Echo Leading Lights Sports Awards 2020: Tara Wilson-Black, Volunteer Award

SETTING up her new club, Women Who Run Ireland, from her home community in Tallaght back in March, Tara Wilson-Black could never have imagined the how quickly her initiative would take hold throughout the country.

Indeed, from a total of 50 members at its founding, the club has grown to cater for some 900 women nationwide, providing them with a platform to get running non-competitively while, at the same time, having their own personal goals.

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‘Women Who Run Ireland’ founder Tara Wilson-Black from Tallaght is presented with her Volunteer 2020 award by Mayor of South Dublin County, Ed O’Brien and David Kennedy, Executive Editor, The Echo

Being online made it easy for anyone, anywhere in Ireland to access not only the challenges, but tips and information from Tara who, herself, is no stranger to running with six marathons (four during the pandemic) and countless half and 3/4 Marathons completed over the past 10 years.

Supporting the 20x20 Women In Sport campaign, Women Who Run Ireland have participated in many virtual running events throughout the year including The Great Pink Run, The VHI Women Mini Marathon, The Dublin Marathon and the Dublin Half Marathon.

Members recently completed the November Lockdown Challenge where the winner Ann Marie Byrne from Firhouse ran a staggering 332 miles during the month of November.

Herself astonished by the rapid growth of her initiative, Tara, who was one of five people to be awarded ‘The Echo Sports Volunteer 2020’ Award in the Green Isle Hotel last Thursday, said “We started off with 50 members in March and we now have 900 at the minute so we’ve just grown exponentially. It’s just grown online and offline, but mostly online.

“It’s non-competitive running and we started doing challenges in March. We’ve had loads of challenges. We had a 14-Day Challenge, a 21-Day Challenge, we had a 30-Day and it was all based on the Lockdown.

“We have members who ran half marathons, full marathons all during the pandemic so it’s a great initiative.

“It’s great for the women to have a goal to focus on and, more importantly, achieve that goal.

“It’s fully inclusive. We’ve members from every community. We’re very culturally diverse and it’s been a fantastic success and I’m delighted to see it grow.

“What started in Tallaght, to my amazement, has grown to the whole of Ireland and beyond.

“I’m so humbled with the award. I was delighted to get the news, but not for me, but for the group because I think they really deserve it. They put in so much hard work this year and I’m delighted to be part of this initiative.

“Women Who Run Ireland has been so successful that we’re hoping in Spring of 2021 to bring it to 8-11 year-old girls and then we have a 12-15 year-old group.”

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