The health charity which supports people living with arthritis is asking for support in this year’s Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, which is happening from 1-10 October.

Arthritis Ireland is calling on more people to join its team of runners, joggers and walkers to complete this year’s 10km event, or to support the charity by sponsoring one of the participants or making a donation.

With Covid-19, this year’s mini marathon is a “virtual event”. According to the organisers, “While we can’t all be together, we can still do our 10k collectively, but safely apart. With friends, in your garden, in one go, or maybe you’d prefer to spread the distance over a few days. – you decide!”

Nearly one million people are living with arthritis in Ireland, including 1,200 children. Many of those with arthritis have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, due to being immunosuppressed or aged over 70.

According to Arthritis Ireland chief executive, Gráinne O’Leary, “Recent days have shown that Covid-19 continues to pose a significant challenge to all of us. We are working incredibly hard to support people with arthritis through these difficult times. We may be more apart that we would like, but we are not alone.

“In order for us to continue providing online self-management classes and exercise programmes, our information service, helpline, online fora and community-based supports – we need your support. The Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is one of the most important fundraising opportunities for us and we are appealing for as many people as possible to join Team Arthritis Ireland and to raise much-needed funds,” said Ms O’Leary.

UCC student, Niamh Coughlan, participated in the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in 2019. She was diagnosed with arthritis as a teenager. Since starting college, she began undertaking moderate exercise, which she says has definitely helped her symptoms ease.

She said that she was “proud to raise money for a cause so close to my heart. The mini marathon took place in June last year and I was delighted to have completed the run in just over an hour. The atmosphere on the day was incredible.”

To register for the virtual Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, visit and to register for Team Arthritis Ireland or to donate to the charity, visit