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Breast Cancer Ireland wants you to join its pink tribe and turn the globe pink

This week sees the launch of this year’s Great Pink Run. The event will take place, virtually, in local communities, over the weekend of October 16th and 17th

Over the next six weeks, several well-known faces will be joining the ‘pink tribe’ encouraging people to register


The aim of this incredible annual event is to turn the globe pink, with participants being encouraged to run, walk, jog (or even scoot) the circumference of the globe (40,700km) over the course of the event weekend, and to log their distance, supporting Breast Cancer Ireland’s pioneering research and awareness programmes nationally.

The now global event which saw participants from over 10 countries participate last year, is an entirely inclusive initiative, aimed at casual strollers, keen walkers, joggers and seasoned runners alike, and is open to families, groups and solo participants, who are encouraged to log either 5km, or 10km (or more) over the course of the event.

Bobby Kerr and Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland
Bobby Kerr and Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland

Sonia O’Sullivan, Irish sporting legend and longstanding patron of the Great Pink Run, comments on the unique sense of community and cameraderie that comes with participating in such a large-scale, and uplifting event; “The Great Pink Run is more than just a run. It is a gathering of like-minded people with an incredible common bond, encouraging and supporting each other in raising funds and awareness of breast cancer, highlighting the progress that is being made year on year in the fight to find a cure.

“The sheer colour and joy of the Great Pink Run is what I look forward to every year, and sharing the roads with those that run both in hope, and in memory of friends and family.”

Registrations for the event are open and Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland, is urging people to register early to ensure that participation packs and the much sought-after pink t-shirts arrive in plenty of time for the event.

Nadine Reid, Great Pink Run ambassador
Nadine Reid, Great Pink Run ambassador

Speaking at the launch today, Aisling commented; “In this, the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Breast Cancer Ireland as a charity, we’re excited to see the Great Pink Run go from strength to strength, growing into a truly global event. We welcome participants from all parts of the globe, men, women and children – irrespective of age or fitness levels.

“Unfortunately, every 29 seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer. Diversity and inclusion are core themes of our Great Pink Run campaign this year, as sadly, breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, affecting women (and indeed men) of all ages, and ethnicities. For instance, 1 in 1000 men in Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, and 30 per cent of all women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland are between 20-50 years of age.

“Research also indicates that some women of colour have a higher percentage risk of being affected by the subtype Triple Negative Breast Cancer, than women of other ethnicities, and we’ve seen this first hand as part of our Irish-US research funded collaboration between BCI Research Centre at RCSI and the Ludwig Breast Cancer Research Centre at the University of Chicago, where incidence of breast cancer in Black and African American women is extremely high.

“Aligned to this, Breast Cancer Ireland is currently funding a major Research Fellowship with Queens University Belfast in relation to TNBC and the need to identify better, more effective targeted treatment therapies for patients diagnosed in a bid to safeguard fertility as part of the treatment process. It is precisely this type of important research that is funded each year by the monies raised as part of the Great Pink Run, which are helping us to change the landscape of this disease into the future.”

She added; “We are incredibly fortunate and appreciative to have the sterling support of our loyal sponsors, Glanbia and UPMC Aut Even Hospital, and to welcome on board a brand-new sponsor this year in the form of Joe Duffy Group. These sponsors, and others, support us in a myriad of ways, not just financially, but also by engaging with their employees and stakeholders, and have helped us to grow the event into the successful global initiative that it is today.”

As an indication of the sheer scale of this event, to date, over 60,000 people have taken part in the Great Pink Run since it began in 2011, raising over €3.5 million euro to support pioneering research across Ireland – ultimately aimed at developing new and more effective targeted therapies for patients diagnosed with breast cancer, and fulfilling the charity’s mission to transform this disease, from often fatal, to a treatable illness that can be maintained long-term. 

Great Pink Run ambassador, Elaine Crowley
Great Pink Run ambassador, Elaine Crowley

Consistent and intensive breast cancer research is vital in advancing a cure to what can be a devastating disease. Proceeds from this year’s event will help to fund life-saving research across two areas of particular need:

  1. Continued investment into metastatic disease research, an ever-challenging area in need of significant support. Metastatic disease progression is one of the most challenging, where tumours evade traditional therapies, and migrate to invade major organs of the body. While advances are being made with new clinical trial drugs to areas like bone and spine metastases, brain mets are more challenging and therefore we invest significantly in both Fellowship support and international collaborations between BCI funded labs, based at the RCSI and the renowned Ludwig Breast Research Centre at the University of Chicago.
  2. Investment in driving progression and speed of scientific discovery from research settings into clinical trials, through the continuing collaboration with the designated cancer centres in building a national bio bank so clinicians and scientists nationally can access this, helping to speed up discovery output, and the establishment of new research fellowships – specifically focussed on sub-type cancers that pose the greatest challenges. 

Over the next six weeks, several well-known faces will be joining the ‘pink tribe’ encouraging people to register including Bobby Kerr, entrepreneur, broadcaster and Newstalk presenter, Virgin Media broadcaster and Breast Cancer Ireland ambassador Elaine Crowley, social influencer and TV personality James Patrice, his mother Veronica Butler (Fron), international rugby player Josh van der Flier, and TV presenter and personality, Nadine Reid amongst others. In the lead up to, and during the event on October 16th and 17th, they will join the many thousands who have been impacted by the disease in this country as they pound the pavements and parks of Ireland, and overseas, in support of the cause.

James Patrice and his mum, Fron
James Patrice and his mum, Fron

Participation in the Great Pink Run event is easy – simply register to take part, encourage your friends and family to do the same, then track your individual or group run, walk or cycle during the weekend of the event (October 16th and 17th ) on your smartphone or phone app, upload your kilometres, helping us to turn the globe pink – and be sure to share your photos, and videos across social media using the #greatpinkrun or #GPR2021

Follow ongoing event updates on Instagram @GreatPinkRun and @BreastCancerIre or on Twitter using thehashtags #GPR2021 or #greatpinkrun