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Family to run VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in honour of mother who took part every year

admin | June 5, 2022

On the 40th anniversary of the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon, a woman who did every single race will be remembered by her family who will do it in her honour this weekend. Joan Brady (83) passed away in March and was planning to take part this year, as she had done since it started in 1983. During lockdown, Joan held virtual mini marathons in her home town of Dundalk, and her daughter Helen said the annual event “was the highlight of her year”. Joan Brady (left) with her daughters Helen and Susan. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson A trip to New York’s Central Pack in the early 1980’s, where she saw women walking and jogging in groups together, inspired Joan to start a similar venture when she returned home. It quickly became established and every year, women would join her ‘Dundalk Joggers and Walkers’ group to prepare for the big day in Dublin. Joan also arranged the bus to bring the women to and from Dublin and there was a stop for a celebratory meal on their journey home. Helen believes by doing this, her mother also helped to raise awareness about mental health. “Back in the 80’s, mental health was not a term used a lot, whereas my mum would say it was for her and all for the other women’s mental health that they could walk the mini marathon, have a chat with friends while doing it and there was positivity and camaraderie.” The back of the t-shirts Joan’s family will wear while running this years mini marathon in her memory. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson Some women would join the walking group for a few years and then fall away, only to return, often with their daughters by their side. The camaraderie was important to Joan, with Helen adding: “Her best friends were the people she met in the group.” “During Covid it was a lifeline for her, she would organise walks with a couple of ladies she got close to with social distance (walking) outdoors,” Helen added. Joan planned to do this year’s mini marathon, “hence we are doing the 40th in her honour,” she explains. Helen, her sister Susan, sister-in-law Emma and Emma’s daughter, Alva all be completing the mini marathon in Joan’s honour this year, wearing ‘Jog for Joan’ t-shirts. “She will be smiling down on us without a doubt,” Helen added. The 2022 VHI Women’s Mini Marathon gets underway in Dublin at 2pm today, starting at Fitzwilliam Square and finishing in Merrion Square.

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