Three thousand visitors from across the world will converge on Longford for the 2014 Pat The Baker Longford Marathon which is scheduled for Sunday, August 24.
Organising committee Vice Chairperson John Sheehan outlined at last Thursday’s launch in the Longford Arms Hotel that the explosion in popularity of running means that there are more people interested in taking part.
“We are constantly working to make the Longford marathon attractive to runners.”
This year marks the 13th staging of one of the highlights on the Longford calendar. Mr Sheehan explained, “The first marathon was organised in 2002 to mark the 100th marathon of local running legend Liam Fenelon. We never imagined it would grow to be the success that it is.”
All levels of runners are catered for with races including a full marathon, a full marathon relay, half marathon and an ultra-marathon. Last year the event attracted entrants from New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, USA and a number of European countries.
The Longford marathon is measured accurately, professionally marshalled and is affiliated to AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races), which means it provides a qualifying time for some of the biggest races in the world.
MC Tom Maguire praised the dedication of the voluntary committee that drive the event. “There is a great balance of new and established members who bring their expertise to the committee.” He also commended main sponsor, Granard-based Pat The Baker, who were represented by Michael Meaney.
Mr Meaney said they were delighted to continue their five year support of the event and he expressed the hope that the people of Longford would support Pat The Baker in return.
There is also a huge charitable element to the Longford Marathon and while accepting a cheque for €12,000, Donal Drake from St Christopher’s Services revealed that the marathon committee had donated over €160,000 to St Christopher’s since 2002.
Donal Drake said he was thrilled to be part of the marathon committee for the last thirteen years and he outlined to the large crowd gathered, “St Christopher’s is going through a tough time with budget cuts and that the help and support they have received from the public and those who support the Longford Marathon is vital.”
See www.longfordmarathon.com for more.