Established in 2002, the Pat the Baker Longford Marathon will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Sunday August 28 next when over 1,000 participants take to the streets of County Longford. Co-founder of the marathon, Liam Fenelon, spoke to the Longford Leader about the marathon and in particular its importance to local and national charities.
“The Pat the Baker Longford Marathon started by accident really,” said Liam. “It was my 100th marathon and Fr. McGovern and myself decided at the time that it would be nice to run my 100th marathon in my home town.”
So it was that the two men pulled together their resources and established Longford’s first 26.2 mile run. Although only in its first year, the sports event managed to attract some 250 runners. Since that time the Pat the Baker Longford Marathon has gone from strength to strength, and among the many winners associated with it are local charities.
“Each year consistently we have donated funds to St. Christopher’s Services,” said Liam.
“People who run in the marathon have the option of raising funds for any charity they may choose,” said Liam. “They have raised funds for Longford Hospice, the Niall Mellon Fund, Temple Street etc...”
Over the last ten years, the marathon weekend has expanded to include a half marathon (13.1 miles), a village to village relay were four people do the marathon between them, and this year for the first time, the event will include an Ultra Marathon (39 miles).
The fun steps into action on Friday August 26 when a 5km road race - run, walk or jog entries accepted on the evening at The Computer Clinic.
“We are holding a ceili night on the Friday night in the Longford Arms Hotel with the Annaly Ceili Band,” said Liam. “We hope this night will be of interest to all, including the tourists that are coming from America, Germany, England, Scotland and other parts of Europe.”
On Saturday morning at 10am there is a complimentary 3KM breakfast run from St Christopher’s Battery road all are welcome. There will also be a Kids’ Sports Day at St. Mel’s College, Longford. Entry is €4. The event is aimed at ages 6 to 12 years and includes treat bags from McDonalds.
Sunday, August 28 is the big day of the weekend. Artists such as Mick Foster, Mick Flavin, Declan Nerney, Paschal Flaherty, The Annaly Ceili Band, Padraig Farrell, Seamus Farrell, Noel Sweeney, Ambrose McDermott and Paul Gurney will provide the entertaining backdrop for the runners and spectators.
“We would encourage all householders who live along the route to please come out and cheer the group along,” said Liam. The route begins in Longford and moves to Tarmonbarry, Rooskey and Newtownforbes before returning to Longford. The Ultra Marathon will also include Clondra and Killashee.
If you are interested in undertaking the marathon or being part of a relay team, contact the Longford Marthon office on 043 3349682 or our website www.longfordmarathon.com