FERMANAGH’S first ever full marathon will take place this weekend, from Enniskillen to Manorhamilton, all in aid of peace-building and fostering closer cross-border relationships.
The small event has been organised by the team behind UISCE (Understanding Ireland Socially Culturally Economically), current custodians of the Clinton Centre, and is aimed at raising funds and awareness of their peace projects.
With the help of a strong team of volunteers from around the world, who stay at the Clinton Centre while in Fermanagh, UISCE is currently progressing its plan to transform the well-known Enniskillen centre into an internationally-renowned peace-building hub and a resource for the whole community.
The team, under the leadership of Keith McNair, has drawn up an ambitious programme plan of arts projects, community events, education talks, international connections, and cross-border cooperation, with lots to come in the months ahead.
Among this is a month-long exhibition of local artists at the centre, in collaboration with Devenish Gallery, due to open at the end of October, as well as the marathon this weekend.
The marathon starts off at the Clinton Centre at 1pm on Sunday, September 17th, and ending approximately four-and-a-half hours later at Manorhamilton Castle. It will be run by Dmitri Traciuc Igor.
Dmitri, who is from Moldova but moved with his family to Belgium following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, is a previous volunteer with UISCE, and is returning to complete the marathon challenge.
Keith told the Herald the marathon was aimed at raising awareness and funds for UISCE’s peace building plans, with the organisation entirely dependent on donations and volunteers.
While it will only be a small, private event this year, with only some members of Enniskillen Running Club joining Dmitri, Keith said they hoped it would become regular.
“It’s an inaugural event, but we will then immediately start to put together a team of local and cross-border people who can organise an event for next year,” he said. “We want to hold it every year.”
With the route of the weekend’s marathon covering a large section of the planned route for the Enniskillen to Sligo greenway, Keith said the greenway was central to a lot of the thinking behind UISCE, in connecting communities and benefiting the economy.
To find out more about this weekend’s marathon, and the work UISCE is doing, visit www.uisce.org
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