'Best foot forward' - TV presenters Matt Cooper and Brendan Courtney step up at the official launch of the 2019 Achill Half Marathon & 10K
The 14th annual Achill Half Marathon and 10K run takes place on 6th July. Registration for this event is now open and the committee advises interested parties to sign up early as the event is capped at only 1,200 runners and last year’s event sold out some time in advance.
Keeping these runners hydrated required approximately 12,500 bottles of water at refreshment stations along the route. Keen to reduce the negative impact of large events on the environment, AchillTourism.com and the Achill Half Marathon committee teamed up with local secondary school, Colaiste Pobal Acla, to test a new system of filtered water served through reusable cups. Following the success of these trials, the committee are rolling it out for this year's race.
With the help of Refill Ireland, the reusable cups will be collected, steam cleaned and reused at other events around the country. Eliminating 12,500 plastic bottles from the Achill Half Marathon is just the start. The organisers have secured electric vans from Mayo County Council to help with the logistics and participants are also invited to take part in a series of two-minute beach clean ups after the event. The organisers hope that other events will follow suit and ultimately remove millions of bottles anually from such events. Sean Molloy, manager of AchillTourism.com said: "the Achill Half Marathon is the largest event that takes place on the island annually and there is an increasing onus on event organisers not only to ensure that there is no damage to the environment but also to take the opportunity of leading by example. That is why we figured that just recycling single use plastic bottles was just not enough anymore so we decided to eliminate them completely". He added, "For that reason we are particularly delighted to have partnered with Volvo Cars and Kenny Galway. Volvo Cars' vision is to have 50% of their cars fully electric by 2025. And we are also excited about partnering with Solar 21, an Irish-based renewable energy company that provides clean energy from biomass, biogas and energy from waste and solar power to thousands of homes in the UK and in Italy".
Matt Cooper, the host of Today FMs "Last Word" radio show, and TV presenter and fashion designer Brendan Courtney were on hand in Dublin in May 2019 to launch this year's event. Both stars will be running in the 10K, while Matt's wife Aileen will be competing in the half marathon. Speaking at the launch, Matt admitted that it would be his first visit to Achill but had heard a lot about the beauty of the place and that it was great to hear that there was an environmental angle to the event. Brendan has been to Achill before and said that he had a few great stories to tell about his previous visits! Update 6th June - Unfortunately Matt is unable to attend this year's event.
The route of the marathon takes in 3 of Achill's 5 Blue Flag beaches and was voted "Ireland's Most Scenic Route" by the readers of Run Ireland and also received "Ireland’s Best Half Marathon" Award from the same readers. Chairman of the Achill Half Marathon Committee, Pauric Corrigan, said that winning those awards last year meant so much to the committee, the volunteers and the community in Achill as a whole. "The awards were a great recognition of the hard work that has gone into the event by so many people over the 14 years. Therefore we are more determined than ever to make the 2019 race even better than ever. We look forward to welcoming the participants back to Achill again."
Andrew and Michael Bradley from Solar 21 said: "We are proud sponsors of the Achill Half Marathon, Ireland’s first green marathon. We grew up on Achill Island, where our mother Colette, ran the local village shop in village of Dooagh on the island. Working there is where we developed the entrepreneurial spirit that has fuelled our success. In 2010 we founded Solar 21, a renewable energy development company with offices in Dublin, the UK and the Italy. The company has since expanded beyond solar power into a range of renewable technologies including biomass, biogas and energy from waste. Today, we have a project pipeline valued at over £2.2bn. As the company has grown, we've remained connected to the community in Achill and are delighted to be able to support Ireland's first green marathon".
Brian Kenny – Dealer Principal at Kenny Galway Volvo said – "we are delighted to continue our support with Volvo for the Achill Marathon and recognise the great work at a local level which makes this such a fantastic annual event."
Presenters Matt Cooper and Brendan Courtney with representatives of Achill Tourism and Achill Half Marathon at the official launch of the 2019 Achill Half Marathon & 10K, May 2019