THE Kildare Town Running and Triathlon Club has held its fourth annual fundraising event, the 12Ks of Christmas, with 6km and 12km events organised on Saturday 8 December last around the town.
Beginning at 10am on the day, both runs took in the beautiful Curragh Plains and finished at Kildare Business Park, with hot chocolate and marshmallows served afterwards.
The event was chip timed by Pop Up Races. Andrew Sheehan from Leevale Athletic Club in Cork took first place in the 12K race with a chip time of 39 minutes 23 seconds, followed by Brian Byrne (Newbridge Athletic Club; 39m 47s) in second and Chris Morgan (Liffey Valley Athletic Club; 41m 48s) in third.
Newbridge Athletic Club’s Eoghan Dunne scooped first spot in the 6K event with a time of 25 minutes 30 seconds. Second place went to Tek Klimuk on 25m 38s while Garreth Dylan took third on 25m 42s.
“We had 1,000 runners on the day between the 6 and the 12 and it went really well. No snags or hiccups apart from the weather, which we can’t really control!” said Club PRO Noel Hickey, who noted that a huge amount of work goes into the event’s organisation every year. “It all went very well. It’s growing year on year.”
Alongside fundraising for the club, a donation is made to a worthy cause every year. This year’s nominated charity was Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI), an organisation that provides information, support and advice to people living with spina bifida or hydrocephalus, among other roles.
Spina bifida affects the development of the spine and central nervous system, with its most serious form affecting one baby in every 1,000 born in Ireland. Hydrocephalus, meanwhile, is a build-up of fluid on the brain causing pressure and often resulting in damage.
Mr Hickey explained that the organisation was chosen because local car retailer TP Waters, which sponsored the club’s medals for the 12K race, had raised funds for the same cause through the TP Waters Ambition Run back in September.
“We gave them €1,000 as a donation,” he said.
The cheque was presented to SBHI patron and endurance athlete Shane Finn, who returned from America where he is preparing for the American Ultra event in 2019 – participants will run and cycle from San Francisco to New York City in 36 days. Last year, the Kerryman completed a staggering 24 marathons in 24 days around Ireland, raising €142,500 for SBHI in the process.
The Running and Triathlon Club is a social club for people who want to exercise and train for fun, with around 120 members at the moment. Prospective new members, Mr Hickey noted, can register through Triathlon Ireland.
“We’re predominantly a running club, but we have four members who do triathlons and duathlons,” he said, adding that the club runs a couch to 5K programme for beginners every year. “We organise swimming lessons, we organise club runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and long runs at the weekends.”