#WomenwithImpact - Ann, Co. Mayo

How many of you here reading my blog have said “I’d love to run a 5K or a 10K” but never got to the start line for whatever reason.  This was me 10 years ago – a smoker, over weight and with little or no interest in exercise other than an occasional game of tennis.  Today I am a non-smoker, am under 2 stone lighter and I have run distances ranging from 5k to marathons all over the world.  I have come to love sport particularly running and I hope to share some of my enthusiasm with you so that you too can attain your goal of running the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in June.

My local athletics club introduced the fit4life programme 10 years ago and my sister invited me to participate. At this stage completing a 5k seemed daunting never mind a 10K! However with support and advice in a matter of weeks I completed a 10K and went on to run a half marathon.

I soon realised how important it was to keep fit and active and running is one of the best activities for achieving this. Also there is the comradery and social side of meeting up with friends, having a run and getting a good chat in!! I was hooked. 

Within a number of years I had completed marathons around the world.  Last year after completing the Tokyo Marathon I received the Abbotts World Major Marathon Medal.  This medal is awarded to runners who complete marathons in Chicago, London, New York, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo.  I was immensely proud and privileged to have been awarded this medal.

Over the years I have become a director and coach in Ballina AC. I have organised countless events from 5k to half marathons and in the process I have fundraised thousands for a variety of charities.  As a coach I derive great pleasure from working with new runners on the track to 5K and OT programmes.  I particularly enjoy observing the progress participants make over a number of weeks and the joy on their faces as they receive their medals on race day is very rewarding for me.

Having run countless 10K’s in the west of Ireland it was only in 2017 that I travelled to Dublin to pace my sister Caroline in the Vhi Mini Marathon.  Her goal was achieved when she finished with a PB. I loved the atmosphere on race day.  The positivity, the support on route and the joy of seeing countless women participate and cross the finish line was unbelievable.  We vowed we’d be back!

I have worked with Darkness into Light and Pieta House over the last number of years and I am delighted that we have finally got an outreach service in Mayo. Pieta House is a support service for those at risk or those who have been affected by suicide. The outreach service aims to support people in crisis by providing freely accessible, services.  I am acutely aware of the need for local support systems and therefore I have chosen Pieta House outreach centre in Mayo as my chosen charity

Let’s ensure that Mayo is well represented at the mini marathon this June.  Join Team Ann where our mantra is “I can and I will, just watch me!”

Ann and her Sister Caroline at the 2018 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon

Ann and her Sister Caroline at the 2018 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon

Triona Driscoll