Fundraising has become a priority for charities large and small, making the Flora Women's Mini Marathon even more vital as the largest single-day fundraising event in the country.
Last year, an estimated €14m was raised by participants in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon. This brought the total since the race started to more than €114m. This year, a record 280 charities registered with the Mini Marathon, underlining its importance in the fund-raising calendar.
One of the very first charities to realise the potential of the event was the Friends of St Luke's, closely followed by Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin. As usual, both charities had hundreds running, walking and jogging for them yesterday.
Others with big teams included the Irish Kidney Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Association, Dublin Simon, Our Lady's Hospice, the Parkinson's Association, St Joseph's School for the Blind, Make A Wish Ireland and the Children's Sunshine Home.
Last year, 580 women ran or walked the Flora Women's Mini Marathon as part of the MS |Ireland team. This year, the charity has a fund-raising target of €100,000 and was using Facebook, Twitter and podcasts to recruit new supporters.
“Two out of every three people affected by multiple sclerosis are women. More than 7,000 people in Ireland have the disease. Thousands more become involved, with |extra responsibilities and worries placed on partners, children and carers,” says Natasha Duffy of MS Ireland.
Walking the Mini Marathon for Fighting Blindness was Marina O'Neill, who lost her sight and suffered severe head injuries after she was hit by a car 16 years ago.
Marina always had a big interest in sport and was a volunteer at the Special Olympics World Games.
Despite her problems, she started walking three or four times a week near her home in Dublin's Clontarf.
Her proudest moment came last year when she completed the Flora Women's Mini Marathon, raising over €2,500 for Fighting Blindness.
“There is no cure for my condition, but at least I can help others who will benefit from the world-class research undertaken by Fighting Blindness at Trinity College.”
Broadcaster and mother of two Lorraine Keane signed up for the Mini Marathon to get fit again and to help a women's group in Sierra Leone, funded by overseas aid agency World Vision Ireland.
“The money raised through the Mini Marathon will go to a brilliant women's group in Sierra Leone.
“It started when a few mothers approached a local primary teacher because they wanted to learn how to read and write so they could help their children with their homework,” says Evelyn Wolf of World Vision Ireland.
Raising funds for Temple Street Hospital was Jennifer Holmes, whose baby brother Lee died of cot death when aged five months.
“He had been in Temple Street Hospital with a breathing problem, but he died at home in his sleep and was brought back to the hospital. We will never forget how good they were to us at that time,” says Jennifer.
Funds raised for Temple Street from this year's Mini Marathon will go towards buying life-saving equipment, including incubators for seriously ill newborns, a dialysis machine, a mobile X-ray machine and a ventilator.
For the girls of Trinity Comprehensive College in Ballymum, |training for the Mini Marathon was a special challenge since they hoped to raise more than ¤1,000 for the Irish ME Trust – just like they did last year.
*Don't forget to send the well-earned money you have raised to your special charity as soon as possible!