Belfast Telegraph

Thousands take to streets of Dublin for Women’s Mini Marathon

Cancer survivor Darina Johnston ran in the race alongside her husband Mark.

More than 30,000 people have taken part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin.

The 10km event, which is in its 36th year, got under way at Fitzwilliam Square on Sunday afternoon.

Women – and some men dressed in women’s clothes – walked, jogged and ran through the city to University College Dublin and back to the finish line on Baggot Street to raise money for charity.

The race was won by Lizzie Lee from Leevale Athletic Club in Cork in a time of 34 minutes and 18 seconds.

Cancer survivor Darina Johnston ran in the race alongside her husband Mark to raise funds for Arklow Cancer Support.

Mrs Johnston, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in April 2017 but is now clear of the disease, said the support service was very important to her.

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The 10km event got under way at Fitzwilliam Square on Sunday afternoon (Brian Lawless/PA)

“My husband said off the cuff one night: ‘Sure I’ll do it with you’,” Mrs Johnston said.

“When we realised he couldn’t enter as a man, he decided to enter wearing a full wedding dress so he’s totally out of his comfort zone.

“Everyone has gotten on board – it has been fantastic.”

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Men dressed as Mrs Brown, left, and Snow White at the start of the race (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 49-year old said they picked the mini-marathon primarily because it was fun but she said it had been emotional too.

“This time last year I was about to start treatment so it was a very frightening time for me, so being here to take part is an amazing personal achievement,” Mrs Johnston added.

In a tweet, health minister Simon Harris wished everyone good luck and reminded people to stay hydrated in the heat.

Last year an estimated 9.3 million euro was raised for charities by those taking part, bringing the total raised since the race started to more than 210 million euro.

Organisers claim it is one of the largest women’s only race events in the world. More than one million women have taken part in the event since it began in 1983.

Elsewhere, 8,500 runners took part in the Cork City Marathon on Sunday morning. The 26.2 mile race was won by Gary O’Hanlon, from Dublin, who set a new course record of two hours 21 minutes and nine seconds.

The first woman past the finish line was Zola Flynn, from Calry Athletic Club in Sligo.

A marathon was also held through the streets of Londonderry on Sunday morning.

More than 1,400 people ran in the annual 26.2 mile Walled City Marathon. They left the Everglades Hotel on Prehen Road at 8.30am and finished in Guildhall Square.

The first man over the line was Dan Tanui in a time of two hours and 19 minutes, while Heather Noon from Co Mayo won the women’s contest.

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