VHI Women’s Mini Marathon 2022 and The Dublin Championship
After a two year wait, the women of Ireland geared up for the return of the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. I was particularly excited as my first attempt at entering the race had been postponed due to Covid. In the week building up, there was a lot of chat amongst the Sportsworld ladies regarding what our expectations for the race would be. After such a long wait, there was a decision to be made whether we would enter the race as a ‘fun run’ to enjoy the atmosphere of this phenomenal female event, or whether we’d tighten up our laces and enter the Dublin Championships. In the end, we subconsciously did a bit of both. An extremely positive, enjoyable event, with everyone running their best and representing the club with some amazing finishes. For such a big crowd, there were a few PBs amongst the Sportsworlders, an acknowledgment to the efforts put in.
As it was my first time to enter, I didn’t know what to expect at the starting line. I was a little over eager and was one of the first to arrive in the runners’ section, hopping about to combat getting cold in the light, warm rain. As the Sportsworld ladies began to gather, that’s when the excitement began. We chatted a little about what we hoped to achieve, but overall, it was to enjoy the day, the atmosphere, and the welcome return of this event. As the gun sounded, we ran out in sheer delight, weaving our way through the crowds until eventually there was a little bit of space to run more comfortably. I was so grateful to be running alongside Lucy for the first 3km with her knowledge and guidance regarding pacing keeping my head in the game (albeit a little confused as to how I was keeping pace with Lucy!). She was a definite leader amongst the crowd, coaching other runners about their breathing, pacing, and being an all-round positive influence.
As we made our way out the Stillorgan Road, we met the ever-encouraging Emily, cheering us on and making sure we posed for the camera – see over excited me as I laughed running by!
The route was filled with entertainment; there were musicians and DJs, people standing out in the rain just to cheer us on, and the many stewards and others working the event who made sure we heard their words of praise. Unlike other races, we could see the elites as they raced down the opposite side of the Stillorgan Road and it was a joy to see so many Sportswordlers leading the way! We cheered each other on over the hedges and it made for a wonderful atmosphere.
As we turned at Foster Avenue, I was glad to know we were halfway there and facing down the slight hill. The support from other clubs was felt along the way, with coaches from all over shouting words of encouragement and advice on how to tackle the hills (note to self: swing your arms).
We got to 8.5km and suddenly the crowd began to get a little louder. We realised we were nearing the end, and now was the time to really push on. The crowds were fully lining the streets. We could hear the music playing and could almost, almost, see the finish line. With the help of Ann-Marie, Aileen, and Ellen cheering us on (to name a few), we knew we would make it.
Turning on to Baggot Street, up over the bridge and over the finish line. Soaked through our clothes but it didn’t matter to us. The atmosphere, despite the rain, was really unlike any other event. We collected our medal and t-shirt and went off in search of celebrations, drinks, and a catch up with fellow mini marathoners.
As a first timer, I’m so glad that I took part in this race. The weather may initially have taken a slight shine off the event, but the positivity and encouragement of both teammates, coaches, and complete strangers, made up for it in abundance!
At the time of writing this report, the official Championship results had not yet been released. See below for overall race winners, and some fantastic Sportsworld results.
First 3 Winners:
1st 33:07 Aoife Kilgallon (Sligo A.C.)
2nd 33:07 Sorcha Nic Dhomhnaill (Donore Harriers)
3rd 33:26 Ide Nic Dhomhnaill (Donore Harriers)
Visually Impaired Winners:
1st 57:42 Niamh Delaney
Racing Wheelchair Winner:
28.29 Shauna Bouquet