The late great Clara sportsman Paddy Dolan will be fittingly remembered in the town this weekend by way of a charity run/walk.
Paddy - who was known as the Lord Mayor of Clara - suffered pancreatic cancer and passed away on February 3 last.
Now his family and friends have come together to arrange a walk/run this Sunday, September 1, primarily in aid of the pancreatic unit in Vincent’s Hospital where Paddy spent some time.
Schooled in Clara’s Franciscan Brothers School in the early 1950s, Paddy went on to join the Irish Army in 1964. A keen sportsman throughout his life, he took on the title of Lord Mayor of Clara in 1985 as a result of fundraising efforts for local clubs.
The Paddy Dolan Memorial Run was born as an idea in mid-March. Since then Paddy’s wife Rose, his daughters Rachel, Georgina and Caroline and a committee of Paddy’s former friends have worked to organise what looks like being a top-class event.
The centre of Clara will be closed to traffic and diversions will be put in place for a portion of Sunday next to make way for the great run that will be started by Paddy’s wife and daughters.
Beginning from the Green Field, the event will offer both 5km and 10km distances to both runners and walkers alike. Families and children are welcomed in addition, with a special event for children included in the afternoon’s line-up.
Registration for the event is from noon, with the first race off at 1pm.
The race will interest keen runners as it’s measured and approved by the Athletics Association of Ireland. Goodie bags and medals are being provided for all who complete the race however, thanks to the Road Safety Authority, and refreshments will be served at the event’s conclusion. Entry to the race is €15, and proceeds raised will go to the pancreatic unit in Vincent’s Hospital as well as the East Galway Animal Rescue Centre.
One of Paddy’s best friends, Bertie McMahon, said this week the race will be a way of keeping Paddy’s memory alive.
“The fact that Paddy was interested in physical fitness down through the years makes the run even more appropriate,” he said. Phil Keegan, who used to run with Paddy regularly, said race routes are also fitting, as they include ones they often ran.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent Paddy’s wife Rose said she’s particularly keen to thank event supporters, especially businesses in both Clara and Tullamore that have helped financially.
“Paddy would love everyone to come and just enjoy themselves,” she added, encouraging everyone to turn up on the day and have a good time.