Women’s Mini Marathon 2018

Written By Maria Jones


June Bank Holiday can only mean one thing. Forty-odd thousand women descend on the streets of Dublin to take part in the world’s largest female-only sporting event of its kind-The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. It was this event some 35 years ago that prompted Emily to start Sportsworld running club so obviously the club holds a strong tradition of taking part in this amazing day out year after year. For me personally I think this was my 7th year taking part.  In previous years, I’ve walked, jogged, made my way around the 10km course. This is my 3rd year in a row running it. Yes this is a big race day but more importantly it’s a day when charities are the big winner. So with this in mind, this year I decided to try get a few of the girls in the club together to run for charity swapping our usual red and white for the PWSAI logo singlet’s. I roped in Naoise, Kate, Margaret, Sinead, Katie and the bold Ginty. We met around noon in Buswells Hotel on Molesworth Street, who kindly gave us the use of a conference room for a few hours to meet and get ready. There was a lovely atmosphere as about 40 women on team PWS gathered on a gorgeous sunny day. 1.20 arrived and it was time to get moving towards the start area with a little warm-up on the way. We had Caoimhe with us at this stage who was sporting a bright pink top representing another great charity “Breast Cancer Research in Young Active Women” in honour of her dearest friend Rachel Kenneally. En route to the start we bumped into Val, Ciara and Lucy(who was sporting a little red top showing abs that had us all in awe, the queen of the 6-pack). There was a tense feeling around the start zone. We were marched to the starting line at 1.40, no strides allowed, no moving around. It was a bit early to be putting the race face on but there was an apprehensive, nervous mood rising. Then Lucy, running in her impressive 31st Women’s Mini Marathon decided to change the whole atmosphere and broke into song getting the crowd going with a rendition of Molly Malone. There we are in Fitzwilliam Place, 40000 women swaying side to side with arms in the air singing “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty……………..alive, alive, oh””. This wasn’t a race. This was girl power at its best. Strong women out to support each other. To run for a cause close to their hearts. It was a just a class moment.

Molly out of the way, gone with her wheelbarrow, and the green flag went down. We were off down Lesson street heading for Donnybrook. The sun was in peak position in the sky. This was going to be a hot one.1km in and I heard the familiar voices of Emily, Myles, Catherine and Will. I thought feck I have a bet with Myles about my performance today, didn’t actually expect he’d be here to see if I held up to the challenge or not. On into Donnybrook, 2km mark and another familiar voice, Gemma, shouting us on, quick thumbs up and we were out on the dual carriageway. This is a tough part of the race, the Stillorgan Road brings us out past UCD and back around taking us from 3km to 6km. This stretch is tough as it’s a slight hill all the way out before you turn around to come back in the other side. I had the company of Kate on the way out to keep me going up the slight climb, turn at the top and I hear cheers from the other side, Caoimhe, then Margaret to give you that boost just when the legs are starting to tire.  6km mark, turn the corner onto Nutley Lane and I hear ‘Heres Sportsworld’, Paul O’Connell (sporting one of his trendy Lanza straw hats), Aoife and baby Maebh giving a shout out. 4km to go. Beginning to hurt now but the support out there on the streets is like no other. I remind myself why I’m doing this, think of Martha, think of Emily telling you everyone is hurting, it’s not just you. Keep plugging along. Have my eye on a group of 4 girls ahead, I can see they’re tiring too, I’m closing the gap, slowly.


The Kilometres tick past. 8km mark, I look at my watch for the first time, it says 5 bloody miles, double Dutch to me, I’m a kilometres girl. I know Emily and Myles will be at the 800m mark, its where Emily was last year. i don’t want them to shout me to run faster, i’m fecked but they’ll be there. On I come, the roars start, I can hear Myles for about 400 meters after I pass but its just what i needed, there’s still something left in the tank. I’ll catch those girls ahead. My cousin pops up with shouts of encouragement about 400m meters to go, one last burst over the little bridge and catch that last girl in the home straight. Finish Line. Done. I wobble like a drunk woman for a good 60 seconds. Look at the watch. Think I’m seeing things. It’s a PB alright, by a minute and a half, I can’t believe it. I ran exactly 5 minutes slower in this exact race 12months ago. It’s crazy. But most importantly I win the bet with Myles. Take position on the kerb just past the finish line and one by one the Sportsworld girls fly into the finish area. Incredible performances by all the girls especially in that heat. Little post mortems start, we catch up with running pals from other clubs, the atmosphere is one of unity, of strength, of empowered woman. All Sportsworld ladies gathered and we make our way back to the hotel. Katie has also managed to secure a PB. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone else.

Special shout out to the now famous ‘Mammy Jones’, coming home in 1.27 like a young wan and to my little Ledge Martha completing the whole 10km in just over the 2 hours mark, what an achievement. Go on Mart!! I want to say a special thank you to all the Sportworlders who so kindly sponsored the Jones Ladies and PWSAi and especially the 6 girls who wore the PWS logo on the day to spread awareness of PWS.A proud day for all involved.

A nice little surprise today when the results come out. Sportsworld girls have secured the 3rd team. Great achievement in a heavily talented field.  #squadgoals. See you all again next year.

Sinead Tandney 37.57
Maria Jones 38.32
Kate Kelly 39.38
Ciara Brady 41.06
Caoimhe Daniels 42.19
Naoise Waldron 42.45
Maura Ginty 42.52
Caoimhe Costigan 44.14
Katie Nugent 45.49
Margaret Crowley 47.18
Lucy D’Arcy 49.12
Jessica Kennedy 49.06
Val Power 50.39
Bronwyn White 50.42
Delourdes Seymour 51.03
Shaunna Impey 55.49

Ailson Mackey 59.55

Michelle Byrne 1.01

Helen McGrath 1.00

Aoife Lavin 1.08

Hazel McMahon 58.15