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Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon 2012 Thurles

Last Sunday’s Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon here in Thurles (European Town of Sport for 2012) was without doubt a resounding success.
The forecast of heavy rain & wind, accurately predicted by Met Eireann, arrived as expected somewhat spoiling the race warm up which began under the expert guidance of Thurles Leisure Centre fitness instructors Maria and Serena, in the grounds of LIT Tipperary. However this in no way dampened the spirits of the 1,246 women who gathered to enter the 2012 Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon organised by North and South Tipperary Sports partnership here in Thurles. As the Moycarkey Pipe Band led the participants up to the ‘Start Arch,’ positioned on the Jimmy Doyle road, the rain cleared away and thankfully continued in that mode for the remaining part of the day.

Catherina McKiernan addressed the crowd just before the start, saying how delighted she was to be back in Tipperary for her second Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon, and wished everybody the best of luck. Mayor of Thurles local Cllr Michael Cleary then welcomed everyone to Thurles while  the Mayor of South Tipperary County Council, Cllr John Crosse also welcomed the runners and wished all participants the best of luck. North Tipperary Councillor, John Hogan, then blew the starting whistle to commence the 2012 Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon.

Some thirty five minutes later the first runners were back and entering the grounds of LIT Tipperary. In first place was Nenagh’s Siobhan Doherty, in a chip time of 35.51 followed very quickly by Catherina McKiernan in a chip time of 36.14. Third place went to Clonmel AC’s Angela McCann in 37.58, while fourth position went to Claire Annan in a time of 39.47. In fifth position was Aine Roche in a time of 41.00 and in sixth place was Marie Fitzgibbon in just 41.06.

All commented that the route was very fair and much less hilly than the 2010 route used previously in Thurles.

All the participants taking part, between runners, joggers and walkers were back in a time of less than 2 hours and 5 mins, which is faster than previous years and perhaps an indication of the continued success of the ‘Meet and Train,’ groups around Co Tipperary.

The local Thurles Meet and Train group had a huge number of participants taking part on Sunday, and were very striking in their yellow NTSP tee shirts. This Meet and Train group was set up by the North Tipperary Sports Partnership (NTSP) in February 2012, in partnership with Thurles Crokes AC, with the aim of increasing the numbers of women jogging, running and getting fit in the Thurles area.

This was the first ever Mini Marathon for Thurles lady Margueritte Hayes aged 52, who trains with this Thurles group and she later commented “There was an absolutely cracking atmosphere at the event, and it was just great to be a part of it. From the send off to the finish line, it was just thoroughly enjoyable and I can’t thank all the organisers and the volunteers enough. I was delighted to finish with my training partner Maeve McKevitt in a time of 57.03.  My thanks also to Marion Hughes who trains our group week in week out and to the North Tipperary Sports Partnership for their constant support. I’m looking out for my next 10k now.”

Carol O’Donovan from the Canon Hayes Meet & Train Group in Tipperary town also completed her first ever mini marathon in a time of 1.13.48. Carol commented “I am delighted to have completed my first 10k and it was not as gruelling as I had expected. As a first time participant I would highly recommend it, since I started training for the mini marathon, I feel better, toned up and lost over 8lbs. It wasn’t as daunting as I expected and I am so looking forward to doing my next 10k, thanks to the STSP for the support, Ruairi Davitt and the Meet n Train organisation in Tipperary Town.

The 2012 Tipperary Mini Marathon was supported by a groundswell of local businesses and civic organisations. There was huge praise for the superb organisation and months of careful preparation from the hard working committee who were led by Elaine Cullinan and Valerie Connolly of NTSP and STSP. The organising committee included representatives from both Sport’s Partnerships, Thurles Town Council, LIT Tipperary, Thurles Gardaí, Tipperary County Athletics, Thurles Crokes AC, Tipp FM Radio and North Tipperary Civil Defence.

Elaine Cullinan, NTSP commented “From an organiser’s point of view we are delighted with how the event went today. Every single participant from a 35 min finish time to a 2 hour finishing time is leaving with a smile on their face and having had an enjoyable experience. A big thank you to the town of Thurles for really getting behind the event and to our many sponsors who gave so generously, Tom Harvey Motor Company Ltd, who provided the Lead Car, and provided the water and refreshments needed for the event. Thurles Fresh Milk provided all the milk at the finish line, as well as generously providing a sponsorship donation and Thurles European Town of Sport Committee also provided sponsorship. A host of local businesses provided items for the goody bags and spot prizes, and these are all listed on our website www.tippminimarathon.ie

All results and some photographs will be posted on this website very shortly. Thanks again to one and all who contributed to the biggest and most successful Tipp Mini Marathon we have staged to date, and how fitting that Thurles is also the first Irish town to be designated  European Town of Sport for 2012.”

Valerie Connolly, STSP thanked all the Volunteers who helped out saying “Volunteers are essential for any successful event. Without the 70 people who volunteered, this wouldn’t have been the great success it was today. We are delighted with the numbers of women who participated this year, and with the success of the many Meet and Train groups around the county, that have all fed into this event in huge numbers.”
If you are interested in taking part next year get started now, with helpful advice to be found HERE

For further details on these groups in North and South Tipperary, do check out www.ntsp.ie and www.stsp.ie

Photographs courtesy G.Willoughby, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

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