Golden Girls Launch SPAR Great Ireland Run & National 10k Champs

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

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The SPAR Great Ireland Run 2013 - on Sunday April 14th in the Phoenix Park, Dublin - was launched by Ireland’s European Cross Country champion Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) and her team gold medal winning colleagues Linda Byrne (DSD), Ava Hutchinson (DSD) and Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) in Dublin today.

Britton has committed to lead the women’s field in the Run where she finished seventh in 2011. “I just love the Phoenix Park,” she said. “There is no place better in Europe to run and the buzz around the SPAR Great Ireland Run is incredible. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more kids in their own races; and then runners, joggers and walkers of all abilities start in a top class international race to aim for their own personal best.”

This year’s Run will be all about enjoying a family running day out. It will begin with a SPAR Mini Run for 5 to 8 year olds over a lap of a mile and an adult can run/walk alongside each child if they wish. After the Mini Run comes the SPAR Junior Run for 9 to 15 year olds over a longer distance of 2.5k.

The day is topped off by the 10k which covers a scenic single lap of the Phoenix Park in its springtime glory. The Run will again be shown live on RTE Television.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of athletics has conferred an IAAF Silver Road Race Label on the SPAR Great Ireland Run, in recognition of the event’s high standard of organisation, elite participation and media profile. This is the only Irish event recognised in this way by the IAAF.

Last year’s event was won in a stunning course record time of 27 minutes 49 seconds by multiple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia. The women’s champion was Gemma Steel of Great Britain in 32 minutes and 6 seconds.

Once again a superb field of international and national distance runners will compete on the day, led by Ireland’s European Women’s Cross Country Championship winning team.

The 2013 Run will include the AAI National 10k Championships and will feature most of Ireland’s top distance runners. To further incentivise elite Irish athletes and raise the standard of 10k running in the country, a prize fund is being put in place for the first ten Irish men and women.

Participants are encouraged to raise funds for good causes and the Run’s nominated charities are SPAR’s charity partner, the 3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide) and the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. The Baby Max Wings of Love Fund is the nominated charity for the SPAR Junior Run and Mini Run.

The SPAR Great Ireland Run is an integral part of The Gathering Ireland 2013 and included in its promotional programmes. Runners from all over the world are being encouraged to come to Dublin for the weekend and take in the event. Almost 600 runners from the UK have already entered.

Entrants are asked to identify a preferred county on their entry form and before the event will receive a customised number in their chosen county colours. Every finisher will receive a technical event T shirt, medal, goody bag and chip timed results.

The 2013 event will feature an All Ireland County Challenge competition for the Ronnie Delany Trophy. Using chip finishing time technology the county with the most finishers in a particular time frame are recorded and declared the winner.

Willie O’Byrne, Managing Director of BWG Foods (operators of the SPAR brand) said:

“We are delighted to be the title sponsor of the SPAR Great Ireland Run once again, as part of SPAR’s ongoing commitment to supporting athletics in Ireland. This year SPAR Ireland celebrates its 50th anniversary so it is a very special occasion for us. We are planning to mark our anniversary at the event with prizes for runners including the 50th person to register for the race; and the 50th runner over the finish line in each of the three races. We hope this year we will see record numbers of entrants in all categories.”

For more info see www.greatirelandrun.org

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