Going that extra mile!

By Hayden Moore

AFTER just three hours on Christmas Day, Tallaght Athletic Club’s GOAL Mile run, jog or walk raised over €8,500 to help raise awareness and funds for the GOAL programmes in the developing world.

The GOAL Mile has become a staple tradition over the past four decades for Irish families over the festive season with upwards of 300,000 people taking part since it was established in 1982.

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Runners at the GOAL Mile Run at Tallaght AC on Christmas morning.

With it being the 38th year, a record number of people took part in centres nationwide and through the efforts last time out, GOAL managed to reach 5.5 million people in need around the world over the course of the year.

Through their work worldwide, GOAL has been able to support families displaced by conflict in Syria, providing an emergency response to those affected by Cyclone Ida in Zimbabwe and through running nutrition programmes to help infants in refugee camps in Ethiopia.

GOAL provides that support through the work done by communities at grassroots level by raising much needed funds – particularly through the GOAL Mile over the Christmas period.

Since Tallaght AC began doing their part 16 years ago, they have collected almost €115,000 and this year saw a massive turnout which included 86-year-old Angela O’Byrne from the ICA and Ann Woodlock (81), who is a European and World Masters Championship medallist.

It was a real family affair as hoards flocked to the Tallaght AC track on the Greenhills Road with Dublin legend Kevin McManamon bringing his loved ones along, while Olympic athlete for Ireland in 2004, Maria McCambridge, ran the mile with her husband Gary Crossan.

Dublin Fire Brigade was also represented with firefighters running the 1.6km in full equipment. Shamrock Rovers striker Aaron Greene was also in attendance.

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The Oman family

Meanwhile in the west of the county, Lucan Harriers had one of their more successful years since their inaugural GOAL mile in 2002 by raising more than €5,000.

Founder of the event in Lucan, Gerry Martin, described their 18th run as perhaps the “best year” they have ever had with the main attraction, their newly laid running track, playing a starring role.

With 20 volunteers at the ready, Lucan Harriers had “constant people on the track for the two hours” on Christmas morning with local groups such as Lucan Sarsfields GAA, Salmon Leap Canoe Club and Weston Hockey Club among those in attendance.

Following the success of the event, GOAL CEO Siobhan Walsh said: “The GOAL Mile is now in its 38th year and has become a special and important tradition for families and communities.

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The Mortimer family

“People come together and connect in a very special way and it’s wonderful to witness caring in action on such a large scale.

“Far from Home is the theme of our Xmas Campaign this year.

“I am grateful to all of the GOAL workers who are far from home this Christmas caring for the millions of people who are displaced from their homelands through war, conflict, drought and extreme poverty.

“The Christmas GOAL mile is much more than an event.

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Tricia, Kathleen, Trish and Eileen

“It is a very powerful reminder that the people of Ireland will always go the extra mile and in doing so, help create a better world.”

Donations can be made to the cause directly to GOAL at www.goalglobal.org/donate

See more pictures in this weeks Echo (January 2 2019) on page 49

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