#Sisterhood - Grainne Siriwardhana for Galway Rape Crisis Centre

I have completed the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon most years since 2007 making this year my 11th race. Most of those years I was walking as I have struggled with my weight since my late teens. In the last 2 years I have managed to lose over 5 stone and develop a new love for exercise, including running. In 2017 I ran the VHI women's mini marathon (10km), walked from Sarria to Santiago as part of the Camino de Santiago (117.3km), ran the Streets of Galway (8km) and completed my first half marathon (21km). Last year I managed a personal best in the VHI Mini Marathon and I am hoping for another one this year.

Over the years I have completed it with many different groups and even on my own. But the good thing about this race is you are never on your own. You are surrounded by women on many different journeys and of various fitness levels but all united in raising money and awareness for their chosen charity. This is the reason I love the Women’s Mini Marathon, you are surrounded by women encouraging other women. Everyone is there to be the voice of their charity and it is so amazing to see the range of colours of all the different T-shirts on the day. For most of these charities races like this one are vital for raising funds.

My chosen charity this year is the Galway Rape Crisis Centre who give a voice and support to so many. GRCC’s vision is of a just and equal society where everyone has the right to live free from sexual violence and abuse. GRCC provides a professional, caring and confidential counselling and support service for those in our community affected by sexual abuse and sexual violence. They also work towards ending cultural and societal tolerance of sexual violence through advocacy, awareness raising and education programmes. For more information visit http://www.galwayrcc.org/

No matter how many races I take part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon will always be my favourite. It was the first ever race I completed in 2007 and every year I look forward to going back again. The atmosphere is so positive on the day and you will always be encouraged by the women you meet along the way. In a world where people can be put down for many reasons it is fantastic to have events like this to raise people up and inspire them to achieve their goals. You may feel tired after finishing the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon but you will finish with a smile on your face and be on cloud 9 for the rest of the day.

Triona Driscoll