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Luke ag rith ar son na Gaeilge

Leinster and Ireland winger Luke Fitzgerald has backed the '2010 Rith' -- a 1,600km relay-run which will begin in Belfast on March 9 and finish in Galway city on St Patrick's Day.

Thousands will run ar son na Gaeilge with the specially designed baton, which will hold a secret message from the President of Ireland, and which will not be revealed until the end of the run. Rith 2010 is partly funded by Foras na Gaeilge.

Rith 2010 is the first event of its kind in Ireland and it's modelled on the Basque Country's Korrika, which has been running since 1980. Last year more than 600,000 people took part in Korrika, which is accompanied by music, cultural activities and thousands of spectators along the way.

The objective of Rith 2010 is also to raise money, which will be invested into Irish language projects throughout the country. "We're very excited about this event," says Rith 2010 event manager Siobhán Seoige. "This is a real celebration where thousands of people will run to celebrate the Irish language whilst raising funds that will be re-invested back into Irish language projects throughout the country," she said.

Community groups, school groups, clubs and individuals are all invited to buy a kilometre and take part at any stage of the 1,600km course. There are many ways to take part -- all the information you need is on www.rith.ie.