BY HARRY WALSH
HUNDREDS of athletes, fun runners and walkers are expected to gather in Ardara on Saturday, April 20, for the second annual Ardara 10k, also known as the Ardarathon.
Entrants walk, jog or run the scenic 10 kilometre route around the heritage town whilst raising funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and Ardara Sheltered Housing.
Last year’s inaugural event attracted more than 1,300 participants and event organiser Michael Maguire is quietly confident that they can break through the magical 1,000 barrier once again this year.
The 2012 Ardarathon took place just three months after the sad passing of Michael’s younger sister, Martina Maguire, following her courageous battle with Leukemia.
Speaking at the luanch of this year’s event in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel last Friday evening, Michael said the Ardara 10k provides a fitting tribute to Martina as well as raising money for those who helped the family through her illness.
“I have taken part in a number of charity races in the North West recently but I always wanted Ardara to host its own event. After seeing all the good work that the staff in St John’s Ward in Crumlim did for Martina, I wanted to give something back.
“Last year we were second in numbers only to the north West 10k which isn’s bad going considering it was our first year. There was a very positive reaction to the event so we’re hoping to see similar large numbers coming out to lend their support this time around,” he said.
All-Ireland winning corner back Paddy McGrath from the local Ardara GAA club together with fellow All-Ireland winners Anthony Thompson and Marty Boyle for the nearby Naomh Conaill club in Glenties as well as Donegal’s goalkeeping coach Pat Shovelin attended the launch.
Pat Shovelin remembered Martina as being a bright, talented, teenager who brought so much joy to so many people in her short life.
“At this stage I’m not too sure what plans Jim (McGuinness) has for the lads on that Saturday afternoon but some of them could do worse than take part in the 10k, the proceeds of which are going to two very worthy causes,” he said.
Rev John Deane, Church of Ireland, Ardara, spoke on behalf of the Ardara Sheltered Housing committee and he too paid tribute to Michael and his fellow organisers to staging such a worthy event in memory of Martina.
On the day, runners and walkers will set off from and return to the Chapel Car Park, starting at 2pm. Registration will be held from 11am on the morning of the race in the Ardara Parish Centre and is open up until five minutes before race time.
Entry fees are €10 for adults and €6 for students and youths with prizes for all categories. Refreshments will be served after the race in the registration area.
This year there will also be a chip timing system where all participants will get an instant text message with position and time immediately after crossing the line.
Sponsorship cards and flyers are now in Ardara’s local businesses and more information can be found on the event’s facebook page.
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