PEOPLE from across South Galway and Clare will be welcomed to Beagh later this month for a series of events aimed at raising funds for the community centre in parish.
The Martin Egan 10km, commemorating the late Shanaglish athlete, will be held on Saturday, August 31 before a family fun day at the centre on Sunday, September 1.
The funds raised on the day will go towards Beagh Community Centre. Margaret Walsh, chairperson of the centre, explains why the money is badly needed.
“There are so many things that have to be done at the centre. We need to raise money to organise activities for the children of the parish for the winter months. We will have social dancing for adults, hip hop for kids, soccer and basketball for children but the money will also be spent on improvements because the centre is in need of maintenance work as well.
“Some of the money will also be spent on the day-to-day expenses involved in keeping the centre open too because like all centres, there are bills to pay as well. This will keep the centre open.
“It is important to keep community centres open and available to people because they help keep communities alive. We are striving to make the community centre, literally a centrepiece or focal point of the community,” she added.
The 2013 Martin Egan 10km is the fourth year of the event honouring the late athlete.
“In 1946, Martin Egan broke the four-mile Irish record in Dundalk and in 1948, he was selected to represent Ireland in the London Olympics. Also in Dundalk, he, his two sisters and a brother all won national titles. To this day, the Egan family are the only family to have won four national titles in one day,” Ms Walsh outlines.
“I think it is important that we remember athletes for their achievements and Martin’s son, Declan, lives here in the parish now so it is appropriate that we remember him and his achievements. There are two prizes for the Martin Egan 10km, a perpetual cup for the overall winner and one for the first local person across the line as well. Last year, the race was won by Clare man Michael Shannon. Because of Martin’s legacy in athletics, it is particularly apt that we hold a race in his memory,” she added.
While the event is a race, Ms Walsh is keen to point out that it is open to people of all abilities.
“The 10km is starting from and finishing at the community centre on the Saturday at 6.30pm. We are holding it at this time because there are so many races on Sundays nowadays. Holding it on a Saturday evening means people can have their Saturday as usual and then do the race in the evening and have Sunday as a family to themselves.
“Of course, we are holding the fun day on Sunday and we are hoping people will support that too. We are hoping that at least 150 people will take part. This is the fourth running of it and people can walk or run, so it is achievable for everyone,” she said.
The family fun day begins at 2pm on the Sunday.
“There are events for people of all ages. We will have bouncing castles, welly-throwing competitions, potato-picking competitions, a guess the weight of the sheep contest, tug o’ war, a dunking machine and a puc fada, among other things. We are particularly looking forward to the tug of war. We have a cup for that too and are looking for lots of teams to enter. These are teams of eight so families, neighbours, pub teams, friends, anyone can get together and make a team and take part. It is really good fun,” Ms Walsh concluded.