Marathon to give economy €250k boost

Paddy Sharkey,  Liam Cotter, and Michelle McGee after crossing the finishing line last Sunday. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
This year’s Pat The Baker Longford Marathon may well generate anything up to €250,000 for the local economy.

This year’s Pat The Baker Longford Marathon may well generate anything up to €250,000 for the local economy.

Organisers believe the six figure sum is what several of the county’s hotel, restaurant and hospitality sector’s will rake in when final figures are eventually totted up.

“I’d be very surprised if you are not talking, with everything that went on, around €250,000,” said Liam Fenelon on Monday.

The co-founder of the 26 mile annual spectacle was taking part in his 274th marathon, 13 years after he first talked the idea over with Fr Ciaran McGowan.

“We thought we would be doing well if we managed just the one year, never mind 13.

“I’m just so proud to have been involved in something I helped start.”

Widely dubbed as being the so-called ‘Friendly Marathon’, that trait has helped fashion an ever growing domestic as well as international dimension.

“We have people from the US over all week, from the UK, Sweden, all over,” said Mr Fenelon.

“We were in Duignan’s (Tally Ho) last night (Sunday) and they (customers) were out the door. Our numbers were well up on last year which is fantastic to see.”

As well as its fundraising appeal, there were a number of interesting sub-plots to this year’s event.

At the top of these was the presence of UK runner Brian Mills who was taking on his 1000th attempt at completing 26 miles.

What Mr Fenelon wants now is to see other agencies throw their weight behind the much talked about annual fundraiser.

“The volunteers who helped out were great, as were Pat The Baker, Green Farm Foods and SuperValu.

“The Council and Failte Ireland should be getting behind us though. What with shops closing and more and more people out of work, it’s the only thing that is positive in Longford right now,” he said.

The number 13 might be unlucky for some, but for Mr Fenelon and others involved in the Longford Marathon, it’s a number that couldn’t be more auspicious.