Flora womens mini marathon, womens marathon, Dublin marathon 2013
The sun shone down upon the streets of Dublin yesterday as more than 40,000 women took part in the 31st Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon. It was love, sweat and cheers as more than €12 million was raised for over 700 charities.
Eighty-eight-year-old Maureen Armstrong, believed to be the oldest contestant taking part, threw her hands in the air triumphantly as she crossed the 10km finish line, glowing and flanked by her smiling daughters.
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“I only stopped twice for water, sure you had to drink it, but I didn’t want to stop, I’d sooner keep going,” she said. The 18-degree heat was no obstacle to Maureen, who finished in one hour 40 minutes.
“Sure it was nothing and now we’re off to the pub so they can have their drink,” she said.
Maureen’s daughter Martina said, “She didn’t want to stop but we had to make her – plans for next year were already under way.”
Derbhla Fadden (41) and a bus full of 30 friends and family travelled from Oranmore in Galway to take part in aid of Voice for Down Syndrome and the charity My Canine Companion, which provides trained dogs as companions for children with autism.
“I’m running for my eight-year-old daughter who has down syndrome, but she also needs speech therapy and we have a dog in training to help her with her balance,” she said. “I’m supporting both charities but I couldn’t wear two T-shirts in this heat!”
Her team has raised more than €10,000 from this year’s mini-marathon alone. “We organised the bus and made a day of it by stopping off in Kilbeggan for breakfast and then we head to Trinity Capital for dinner. There’s no Government funding so we’re doing our best,” she added.
Amid the odd Batman costume and men donning plastic boobs, hula skirts and multi-coloured wigs was another unlikely uniform.
Cpl Abbey Wheelan ran dressed in full camouflage Army uniform with helmet and backpack – peppered with pink bows to support the children of one her of colleagues.
‘We have all pulled together and we’re trying to support the best we can,” she said.
The celebrities, too, were out in force and Rosanna Davison, breathlessly checking her iPod to see what her finish time was, said the controversy from last year’s mini-marathon didn’t affect her race.
Last year it appeared the former Miss World had finished just 10 minutes behind overall winner Linda Byrne. Davison later clarified there was a mix-up over her race number.
“I timed it today and I did 52 minutes,” she said. “Last year didn’t stop me – I do it every year. I don’t feel like I have a point to make,” she said, wearing an ISPCA T-shirt with the slogan “Get Tails Wagging” emblazoned on the back.
Another well-known face, Morah Ryan, said she was looking forward to a back massage from her son when she made it over the line. “It was hard but good fun, I’m used to running out by the sea in Clontarf.”
The overall winner was Siobhan O’Doherty of Borrisokane, CoTipperary, who finished in a time of 34.02.
“I was in Australia in December so I didn’t mind the weather so much. It’s a fantastic day for the club,” said the 27-year-old. “The atmosphere up here is absolutely fantastic, the crowd just drags you on and on.”
The Irish runner, who will celebrate by going shopping today, has been running for 10 years and was runner-up in both 2010 and 2011.
Last year’s winner Linda Byrne pulled out of the race at the last minute after picking up an injury at the World Cross Country Championships.
“It was around eight weeks ago and she still has a bit of a niggle so there wasn’t enough time,” said her coach Enda Fitzpatrick.
“She’d love to be here, she feels like it’s her race. We’re a bit behind schedule but Linda bounces back quickly.”