Derval O’Rourke rows in for lifeboats’ reindeer runs

At the launch of the RNLI Reindeer Runs in Fota Park.

Sprint legend Derval O’Rourke donned antlers and took her marks to encourage people to take part in a festive fundraiser for the lifeboat service.

The former athlete turned health-food cook-book author, and married to Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary, said she was delighted to be an ambassador for the RNLI’s Reindeer Run events.

The events will take place at three locations around the country.

“It is a real privilege to be back as the ambassador for the Reindeer Run which is a fantastic fundraising event for the RNLI,” she said.

“The RNLI is a charity close to my heart, as my husband is heavily involved in sailing and I find it incredibly reassuring the RNLI provides such a great service.

“This event combines our families’ two big passions — running and the water.

“With all of our lives becoming increasing sedentary an event such as the Reindeer Run is a fantastic opportunity to get out and get moving in three stunning venues around Ireland.

“I am really excited to be there on the day, and to be able to give out my fit foodie goodie bags to the deserving winners.”

She particularly encouraged families to come out, get involved and get moving for a great cause.

Derval was joined at the launch at Fota House and Gardens by Crosshaven RNLI volunteer lifeboat helm Vince Fleming and his two daughters Saoirse and Zarah. Mr Fleming said the RNLI charity relies on the goodwill of the public.

“The funds we raise through the Reindeer Runs support the RNLI in Ireland, providing vital training, equipment and kit for the volunteer lifeboat crew,” he said.

“The RNLI is not just about the lifeboat volunteers and the wider team behind the launches and fundraising.

“There are also the countless families behind every callout for every person brought home.”

This year’s RNLI Reindeer Runs will take place in Liss Ard Estate, Skibbereen, Co Cork, on Sunday November 20; in Fota Park House and Gardens, Co Cork On Sunday, November 27, and in Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin on Sunday, December 4.

The event consists of a 5km and 10km run or walk and a 1km Santa Saunter for children. Entry fees for the longer distances are €20/€22 with the Santa Saunter €12.50 with accompanying adults free.

All participants get a festive RNLI Reindeer Run t-shirt and a pair of novelty antlers to wear.

Participants can register at

Meanwhile, RNLI volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around Ireland and the UK.

The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations, with 45 based in Ireland.


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