Home News The Donegal Creameries Mooathon

The Donegal Creameries Mooathon


By: Gwen McFadden They came from all over the country and indeed, all over the world to take part in what is fast becoming known as Ireland’s most challenging and yet most FUN half marathon. For the locals who know the roads, imagine running the 13.1 miles from Kilmacrennan , up, up and up those hills via the Lough Salt route, down into the village of Glen and then on to finish in Downings. Not for the faint hearted, by no means. And yet they come and more of them are coming each year. With well over 300 entrants, 90 percent from outside Donegal, they came from every county in Ireland to the tiny village of Kilmacrennan on Sept. 30, 2007. There were participants from Sweden, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Australia, Malawi, Canada, USA and all over the UK.
And why do they come to Donegal? Was it the large cash prize for the winner; was it for the outrageous but coveted medals shaped like a cows head; was it for the stunning trophies with those black and white cows on top? Maybe it was because Sunday, Sept. 30 was Irish Heart Day and the Irish Heart Foundation, together with Bothar and Fighting Blindness are the Charities associated with the race this year. They certainly didn’t come for the lashing rain on Sunday morning at the starting time of 10a.m. Perhaps the clearing skies and the breathtaking scenery that emerged as the morning went on made their journeys’ all worthwhile.
The Donegal Creameries MOOATHON is taking on a life of it’s own in running circles. It’s a serious race with an attractive cash prize for the winner, with male and female pitted against each other; the ladies getting a time handicap. And yet, serious and challenging as the run and the course are, it’s a lot of fun too. Participants dress up in their finest ‘Cow’ gear and this year saw many running the full 13.1. miles dressed from head to foot in the funniest and most bizarre outfits and costumes. Some come with just the basics, a tail perhaps or a large ring through the nose, ear tags and the like. Some go all the way and well over the top making it a difficult task to decide who should win the prize for the Best Costume. All runners are dressed in Black and White regardless. Face painters are on hand at the starting line to add extra decoration in the form of black splotches with MOOO written on. It’s a crazy, funny, exciting, different type of event and it all happens right here in Donegal at the end of September.
This year’s race saw local hero and runner extraordinaire Pauric Mc Kinney take the honours in a time of 1.15.21: . With a great run, Martin Gormley, also of Letterkenny Athletic Club came in second. First lady home was Josephine Killeen from Dublin with a time of 1.30.41 followed by Fiona Donovan.
Best dressed was Goth Cow, all the way from Boston with his outfit carefully packed into his suitcase. Of note was Dr. Peter Ferris who started at 8 a.m. in Downings, ran back to Kilamcrennan and then joined the pack to turn around and run right back again making it his 290th full marathon this year.
The Corporate Challenge prize went to Pramerica and the Club challenge prize was undisputedly awarded to Letterkenny Athletic Club.
Prizes in the various age categories and all the results together with lots of photographs of that fun day can be fully viewed at www.mooathon.com
As with all these events, many thanks must go to the sponsors, namely Donegal Creameries, McFaddens Pharmacy, The Encore Ramada Hotel and many others. Many thanks to the local press and Highland Radio for spreading the moo’s.
Without the input of Letterkenny Athletic Club and most specifically Brendan Mc Daid; the Gaa Club in Downings and Neil Martin; and the many many volunteers on the day the Mooathon would MOOOOOOOO no more.
Roll on Mooathon 2008 and ask yourself…”Are YOU tough enough?” and if the answer is yes, then ‘JUST MOO IT!”.