On your marks... The Echo Women's Mini Marathon is back for 2022!

After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon is returning in September. ELAINE DUGGAN has all the details on the race, and the virtual event is back too!
On your marks... The Echo Women's Mini Marathon is back for 2022!

At the launch of The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon in Cork, from left, Dr Frances Drummond, research manager, Breakthrough Cancer Research; John Quigley, Cork Athletics County Board and mini marathon committee; Deirdre O’Reilly, former Echo diarist; Maurice Gubbins, editor, The Echo; Eileen Buckley and Rebecca McEvoy, both of Cork Athletics & mini marathon committee; Rachel McEvoy, Cork Athletics; Fiona Desmond-Collins, The Echo marketing, and Eoghan Dinan, deputy editor, The Echo. The event will take place on September 18. Picture: Denis Minihane

THE route of The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon is set to come alive again this September with the pounding of thousands of feet.

For the first time in three years, due to Covid restrictions, there will be an in-person event, on Sunday September 18.

The mini marathon, now in its 41st year, was launched today and people can now register to take part online. Early registration is advised, as numbers will be capped this year at 4,000 and there won’t be any entries taken on the day.

The event is being hosted once again by Cork Athletics and the route will remain the same - leaving Centre Park Road, down along the Marina, up Blackrock Road, to Maryville, along Monaghan Road and down towards Kennedy Park, where people will receive their medals.

Entry is €20 and people’s race numbers will be posted out to them.

VIRTUAL EVENT WILL ALSO REMAIN

Over the past two years, The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon has been hosted as a virtual 6K event and was well supported. A virtual race will also be hosted this year, for those who cannot make the in-person event on September 18.

Entry for the virtual race is €20 and race numbers and medals will be posted out. Commenting on the news there will be a live event this year, Race Co-ordinator John Quigley of Cork Athletics said: “It is wonderful to be back and we look forward to being down on Centre Park Road again. Hopefully, we will have weather like we have at the moment!”

BOOST FOR CHARITIES

John said the mini marathon is the ‘lifeblood’ of Cork Athletics and all proceeds go towards their juvenile and international awards and sports bursaries, and it is the mainstay of all their championships and events.

Saoirse O'Shaughnessy, Miss Cork 2022, at the launch of The Echo Women's Mini Marathon in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Saoirse O'Shaughnessy, Miss Cork 2022, at the launch of The Echo Women's Mini Marathon in Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

But also, the mini marathon is a major lifeline for many of Cork’s charities - Cork Athletics, a totally voluntary organisation, estimates it generates around €1.5 million annually for charities. At the height of the Celtic Tiger boom, this soared to around €3 million annually.

The Echo and EchoLive.ie Editor, Maurice Gubbins said: “The Mini Marathon is a source of great pride and celebration for us here at The Echo and EchoLive.ie. Our staff members love taking part and working to promote the event, one of the great days out in Cork every year.

“We are so looking forward to seeing thousands of Cork women - and a few men - back out running and walking the streets en masse, after the few years of having to do the event at home because of Covid.

“They never let up in raising funds for our wonderful local charities though and managed to still support them. But it will be glorious to be back to the full experience on September 18, and I know the charities will warmly welcome the money raised, which they depend on so much in order to be able to support the Cork people who need their help.”

Frances Drummond, of Breakthrough Cancer Research, was among those at the launch. She has taken part in the mini marathon over the years.

Not only does Frances work for the cancer research charity, but she has been personally affected by cancer too - as she lost her beloved mum Philippine to a very rare form of cancer, cholansiocarcinoma, cancer of the gall bladder and bile duct.

Breakthrough Cancer Research is a Cork-based medical research charity that funds the most innovative cancer research throughout Ireland and internationally. They believe the best way to change the future of cancer care is to invent it.

A spokeswoman said: “That is why we are working hard to make sure that families, friends and communities across Ireland have access to the best treatments for cancer and never have to hear that the cure for their cancer does not exist.

“Breakthrough Cancer Research is 100% funded by the generosity of the public and that generosity has led to more than 8 new treatments moving from the lab to treat people with cancer.

“People in Cork are able to access new treatments because of the work of our research teams.

“Monies raised by The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon for Breakthrough Cancer Research are used to support focused research programmes, directly fund scientists, and purchase laboratory equipment and consumables.”

TO REGISTER FOR THE ECHO WOMEN’S MINI MARATHON, see www.echolive.ie/minimarathon/

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