The Flora Mini Marathon started from humble beginnings in Dublin in 1983 with less than 10,000 participants, and yesterday there was well over 45, 000 (majority women) taking part.
Not only do the women of Ireland benefit from taking part in the annual event but Irish charities do too, as nearly every single person running, jogging, walking is doing so in the name of a charity. Estimates from last years Flora Mini Marathon are Euro137 million was raised across hundreds of charities. Not bad for a Dublin-based running club event, eh?
With a total population of 4.58 million, Andrea Pappin asked in December 2012, do we really need 24,000 charities? (325 pages listed in this PDF, if you're curious) all fighting for ever diminishing (if not already diminished, and some are non-existent), Government funding and donations. I've no idea how many charities were represented yesterday, but there were LOTS.
It does make sense for these charities to join forces, merge administrations, share specialised roles, have a stronger, louder voice but they all seem quite happy being local and relevant to their community.
As you know, yesterday was my first time in the Flora Mini Marathon - indeed, my first time ever doing anything like this (other than strolling a new city for hours sightseeing).
MrsD picked me up around 11am, we drove'n'parked in town and met the other three ladies who were walking with us raising money for Special Needs Parents Association.
Not that any of us are competitive, but we did discuss how much money we've raised to date ... and what sponsorship we were still expecting. They were all very impressed with my amount, considering I am not Irish.
It was a fair walk to the starting area for the YELLOW numbers (ie: walkers) and we managed to weave our way pretty close to the front to get a 'good start'.
It still took us 20:23 to actually cross the official start line. There was a band playing, and onlookers clapping and cheering us on. It wasn't as electric as I thought, but it was still a lovely atmosphere.
We walked and talked.
And talked and walked.
We dodged slower walkers.
Avoided faster walkers.
Joggers in yellow tickets were annoying.
We counted the KM's as we made each milestone.
1km was like, oh ok, so that's one kilometer. Ok, 9 to go.
3km was a bit annoying especially with loads of motivational signs like 'RUN LADY RUN' or "YOU'RE CLOSER TO THE FINISH THAN BEFORE" But this was my favorite
5km took a while longer as we have to walk UP one side of the N11 and then hook back on ourselves to walk DOWN the N11 the way we came.
5.1km and we're on the home stretch.
There were a few very fancy dressed guys supporting their ladies, but this solo effort had to win the prize of the day. He was attempting the 10k's in 5" heels! He was happy for his photo to be taken, so long as he kept walking!
When we reached the 8km mark I thought 'well, that was easy' and found a second wind. Subconsciously I started walking faster, so much so that MrsD told me to slow down - that we'll sprint across the actual finish line. It was hilarious and made me realize what a difference 2-3 times at the gym, merely walking has made to me.
9km's and I felt like I could run the rest of the way (I didn't, but I felt like I could)
BAM! 10km's done and dusted.
I DID IT!
MrsD is a lot more serious than me, so I knew crying as I finished wasn't going to go down well, but I felt as if I wanted to.
ms-havachat, actually did a 10km walk and wasn't a mess at the end.
In fact, this is me at the finish
A huge thank you to everyone who kindly sponsored me. I am so very proud of the Euro400-odd that I've raised for Special Needs Parents Association.
I've woken up today feeling great!
I've achieved something I really wasn't sure I could do.
Huge congrats also to MrsMc who walked from Winchester Cathedral to Salisbury Cathedral over the weekend too, raising money for Naomi House.