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Last Sunday the Aidlink team, along with 30,000 others, took part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. The sun was shining (which I was told made a nice change from last year when everyone was wringing out their clothes at the end) and spirits were high! Women of all ages and walks of life collected their t-shirts and race numbers and joined the crowds at the starting line in the afternoon. Fitzwilliam Street was a sea of colour with hundreds of different t-shirts representing causes and charities or remembering loved ones. It was my first time participating in the marathon (I managed to jog 2km which seemed like a great achievement on the day) and I was astounded not only at the number of incredible women who took part but also at the feeling of togetherness and solidarity from the beginning to the very end of the race.

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I have just joined Aidlink as an intern, having finished my undergraduate degree in sociology and German in May. I’m particularly interested in women’s studies and feminism. For me, the mini-marathon on Sunday was an amazing display of female solidarity. Whether you were walking or running with a group, a friend or on your own, the support and enthusiasm from others participating held everyone up. The music and DJs throughout the race kept everyone’s spirits high and it was heart-warming to see all the support from the side-lines. One banner read “Ma, you forgot the dog”.

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Embraces were had the end of the race. A huge achievement for many not only physically but also emotionally. Congratulations to Lizzie Lee who took first place with a time of 34.18 and to Shauna Bonquet, the racing wheelchair winner with a time of 32.32. Not only was it an accomplishment for those participating but also for the charities involved. Last year a whopping € 9.3m was raised on the day! Figures have not yet been tallied for this year but it is hoped that this amount will be surpassed.

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The Mini Marathon is a vitally important fundraiser for Aidlink every year. A HUGE THANK YOU everyone who took part on the day, to our fundraising volunteers for their unbelievable work carried out weeks in advance and to those who so generously sponsored them. We couldn’t have done it without you. These funds will go towards our work on improving the lives of people living in impoverished communities in Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. We focus specifically on the rights and needs of women and children in these communities, working to help them achieve healthy and fulfilling lives.

On Sunday we were women and girls running, jogging and walking for other women and girls. It was my first mini-marathon with Aidlink and it certainly won’t be my last!

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