What a fantastic and special day the club had last Saturday at its second attempt to break the world record for a 12-hour relay. Running a relay continuously for 12 hours is a major undertaking and it was wonderful to see the huge effort from right across the club and the community to pull it off. We didn’t break the record unfortunately but we did break the fund-raising record for a 12-hour relay with close to €20,000 raised from the event!! Huge kudos to Siobhan Moorhead, Frank Maher and Karen Stace who did the bulk of the organisation leading up to the day and pulled us all together on what was an incredible club-bonding day for us all!
And miraculously, despite predictions of showers throughout the day and flooding across half the country, there was not a drop of rain until 10.15pm when everyone had left the facility – divine intervention!
The world relay fundraiser along with other fundraising activities and grants over the last 3 years will have fully paid for our 400m track development since the commencement of the works in 2021 – a major achievement for a project which cost over €355k and with Sports Capital grants totaling €192k, with the balance of more than €163k raised in fundraising activities over the past 3 years.
We took advantage of the day to also officially open the 400m track, with the ceremony performed by our own Shauna Bocquet and Ciaran Cannon TD. Shauna kick-started the 400m track fund-raising campaign in the autumn of 2020 with great help from Ciaran, whose advice was also instrumental in applying for Sports Capital funding for the project.
Our club sponsor Jody’s also joined us for the day with Jody himself down for the official opening. Jody’s came on board as the club’s official sponsor during the pandemic, providing a very welcome injection of funds at a time when the future looked a little rocky due to the cessation of activities for different periods during the pandemic.
Massive thanks also to club member and photographer extraordinaire John O’Connor who patiently took 100s of photographs throughout the day to capture the excitement of each moment. John is pictured above with Jody in a rare moment when John popped over to the other side of the camera!
John is known throughout the length and breadth of the county for his remarkable collection of photographs from different events in the county and beyond which he shares for free on his www.flickr.com/photos/edenhill77 site – providing such a record of these events for the current and future generations. What is not as widely known about John is that he was a remarkable runner also back in the day with a 71 minute PB for the half-marathon, a 51 minute PB for 10 miles and a 10k track PB of 31:37 – the top tier of distance runners of any generation.
And a big thanks also to Johnny and the crew from Jody’s providing tea/coffees and snacks throughout the day. A huge thanks also to Brady’s Butchers Athenry who sponsored the burgers for the BBQ, and to Matt from Chef’s Café who provided the sauces, wraps and boxes for the burgers, and to our many coaches who tirelessly cooked all day for the 1000+ participants.
Pat Reidy (Xyea Ltd.) was also onboard as the official sponsor of the World Record Relay attempt. All of Pat’s kids were in the club for many years and it was great to have him as the event sponsor.
We also had Kevin Quirke from Craughwell GAA with us at the opening as well as our solicitor Ciara Lennon. Kevin was centrally involved in the transfer of a small piece of land that kinked in by 5 metres at one point along the boundary between the 2 sports grounds and restricted the development of the 400m track. Craughwell GAA transferred the land for free to the athletic club and Ciara did all the legal work for free for us. We wouldn’t have what we have without these efforts.
Huge credit and thanks also to Galway Rural Development and the local Community Employment Scheme who do trojan work to keep our grounds in immaculate condition.
And also there for the opening was Kieran Quinn from Sean Dockery & Co. Kieran did the planning applications and drawings and contractual documents for several of our projects including the building and the 400m track and had been a huge asset to the club. Others to thank include Iggy Greaney Consulting Engineer who has done countless engineering letters for the club and supervised a lot of the works; Noel Gorman who did many of the earlier plans and drawings when we purchased the land; Community Finance Ireland who have provided many loans to us for the ongoing development and from whom we still have significant loans for previous parts of the development; Sean Campbell of Sports Grounds Specialists who did a fantastic job on the tartan layer and track lining and Seamus Coleman who did a super job on the groundworks for the track.
And a big shout out to all of the other clubs and to the community who came along to support us in huge numbers on the day and help us keep the relay running, especially Castlegar AC and Athenry AC and Craughwell Camogie Club who were there in numbers.
And finally the most important people of all – our athletes, coaches and committee members who put in such an effort on the day. We won’t single out anyone here as we will almost certainly leave someone out. But it was a mammoth effort with huge numbers of our members there for between 6 and 12 hours, running, officiating, chatting and having fun.
A subset of photos from the day are below and check out John’s www.flickr.com/photos/edenhill77 site for a lot more.