Women’s Mini Marathon

Mini Marathon Rehab

The Flora Women’s Mini Marathon is the biggest all-woman sporting event in the world. It started in 1983 and as you read this over 40,000 women are training, walking in groups, getting their trainers and T-shirts ready, for the big day.

Two years ago I took part – walking mind you. The whole experience was amazing from gathering in Merrion Square with 2FM blasting out feel-good songs to bands playing along the route, people shouting support as we passed by, to seeing the flyover at UCD and realising we were over half way. Passing the finishing line and getting a medal was completly overwhelming and I instantly became a fully paid up member of the Mini Marathon Appreciation Association. Any woman I met for months after that day was told about the high I felt walking the route and chatting to women from all over Ireland.

There are charities in this area who have been involved for years with the Mini Marathon. So this year, as I am preparing, I wanted to catch up with some of the local charities in the area who may be in need of your support. I spoke with Roisin Fitzgerald of Rehab Group in Roslyn Park in Sandymount, “Hundreds of women from all across Ireland have been running the Flora Mini Marathon in aid of Rehab for many years. Thousands of Euros have been raised for people with disabilities attending Rehab services. This is a very important event on our fundraising calendar and each year we look to increase the number of women running for Rehab.”

When someone signs up to do the Mini Marathon for Rehab they get a T-shirt, a sponsorship card, a training plan and the marathon route. On the actual day after the event they all meet up to have a celebratory drink. Where exactly the money is spent depends on where the walker is from, and if they have any particular project locally in mind within Rehab.

Royal Donnybrook Hospital also has women taking part in the Mini Marathon. Brenda Wilkes runs the ‘Friends of Royal Donnybrook Hospital’ and she told me how pivotal it is to them. “The money raised by the event is part of our fundraising year and hugely important to us. Last year we were able to purchase a machine which helps us to identify bed sores. So rather than all the effort being put on curing a bedsore, which can take months and is a painstakingly slow process, with our new piece of equipment we can spot them before they occur, and the Occupational Therapist and nursing staff work together to prevent them from ever occurring”.

There are approximately 700 charities that organise walkers, joggers and runners. They may be small local charities like a school or Cats Aid, or Irish Therapy Dogs. They may be the household names like Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation, MS Ireland or Medicines Sans Frontiers which have a huge presence on the day.
My advice is to get a group of women together, get registered and start walking. Pick a charity that means something personal to you, or just raise money for your local school or church. When you ask for sponsorship and say you are doing the Mini Marathon you will be surprised at people’s generosity. For me personally there is nothing, nothing like seeing that finishing line and getting a medal to hang around your neck to make you feel like you have truly achieved something. Register now online at www.florawomensminimarathon.ie

By Joan Mitchell