The 2020 RunDonegal 5K was launched this week in Stranorlar.
President-elect of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Michael Naughton, performed the official launch at the Finn Valley Centre.
Once again the Brid Carr Ovarian Cancer Research Fund will be the main beneficiary from the event which takes place on Sunday, April 5th at 11 am in the Twin Towns. Last year €7,500 was raised through the annual event which attracted an entry of 600. Brid Carr, who was a native of Glencolmcille, died from ovarian cancer in 2014 aged 54.
Speaking at the launch, Cllr Naughton said he was hugely honoured to be asked to perform the official launch.
“It’s my first official engagement since I was elected,” he commented.
“It’s all about the ladies and that’s what I have been involved in since I came to the county. Some of the best days of my life were during my involvement with ladies county football.”
“I’d delighted to be launching this event which is all about 20 x 20 in 2020. Fair dues to Grace and Bridgeen for their foresight – there wasn’t much mention of 20 x 20 back in 2005,” the Letterkenny-based hotelier added.
Patsy McGonagle of Finn Valley AC congratulated Cllr Naughton on his election and wished him well.
“I’m delighted for you and I know you have a passion for women’s football from a long way back,” Patsy said.
“We’re delighted at Finn Valley to be hosting this once again. It’s a women’s event and it’s a beautiful event.”
Patsy recalled when the first all-women’s race – a 3K in Letterkenny – was organised by Grace Boyle and Bridgeen Doherty 15 years ago.
“It began with the girls coming from Loreto in those days. You wondered would it survive. And it has. It’s got stronger. The women take great pride in getting involved and they get involved in a women’s charity,” he added.
“We’re delighted to be associated with the memory of Brid and send our best wishes to Seamus.”
Patsy pointed out that 253 women in Ireland died last year from ovarian cancer.
“The number is coming down and the whole education process is working. So, the research is vital.”
Patsy also thanked Tim Kelly in London for sponsoring the t-shirts for the event.
“It’s a seriously positive event,” he declared.
Race organiser, Grace Boyle, said that the first race organised in 2005 was aimed at increasing the number of women in local races.
“We started out with a 3K. Whatever chance we had of getting them to run a 3K, we wouldn’t get them to do 5K. We kept with it because it was a vehicle for fundraising and it was involving women every year. We were passionate about seeing women getting involved in sport.”
Thanking Michael Naughton for coming along to launch the event, Grace said: “He has pushed our Donegal women to the front for a long number of years. I know how passionate he is about ladies football.”
“We’re delighted to be involved with the Brid Carr Ovrian Cancer Fund. Brid’s sister, Rosemary, is a very good friend of ours and we’re delighted to be able to do a bit of fundraising for them. They’re back on board this year and they wanted to continue the research for another year.
“Brid always had a lovely smile and you just feel that smile is on us in this room now.
We do take big pride in the fact that whatever money comes in goes straight to the charity.
We have a number of people who help out. Tim Kelly in London looks after the t-shirts, while Martin McHugh and Declan Gallagher are sorting the water.
We are also getting extra support from the Donegal Sports Partnership are promoting women in sport through the 20 x 20 programme. They are sponsoring the pink neck scarves for women and we think they will be a big hit. “
Grace said the objective was to increase the numbers in those taking part in the race by 20 per cent.
“This year, there’s a campaign running nationally which is aiming to increase women’s participation in sport by 20 per cent.”
Co-organiser, Bridgeen Doherty, explained that the well-established event has raised money for local women’s charities, and spoke about the importance of women supporting women.
“The money is going back into the community and is supporting women. I think the race has been the launching pad for so many women in sport. Sometimes they like to start among their own gender and women in buggies and younger and older women feel that it’s their comfort zone,” Bridgeen added.
Speaking on behalf of the Carr family, Pauric Carr said the RunDonegal event has been hugely beneficial in raising money for ovarian cancer research.
“I want to thank everyone involved and thank Patsy for the use of this remarkable place you have here.”
Rosemary Foy, a sister of the late Brid Carr, said the family was delighted that the research work will be funded for another year.
“We are delighted to get the proceeds again this year – this is the fourth time the fun will benefit from the race,” she added.
Martin Gallagher from MCM, who is co-sponsoring the water for this year’s race with Declan Gallagher from Ocean Knowledge, said he was honoured to be part of the event.
“Declan’s daughter is actually captain of the Donegal under-14 football team,” he said.
“Ryan (McHugh) always speaks about Jamie Brennan playing football with a smile on his face. I knew Brid and she always had a smile on her face. I was in London one time when speaking to the doctors, they described Brid as the best nurse ever to come in the door of Great Ormond Street Hospital. So, it’s great that we are having this to honour her. Sometimes great people are forgotten about, so this is so good to remember her here,” he added.
Entry fee for the 2020 RunDonegal 5K is €10.