The seventh annual John Minogue Memorial 8km run, walk and 40km cycle will take place in Miltown Malbay this Sunday, with another huge crowd expected to take part.
The event is in memory of local man John Minogue, who passed away aged 50 in 2012.
His brother, Frank, is one of the main men in the organising committee and remembers John as a great sportsman.
“John was quite a prolific sportsman in his youth. He represented Miltown at all levels and played minor football with Clare. He was involved in one of the most infamous days in Clare football, which was the Miltown massacre when Kerry devoured Clare. John actually played with the Clare minors that day. Athletics was his real forte and he did quite a lot of running. Cross-country and marathons were his specialties and, later on, he played junior rugby with Shannon and followed Munster and Ireland rugby closely too. So, all round, he loved sport,” said Frank.
The first memorial event was held the year after John passed away, when a close friend of his approached the family with the idea.
“The idea came about from a guy called Paddy Kelly in Doonbeg, who was very good friends with John. He came to me with the idea of memorial event and Paddy was looking for approval, I suppose, as much as anything else. I went to my parents about it at the time and I remember my father clearly saying ‘Absolutely, as long as it is done right and done for all the right reasons’. Tying in with all that then was a plan that whatever funds we would raise from the event would stay local and go to local charities and support good causes around the Clare area. The first ones we brought on board were the William Winder Rainbow Foundation, the Burren Sub-Aqua group and Sláinte an Chláir,” he noted.
Local charities have benefited hugely from the event to date and this year’s charity partners are the Burren Sub-Aqua, Sláinte an Chláir, Elevate and Clare Cystic Fibrosis. Frank feels each of the groups involved have been of great benefit to the local community.
He said, “We have seen the great search and recovery work the Burren Sub-Aqua crew have done right along the coast. They’re sad circumstances when these guys get involved but to have them on our doorstep is vital. Sláinte an Chlair do fabulous work because I don’t think there’s anyone in West Clare who hasn’t been touched by cancer and the services they provide are brilliant. Clare Cystic Fibrosis is a personal thing for myself and I have seen what they do for people and the Elevate Foundation, founded by John Burke to promote youth wellness, has been brilliant.”
This year’s event will start and finish at the Miltown GAA grounds and Frank is confident of another successful running.
“It is a gorgeous route this year. It goes along by the coast and out into Spanish Point, so there are some beautiful views along the route. You also get a fine strong wind up there to let you know you are on the west coast. I wouldn’t be a runner myself but you would often hear people saying when they come back that it was tough in places when they turned down various roads with the wind, so there’s something in it for everyone.
“The support we have had from the people of West Clare has been huge every single year. Over the past six years, we have raised more than €80,000 and I think that’s phenomenal for a one-day event. It tells more about the people that support and participate in the event more than anything else. We have local sponsors and race partners involved and they have been brilliant to us. There’s a brilliant committee working away in the background too and nearly all of them have been involved from the beginning. Like any event, it doesn’t just start and finish on the day, so without those people working to make it happen, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
The event gets underway at Hennessey Memorial Park in Miltown on Sunday morning, with registration from 9am. The cycle will begin at 10am, with the run and walk underway from 11am.