Nakita Burke from Letterkenny A.C. emerged victorious at the 2023 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, finishing in an impressive time of 34:27. Courtney McGuire from Clonmel A.C. came in second place with a time of 34:33, while Teresa Doherty from Finn Valley A.C. finished third in 34:58. The Elite Wheelchair Category was won by Shauna Bocquet from Craughwell, Galway, who completed the race in a time of 26:59.
This year’s event saw the participation of women aged between 14 and 93, highlighting the inclusive nature of the marathon. It was the 41st year of the event, which has raised over €226m for charities in Ireland since its inception. The race winner, Nakita Burke, was joined on the podium by Courtney McGuire in second place and Teresa Doherty in third place.
David O’Leary, General Manager of the Women’s Mini Marathon, congratulated the thousands of women who took part in the event, stating that there is no other event like the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. He praised the sense of celebration and camaraderie, the emotion, the laughter, and the fun atmosphere that make the day so special. O’Leary expressed his gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers who give generously of their time each year to make the event happen, as well as the community groups and charities who continue to support the event year after year. He also thanked the women of Ireland for coming out in their thousands to participate.
All participants received a commemorative medal upon crossing the finish line, while title sponsors VHI announced that they have extended their title sponsorship of the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon for a further three years. The preparations for the mini marathon begin early in September each year, with a dedicated team ensuring that they deliver a fun and memorable day out for all participants. The team is assisted on Race Day by 900 stewards from various sports clubs and scouting groups.
The Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is a truly inclusive event, with women of all ages and fitness levels participating for a variety of reasons. Some participate to fundraise for charitable causes, others to achieve personal goals, and many simply to enjoy a special day out with their sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts, or friends. Women who have taken part every year since the event launched in 1983 participate alongside younger women, many of whom are participating for the first time.
Despite high temperatures of around 18 to 20 degrees and a high pollen count, the participants soaked up the lovely weather. Among the participants was Shirley Ruddy, who had travelled from Newry to do the mini marathon for her best friend, Scotty, a bichon frise dog. Ruddy spoke about the special bond between women and their dogs, stating that dogs provide good companionship, unconditional love, and are a woman’s best friend.
The full listing of the results will be published in a special supplement in the Irish Independent on Monday, June 5. The 2023 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon was a resounding success, with women from all over Ireland coming together to celebrate fitness, friendship, and fundraising for charitable causes.