'Tour de Thurles' raises €25,000
In April 2017, the idea for 'Tour de Thurles' was born. The 'Tour de Thurles' cycle was a GAA and Croke Park staff led initiative which brought staff members 166kms from Croke Park to the birthplace of the GAA; Hayes Hotel in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
On September 28, 2017 the five-county spin was completed and a phenomenal €25,000 in sponsorship was raised for the GAA’s five official charities: The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Asthma Society of Ireland, Breakthrough Cancer Research, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and Make A Wish Ireland.
The event was in keeping with the GAA's ‘Aims and Ethos’ outlined in the GAA Official Guide, as it sought to “promote community spirit” and act as a leading light to GAA clubs nationwide. The event needed to be fitness/health based, but also achievable and enjoyable from a social aspect. Event Organiser, Kevin Sexton said he “also wanted to strengthen staff relations, promote healthy activities and encourage camaraderie along the way”
On the 30th of January 2018, a gathering was held in Croke Park where €5000 was donated to each of the five charities by Ard Stiúrthóir, Mr. Páraic Duffy, who said the initiative showed a great a level of leadership and compassion on part of the GAA staff - that was very much in keeping with the GAA’s core values. He also acknowledged how important it is for the GAA to raise awareness for the official charities and expressed confidence in the staff committee to continue to work closely with them to achieve their goals going forward.
Kevin Sexton, who is also chairman of the GAA Sport and Recreational committee, outlined that there is a strong link between the GAA and its five official charities. Notably, that the charities fundamentally exist to help communities and people in need at large, and that - from a GAA perspective - community is the very heartbeat of the organization; where members well-being is paramount. It was therefore important that the GAA recognize the valuable work that the charities do on a daily basis, and how extremely important that work is to our society as a whole.
Managing this national event took an exceptional collective team effort in terms of event preparation. This is an important point to note, as it shows the level of openness, encouragement and help that exists within the GAA and Croke Park staff body. Logistically it was challenging but, all in all, - it was a roaring success. The committee’s main objectives were to ensure that everyone was safe and comfortable along the way – and thankfully everyone made it the full distance unscathed.
The feedback received from those who took part in the cycle was very positive and highlighted the benefits of holding activity based events. Several different people commented on how the cycle had re-lit a fitness flame that they thought had long since blown out, or how they now feel invigorated and inspired to reconnect with movement, healthy eating, and fitness. Others loved the training aspect of it and surprised themselves by completing the full distance. Furthermore, the staff group received a huge level of support online via social media as well as numerous (and generous) sponsorship donations. This all bodes well for future events, and the GAA Sport and Recreational committee are already underway with plans of another outing in April 2018.