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Grant Thornton and Athletics Ireland are calling on Cork businesses to sign up for the Grant Thornton 5K Corporate Challenge enabling businesses in the south west to come together and take part in Ireland’s largest, and longest-running corporate run event.

This will be the run series’ seventh consecutive year. Last year’s sell-out event attracted 6,800 runners from 1,700 teams representing over 400 different companies.

The race series kicks off on April 12th at Galway’s Ballybrit Racecourse, followed by June 13th in Cork City Centre, June 21st at Belfast City Airport and finally, September 5th in Dublin’s Docklands. Connacht Rugby Captain John Muldoon, Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson and Ireland sprinter Brian Gregan are among the Race Ambassadors confirmed for the venues.

This year, the Grant Thornton 5K Corporate Challenge will support the top 100 emerging young athletes in Ireland through the Athletics Ireland, Junior high-performance programme whilst also raising funds to support the Simon Community., The charity works to provide housing, support and health care services to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 10% of the registration fees raised will be used to support the charity’s work further.

To date the Corporate Challenge has raised over €100,000 for good causes in Ireland, including St. Vincent de Paul, Pieta House, Laura Lynn, ISPCC, the Alzheimer Society and Make a Wish Foundation thanks to the participation of some 30,000 runners representing more than 1,000 businesses in Ireland.

Aimed at encouraging social running amongst Ireland’s business community, the event welcomes all abilities, from seasoned runners to beginners. Each run is a team event with a minimum of four participants per team, with team members’ combined race times used to determine the winners in each category [male, female and mixed teams].

The entry fee is €100 for early bird registration of a team of four, all events are chip timed for accuracy and there is a race series t-shirt, medal and goody bag for all participants. The Corporate Challenge is organised by the national governing body Athletics Ireland whose mission is to support and develop the athletes of Ireland of all ages, disciplines and abilities.

Gerard Walsh, Director, Grant Thornton Cork said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Grant Thornton 5K challenge back to Cork City again for 2018. This is the 4th year we have raced through the streets of the City and each year it has grown in popularity.  The funds raised not only go towards the development of Ireland future athletes, but this year we’re also supporting the Simon Community. We look forward to seeing more of the Cork business community out on the streets enjoying a bit of healthy competition on 13 June this year.’

Fionn Faherty from the Simon Community said: “The Simon Community are delighted to collaborate with Grant Thornton as charity partner for their 5k corporate challenge team runs this year and would like to thank everyone involved for their generosity. Your support will help provide vital outreach, treatment, housing, homelessness prevention, education and support services to people who are facing homelessness. As we continue to see more people turning to us for help, your kindness will make a life-changing difference and enable people to move to a safe and secure place they can call home.”

John Foley, Chief Executive of Athletics Ireland, said: “We are very pleased to continue are partnership with Grant Thornton for a further three years. Grant Thornton’s sponsorship of this event allows for it to be a revenue earner for the association with profits generated channelled into our Junior High Performance Athletics programmes. These programmes provide support and expertise to close to 100 of our emerging young athletes to help them to fulfil their potential.”

Foley added: - “As an association one of our core strategic objectives is to promote health and fitness in the population as a whole. This event enables us to reach beyond our core membership into the business community by encouraging them to focus on a fitness programme which targets a 5k run; a good starter point for novice runners.”

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