Games-bound Ciara is happy to help women get into their stride
Ciara Mageean is about to swap the biting cold of Northern Ireland for Australia, but before the Portaferry woman sets off down under she had some important business to take care of.
The middle distance runner will soon be joining up with the Northern Ireland team in Queensland for the Commonwealth Games but was much closer to home as she helped launch a local recruitment drive in Belfast for the 2018 Vhi Women's Mini Marathon.
The Vhi Women's Mini Marathon, now in its 36th year, will take place on Sunday, June 3 at 2pm. Over 35,000 women are expected to walk, jog or run the 10km route in Dublin.
It is the largest all-female event of its kind in the world and since its inception it has raised over €210m (£183m) for charity.
Former UCD student Mageean is delighted to give her support to the initiative.
"It is such an honour to be an ambassador for the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon, a race that I have thoroughly enjoyed watching and supporting over the years I studied in Dublin," she said. "The race is an amazing event, giving women from all over Ireland and beyond an opportunity to challenge themselves and reach their goals.
"The colour and energy on the day is inspiring, with hearts lifted and money raised."
Entries are now open at www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie. Entries received before April 13 are in with a chance of winning a new Nissan Micra.
Kathy Endersen, CEO of Women's Mini Marathon, believes that moving the event to a Sunday will appeal to Northern Ireland participants. She said: "For the first time in nearly two decades, the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon will take place on Sunday. Moving back to Sunday will offer more women from all over Northern Ireland and beyond the chance to participate.
"The event has taken place on the bank holiday Monday in Dublin for many years, and we were aware that this precluded many women from Northern Ireland taking part. We've received a very positive response to the date change from women in Northern Ireland, and we believe there will be much larger numbers travelling to Dublin.
"Over one million women have participated to date and we are proud to have played a part in helping women reach their personal milestones, whether fundraising for charity, achieving fitness goals or just experiencing the atmosphere of this special day."
For further information visit www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie, www.facebook.com/vhiwomensminimarathon or @VhiWmm on Twitter.