Thousands take part in women’s mini marathon in Dublin after virtual events

Despite the rain, spirits remained high among the more than 20,000 participants

For Ria Stewart (71) and Margaret Goodwin (69), Sunday marked their 40th year in a row doing the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin.

The lifelong friends, from Glenasmole Valley in Co Dublin, have completed the 10km race every year since it began in 1983. They, along with 12 other women, known as “the class of 83″, began at the front of the start line at Fitzwilliam Square just after 2pm on Sunday.

It was the first time since 2019 the women’s mini marathon took place in person due to the Covid-19 pandemic and, despite the rain, spirits remained high among the more than 20,000 participants.

“There’s always great excitement and you are always very proud of yourself when you cross that finish line. We love it,” said Ms Goodwin.


“We have been doing it every year since June 1983. There was originally a group of about 10 of us, but this year it’s just us two. Before Covid there were four of us. We did it virtually the last two years but it just wasn’t the same.”

Ms Stewart said while the pair of them would have always been “keen runners”, the focus these days “is to just get through it”.

“It’s something to look forward to and it keeps you going, it’s great for your physical and mental health. That’s why we do it,” she said.

“Hopefully we’ll be here in another 10 years,” added Ms Goodwin.

Taking part in their first mini marathon was a group of women from Co Wicklow who were there to fundraise for the Gavin Glynn Foundation, which helps families of children battling cancer to travel overseas for specialist treatment not available in Ireland.

The charity was set up in honour of Gavin Glynn, who died of a rare form of cancer in 2014, aged four.

“Myself and my friend Orla work with Jane, who is Gavin’s mum,” said Jenny Keatings. “He would have been 12 this year. It’s a really good cause and we’re just trying to raise awareness for childhood cancer.”

Cheering them on from the finish line was Gavin’s brother Billy (5) and father John.

“We have 135 women doing the mini marathon for the Gavin Glynn foundation which is amazing,” Mr Glynn said.

“The number has been increasing every year and it’s women from all over the country. It’s one of our biggest fundraisers; so far we’ve raised just over €22,000 and the donations just keep coming through.

“My wife and my daughter are doing it as well, it’s just a great day for women. It’s also great to see everyone out enjoying themselves again.”

First across the finish line on Lower Baggot Street was Aoife Kilgallon (30) from Sligo AC with a time of 33:07, followed by Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill from Donore Harriers and her sister Ide Nic Dhomhnaill.

Shauna Bocquet from Craughwell, Galway, won the elite wheelchair category in a time of 28:29, while Niamh Delany from Laois won the visually impaired category in a time of 57:42.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Ms Kilgallon. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. I didn’t know what to expect when I came up but the atmosphere and everything took over and I came away with a PB and the win as well. That was my third time doing the women’s mini marathon but my first time doing it competitively.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times