top of page

GOAL mile

As David Gillick said, Europe came to Dublin last weekend and what an amazing occasion it was. Thousands of men and women from around Europe came to Abbotstown for the European Cross Country Championship.

In one race alone, there were 114 competitors in the under 23 women’s race. The Irish men’s team won the Under 23 team medal outright. RTE’s overall coverage was excellent and a great run by Fionnuala McCormack was a real highlight. Seeing the Olympic champion Jacob Ingebritzen in Dublin cruising to victory in the Senior Men’s race .

It was great to see Frank Greally of Irish Runner magazine doing interviews at the finishing line and he continues to work hard for running in his role as Ambassador for the Daily Mile initiative.

I run maybe three days a week - not sure the distance but these days I’m back in half an hour. That means probably around 5k.

It’s so good for the stress levels. I have had some stressful jobs.

Being in cabinet as the economy came to a shuddering halt wasn’t good for the nerves, as they say. There was also a lot of pressure being Minister for Children at that time.

My de-stress at that time was running. In fact, during my time as Minister, I did two marathons; one in New York 2008 and one in Dublin 2010.

I was a bit conscious of being seen out training while the country was in such a parlous state. Anyone who has done a marathon knows, you have to do a few long runs - more than 15k as you come closer to the big day.

I used to wear a hat and shades to avoid being spotted. I would sometimes run to or from Government buildings to get the miles in. On one occasion there was a protest at the gate of Government buildings. All the state cars were being harangued. I walked through in my singlet and shorts having been spotted by some of the best security guards ever but not recognised by the protesters.

While CEO of GOAL, I always put the runners in the bag. I ran in Syria, Turkey and Ethiopia (with an olympic champion).

This Christmas, GOAL will be hosting a mile race at hundreds of locations around the country. Some of the most popular locations in Dublin are Irishtown, Kilbogget Park, Porterstown and St Annes Park.

Like the European Cross Country Championships, the GOAL mile relies on hundreds of volunteers giving up their weekend and holiday time to make sure the course is safe and everyone gets their certificate of completion.

The GOAL mile was made famous by the world record for the 4 x 1 mile set by four Irish athletes at UCD Belfield in 1985, Frank O’Mara, Marcus O’Sullivan, Ray Tracey and of course Eamon Coughlan. It’s a record that hasn’t been broken to this day.

We all know that Christmas can be stressful - whether it’s the cost of it or the occasional family row which is not unknown at this time of the year. You could do much worse than dig the runners out of the back of the press, threaten and cajole the kids and get yourself down to a starting line near you. A little donation to a good cause is also good for the soul.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page