Yesterday was a busy day in Dublin city centre – forty thousand women gathered for the biggest all female event of its kind in the world (similar events in the UK and USA only at attract half the number of runners). The mini marathon was first held in 1983, making yesterday the thirty first event. It’s become a huge fundraiser for a wide range of charities – everyone is running for a charity of some kind. Millions of euro are raised every year, and thousands of women train for and run in the race. It’s an inspiring occasion.
Forty thousand people make a big crowd – and although starting time was 2pm, people were still crossing the start line at 2.45pm, when the fastest runners had already crossed the finishing line. If you think about it, that means 1000 people were crossing the start line per minute, for 40 minutes, which makes around 25 people crossing the line every second – you can see that it’d be difficult to make it happen any faster. A chip built-in to the race number means that everyone gets an accurate time for their own race.
There’s a wide range of ability, from the serious athletes (have you tried running 1km in less than three-and-a-half minutes, never mind 10km at a pace just faster than that?) to the many thousands of women who were happy just to walk the distance.
There was a great buzz in the city centre, and it was entertaining for the onlookers as well as the runners. By the time the last person had started, it was a short few hundred metres walk across to the finishing line, so that the first finishers could be watched coming in.
It wasn’t easy to spot people that you knew – luckily my daughter Ella had a distinctive ISPCA balloon floating over her head, so she could be spotted a few hundred yards away. I also used the iPhone iPad Tracker app so that we could watch her right along the course on Google maps.
The mini-marathon is a remarkable feat of organisation – smoothly handling over 40000 people and getting them to run/jog/walk 10km each is not easy to do – but they made it seem simple.
Congratulations to all involved- and if you are fund raising for any animal charities, what about putting it in next year’s diary now?