The forecasted rain arrived at 10.30am just as the warm up with Thurles Leisure Centre fitness instructors Maria and Serena was about to start in the grounds of LIT Tipperary, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 1,246 women who had entered the 2012 Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon organised by North Tipperary Sports Partnership and South Tipperary Sports Partnership.
As the Moycarkey Pipe Band gallantly led the participants up the Jimmy Doyle road to the Start Arch the rain cleared away, and thankfully stayed away for the rest of the day.
Catherina McKiernan addressed the crowd just before the Start, saying how delighted she was to be back in Tipperary for her second Tipperary Women’s Mini Marathon, and wished everybody the best of luck. Mayor of Thurles Cllr Michael Cleary then welcomed everyone to Thurles and Chairman of South Tipperary County Council Cllr John Crosse also addressed the participants.
The first runner back to enter the grounds of LIT Tipperary was Nenagh’s Siobhan Doherty, in a chip time of 35.51 followed very quickly by Catherina McKiernan in a chip time of 36.14. Third place went to Clonmel AC’s Angela McCann (37.58) Fourth was C laire Annan (39.47). Fifth was Aine Roche (41.00) and sixth was Marie Fitzgibbon( 41.06 ). All commented that the route was very fair and much less hilly than the 2010 route in Thurles!
All the participants between runners and walkers were back in a time under 2 hours and 5 mins, which is faster than previous years perhaps an indicator of the success of the Meet and Train groups around the County.
The local Thurles Meet and Train group had a huge number of participants taking part on Sunday, and were very striking in their yellow NTSP tee shirts. This Meet and Train group was set up by the North Tipperary Sports Partnership (NTSP) in February 2012, in partnership with Thurles Crokes AC with the aim of increasing the numbers of women jogging, running and getting fit in the Thurles area.
This was the first ever Mini Marathon for Thurles lady Margueritte Hayes aged 52, who trains with this Thurles group and she commented ‘There was an absolutely cracking atmosphere at the event, and it was just great to be a part of it. From the send off to the finish line, it was just thoroughly enjoyable and I cant thank all the organisers and the volunteers enough. I was delighted to finish with my training partner Maeve McKevitt in a time of 57.03 . Thanks also to Marion Hughes who trains our group week in week out and to the North Tipperary Sports Partnership for their constant support. I’m looking out for my next 10k now’ .
Carol O’Donovan from the Canon Hayes Meet &Train Group in Tipperary town also completed her first ever mini marathon in a time of 1.13.48. ‘I am delighted to have completed my first 10k and it was not as grueling as I expected, as a first time participant I would highly recommend it, since I started training for the mini marathon, I feel better, toned up and lost 8lbs. It wasn’t as daunting as I expected and I am so looking forward to doing my next 10k, thanks to the STSP for the support, Ruairi Davitt and the meet n train in Tipperary Town’.
The 2012 Tipperary Mini Marathon was supported by a groundswell of local businesses and civic organisations. There was huge praise for the superb organisation and months of careful preparation from the hard working committee who were led by Elaine Cullinan and Valerie Connolly of NTSP and STSP . The organising committee included represenatives from both Sports Partnerships, Thurles Town Council, LIT Tipperary,Thurles Gardaí, Tipperary County Athletics, Thurles Crokes AC, Tipp FM and North Tipperary Civil Defence.
Elaine Cullinan, NTSP commented ‘From an organisers point of view we are delighted with how the event went today. Every single participant from a 35min finish time to a 2 hour finishing time is leaving with a smile on their face and having had an excellent experience. A big thank you to the town of Thurles for really getting behind the event and to our many sponsors who gave so generously, Tom Harvey Motor Company Ltd, who provided the Lead Car, and provided the water and refreshments needed for the event. Thurles Fresh Milk provided all the milk at the finish line, as well as generously providing a sponsorship donation and Thurles European Town of Sport Committee also provided sponsorship. A host of local businesses provided items for the goody bags and spot prizes, and these are all listed on our website www.tippminimarathon.ie
All results and photographs will be posted on this website very shortly. Thanks again to one and all who contributed to the biggest and most successful Tipp Mini Marathon we have had to date, and how fitting that Thurles is also the first Irish town to be designated a European Town of Sport for 2012.’
Valerie Connolly, STSP thanked all the Volunteers who helped out saying “Volunteers are essential for any successful event. Without the 70 people who volunteered, this wouldn’t have been the great success it is today. We are delighted with the numbers of women who participated this year, and with the success of the many Meet and Train groups around the county, that have all fed into this event in huge numbers. For further details on these groups in North and South Tipperary check out www.ntsp.ie and www.stsp.ie.