IRISH running legend Eamonn Coghlan is appealing to men, women and children all over County Dublin to run a mile for humanitarian aid agency, GOAL, this Christmas.
The former Olympian and 5,000 metre world champion, announced that he and his family will be running a mile on Christmas Day – and wants as many people in Dublin to do likewise.
Every Christmas for four decades it has been a tradition for family, friends and neighbours to take time out to walk, run or jog a mile for GOAL at locations in Dublin to support the agency’s work in 14 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
In an effort to keep the tradition going, and to give people that chance to connect in a different but meaningful way over the festive season, GOAL has announced that the GOAL Mile is going virtual – and people can register to do their mile at a time and place of their choosing, within the COVID-19 guidelines.
So far almost 4,000 Irish people at home and abroad have registered to do a mile.
According to Coghlan, the first man over 40-years-old to run a sub-four-minute mile, the virtual GOAL mile offers people a chance to get out into the fresh air over Christmas and to stand in solidarity with those less well off.
“This has been a very challenging year and Christmas will be different due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We will all miss being together in larger numbers, and not seeing family, but we must stay safe.
“GOAL’s decision to do a virtual mile is inspired as it offers people a unique chance to connect over Christmas and get out into the fresh air.”
This year marked the 35th anniversary of Coghlan, along with other Irish running greats Marcus O’Sullivan, Ray Flynn and Frank O’Mara, combined to break the world four by one-mile relay in Belfied in aid of GOAL.
The record set by the foursome was 15:49.08, and it stands to this day.
“I have fantastic memories of that evening in Belfield when we broke that record before an excited crowd,” said Coghlan.
“The support we got was unbelievable and the four of us have enjoyed reminiscing on that night this year.“
GOAL Director of Fundraising, Eamon Sharkey, said: “A huge thanks to the people of Dublin for all their support for the GOAL Mile over the last 39 years.
“Our target this Christmas is to get 10,000 people at home and abroad register to do a GOAL mile.
“The pandemic means the GOAL Mile is more important than ever as we work to rebuild communities shattered by disease, conflict and climate change.”
“Since March, GOAL has supported over 17 million people in our thirteen countries in preventing the spread of the virus and rolling out awareness.” programmes and teaching people the importance of keeping a safe distance, wearing masks, and observing a handwashing regime.
“We could not do this without the support of Irish people everywhere.”