Niamh Delaney, who is visually impaired, found herself among the elite runners at the end of the women’s mini-marathon in Dublin yesterday.
“My vision is quite blurry, but I was able to follow the track. I had a guide with me, but I lost her,” said Niamh from Co Laois.
“I thought I would do well because I have been practising hard for the event over the last year,” she said.
Her guide was her very fit mother, Mary Delaney, who takes part in the mini-marathon every year to raise funds for the National Council for the Blind of Ireland and Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
The NCBI became involved in Niamh’s life when she was just 11 years old.
She was left visually impaired due to a brain tumour.
“When I was discharged from Beaumont Hospital, the NCBI were a support network for my mother and family to help me adjust to this horrific life-changing experience,” said Niamh.
Both mother and daughter plan to run the mini-marathon for many years to come — it’s their way of giving something back to the NCBI and other charities
Just under 35,000 women took to the streets to take part in Vhi Women’s Mini-marathon that was won by Siobhán O’Doherty from Tipperary.
The event is one of the largest all-female events of its kind that sees runners, walkers and joggers of all abilities complete a 10km route.
Siobhán, who crossed the finish line in a time of 34 minutes and 30 seconds, said she was lucky to have Natasha Adams from Donegal setting the pace for most of the way.
“So poor Natasha had to do most of the work. I just caught her at the end,” said Siobhán.
Natasha, a very close second, finished in a time 34 minutes and 33 seconds.
Siobhán first realised her dream of winning the mini-marathon in June 2013 in a time of 34 minutes and 20 seconds. She had been runner-up in the previous two years.
She said she was delighted with her latest performance and would probably go shopping in Dublin to celebrate her win.
Winner! Siobhan O'Doherty, from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, on her way to winning the 2016 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon! pic.twitter.com/Dhzz2QAeLS— Sportsfile (@sportsfile) June 6, 2016
Winner of the visually impaired category was Sinead Kane from Youghal, Co Cork, whose guide was Sinead Desmond, anchor of TV3’s breakfast show, Ireland AM.
Sinead, who has just 5% vision, ran into controversy last year as she was initially told she could not take part in the mini-marathon because her guide was a man.
However, the organisers reversed their decision and now allow male assistants a special permit to guide visually impaired or wheelchair entrants.
Members of the Order of Malta had 300 ice packs and 1,000 plasters on hand, but only a fraction were used.
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