Every year, they strive to make changes, take feedback, try to improve people’s experience of the event, said Ina.
The event is beign capped this year to 8,000 as the AAI, feel that number is manageable.
Another new development is the chipping of the race, which will be done by My Run Results.
Ina said: “It is a huge advancement really, a lot of people were looking for it. We will be able to record people’s times more efficiently.
“It used to be done manually every year, that was very labour intensive, involving huge manpower.”
Around 60 volunteers help out on the day — at junctions guiding people, giving out numbers, etc
Another big element Ina is keen to mention is the huge charity element of the event. Hundreds of thousands of euro are raised every year for very worthy charities across Cork and the entire country.
“That is the winner. It is wonderful that we can host such an event, give charities the chance to raise funds that they so need.
“Each charity is so worthy. People are marvellous, it is a win win situation for everyone,” she added.
She was also full of praise for Paddy Buckley, Race Director, and his family who are great supporters of the event year in, year out.
“Without him, it wouldn’t have escalated to what it is today, he puts his heart and soul into it,” she said.
Anyone looking to get involved in this year’s race can register for the event in a number of ways. The Evening Echo Women’s Mini Marathon race office will be open in Debenhams, Merchant’s Quay, Saturday September 16, 10am to 4pm. And again on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of that week, 10am to 4pm and Thursday, 10am to 7pm. There is a €12 registration charge at the race office.
However with the race capped at 8,000 this year, people are advised to sign up early, and you can do so for €12, plus handling fee of €1.50, for postage and package, at
You can also register on the day for €15, provided the places aren’t filled before then.
All money raised from registration goes to the AAI and is used to host the event, as there is huge cost in organising it, from insurance to the closure of the roads, goodie bags etc
Money left over after this goes towards supporting and promoting athletics in Cork, to improve the facilities at CIT and organise cross country races.