AROUND 700 people turned out for the second memorial rural run in memory of Castlemitchell man John Wall on the August bank holiday weekend.
John passed away in 2017 from cancer and it was decided that a memorial event would be held last August as a way of giving something back.
This year’s run was held on the morning of Saturday 3 August, starting from Castlemitchell GFC, and John’s brother Mark explained that the second pitch was full of cars. DJ Fuzzy was on-hand from 10am to entertain those taking part (some of whom ran the 5K while others walked), while the Lilywhite Lightning himself – Eric Donovan – did the warm-up and took part in the race.
“We were shocked by the numbers that turned up,” Mark said, adding that proceeds are going to the Irish Cancer Society. “Just absolutely unbelievable that people came and paid their respects to John and supported such a good cause.
“People wanted to pay their respects to John but they also wanted to support the Irish Cancer Society who do such great work.”
Later that night there was also a social affair at Willie Doyle’s pub where people remembered John. A draw was also held there, with a total of 16 raffle prizes awarded – Pauline O’Rourke won the first prize of a night away for two at the Clayton Limerick and the second prize (a television) went to Emma and Sophie Carolan. Ray McAleenal won the third prize, a monster drinks hamper.
“There was a great turnout… it was an absolutely brilliant night,” said Mark, adding that many of John’s friends were there – people from the club, the community and others who knew him. “John used to work in Willie Doyle’s bar so that’s why we go back there every year.”
Mark highlighted that there many people who helped to make the run a reality, both beforehand and on the day, including Castlemitchell GFC, neighbours who cooperated with the extra traffic on the roads, those who donated prizes, the Order of Malta, people who made, brought or served food and drinks, the volunteers who marshalled the roads, those who sold raffle tickets and much more. Clearly the support from the local community was overwhelming and a lot of people volunteered their time to make the day such a success.
“There’s so many people that we can thank,” he said. “It was a brilliant, brilliant day. We just can’t thank people enough.”
Pettitt’s in Athy also allowed the organisers to sell tickets for the draw outside for two days prior to the event. Mark noted their thanks to them and to the hundreds of people who supported the event via the supermarket, adding that people were giving money and not even waiting around to write their names on the tickets.
“All they wanted to do was support the Irish Cancer Society and support John… we can never thank them enough for that,” said Mark, who remarked that cancer knocks on everybody’s door. “With mam gone two years before it just hit us twice, unfortunately. But look, you get on with it… you do your very best, but you always, always remember. You never forget and that’s what we wanted to do with John’s run.
“People turned out in their hundreds to support him over the weekend and probably into the thousands when you count… the people that bought tickets as well. It was absolutely brilliant.”