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€120,000 windfall from mini marathon

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The 2012 West Clare Mini Marathon has raised a figure close to €120,000 from last January’s mini marathon and additional events this year.

Some of the services provided by the group include taxi services to Limerick, Galway and Dublin for cancer treatment, counselling, palliative care chairs for use at home and funding for some services in Regina House, Kilrush.


The mini marathon has an office in Kilkee, which is staffed by Donna McGrath, Monday to Friday, from 11am to 2pm.

“I’d safely say at this stage that we’re close on having raised €120,000, which is a huge amount of money again,” committee chairman Willie McGrath confirmed.

“Without our participants in the mini marathon, it just wouldn’t be possible,” he added, before detailing recent funding made available to Regina House.

“There’s more demand on the services at Regina House than ever. Over the last eight or nine weeks, we’ve given them €5,000 to buy syringe-driven morphine pumps. They just simply wouldn’t have been able to get them. That’s going to make a huge difference in Regina House,” Willie said.

Committee secretary Mary McGrath pointed out that financial aid for people struck down by cancer can be a huge aid to them.

“To say that you can financially support someone who has been diagnosed, that’s what they want to hear. Money speaks all languages. It could be the difference of having a second opinion or even getting counselling. We can provide these services but it’s only with the support of the people of Clare,” she said.

“The local services are so important, especially the way things are going now. All of the money stays in the region. We use it to the best of our ability and we hope to provide these services for many years to come,” she added.

Among recent fundraising events was a head shave and leg waxing in Tubridy’s, Doonbeg, in July. Catriona Kelly from Carrigaholt once sported shoulder-length hair. That was before she had it shaved off to raise money for the West Clare Mini Marathon Fund.

“They all kept calling me Sineád O’Connor everywhere I went,” Catriona laughed.

“Caroline Morrissey was the hairdresser. She was giving the razor to everybody but then my aunt (Angela McGovern) came in and asked for the scissors so I got a heart attack when I heard that. Caroline gave her scissors and she snipped the hair. She actually kept what she took, put it into a plastic bag and showed it to me the next day,” Catriona recalled vividly.

Happy enough that her hair has since grown significantly, Catriona was delighted to help out. “It’s a great cause and it’s near home. So many people that you know have to go up and down to Limerick or Galway for cancer treatment. So I thought if I could help, I’d do it,” she explained.

So will she do it again? “No, definitely not,” Catriona replied.

The Marrinan family in Cooraclare held a fundraiser on the weekend of March 17 in memory of Marty Marrinan.

“My father passed away a year and a half ago from cancer. The fact that he was so involved in music, dancing and singing, we decided to put a weekend together for his first anniversary on March 17. On the Friday night, we launched a CD and on the Saturday we had a lovely concert in the church. All the people that he played with down through the years sang, played or danced. We had fantastic support from neighbours, his friends and everyone,” Therese Marrinan explained.

“We decided then to fundraise and whatever money we made, after paying our expenses, we gave to the West Clare Mini Marathon Cancer Fund, Milford Hospice, the Declan O’Shea Trust and The West Clare Kidney Association,” Therese added.

Other cancer fundraisers held this year include the Dan O’Halloran Memorial Walk/Run (€1,400), the Tom Carey Memorial Weekend in Cree (€750), Aaron Ryan, Pine Grove, Ennis (€650) and a New York Golf Classic organised by PJ Harvey ($5,000).

Donna McGrath can be contacted Monday to Friday 11am to 2pm at the West Clare Mini Marathon Cancer Centre in Corry Lane, Kilkee on 065 9056181. Further information is also available on

Seeds of charity run sown back in 1998

MAYOR of Kilkee, Claire Haugh, has been an active West Clare Mini Marathon Committee member for several years. She is honest enough to admit, however, that she never visualised the now annual mini marathon surviving beyond its first running in 1998, when 24 runners took part.

“We were at the Stella Maris Hotel waiting for the runners to come in on a bitterly cold January day. I looked down O’Curry Street and saw these few stragglers trying to run up the road.  I said ‘what on earth is Willie McGrath doing?’ They came in and they were panting and puffing and I said ‘that’s the end of that’. But thankfully, jokes aside, I was wrong. It’s like a big oak tree. It started very small and it has spread and grown to where it is today,” Councillor Haugh said.

“It provides huge assistance to people who are unfortunately struck down with the disease of cancer. It’s heartening to see all the support that’s there for people in their hour of need. People are brought to the hospitals from their houses and brought home. That kind if service is coming out of this mini marathon for people,” she explained.

Councillor Haugh feels the mini marathon participants and people who organise separate fundraisers throughout the year are contributing hugely to cancer patients’ welfare.

“Great credit is due to those people. They see the benefit of the marathon for people in West Clare and beyond.  It’s a great success story here in the town of Kilkee,” she believes.

Margaret Keane from Carrigaholt is one of the West Clare Mini Marathon’s contact personnel. When somebody receives news of a diagnosis, a family member often contacts a mini marathon committee member, in total confidence, to establish if some funding may be available to help them.

“Families get enough of a shock when their loved ones are diagnosed. Just to have the back up and not to have to worry about the financial side or the counselling side is a great help,” Margaret said.

“It can be delicate. You have to maybe go through the family indirectly and find out from their relations if they need help. There’s a big element of trust involved,” she added.

Margaret has found over the years that word of mouth is one of the most effective ways of people finding out what services the committee offer.

“Families talk to each other and they hear it. We try to keep it in the church newsletters as well and that’s how they often hear about it,” she said.

Contact personnel are also available in Kilrush, Doonbeg, Mullagh, Quilty, Miltown, Cross, Kilbaha, Coolmeen, Labasheeda, Kildysart and Kilkee.

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