THE world-famous Castlecomer Wellie Race officially entered middle age with a fantastic 40th birthday party on New Year’s Day.
Pope Francis, Garth Brooks and Apollo 11 astronaut ‘Neil Farmstrong’ were just some of the top celebrities to arrive in the town as it celebrated four decades of fun, laughter and generous support for worthy charities.
When the Wellie Race moved from the hilly rural isolation of the Powley Vale to the sophisticated urban streetscape of Castlecomer in 1981, few could have predicted that it would become such a runaway success, raising more than €700,000 for countless causes at home and abroad.
The first float parade followed a year later and the rest is hilarious history. Since then, the Wellie Race has spread its wings on a global scale, with similar events held in New York, Sydney, Toronto, Weston Missouri and Castlecomer’s twin town of Penvenan in Brittany.
Huge crowds again descended on the event’s home town to welcome the dawn of 2020 with an endless variety of entertainment, particularly the renowned street parade, which has become a byword for drama and ingenuity. Hundreds of wellie-clad souls also braved the notoriously difficult 5km cross-country race to raise funds for charity. Race personality and former star hurler Eddie Brennan looked suitably impressed, as he congratulated all finishers and presented them with well-deserved commemorative rosettes.
Wellie Race committee chairman Chubby Brennan sent sincere thanks to everyone who made the 2020 event so special. He said: “The crowds were great, the parade was fab and the money flowed in. The great friends we lost over 40 fantastic years looked down upon us and guided us all on a very special day.”
Among the charities that will receive funding from the 2020 event are the St Vincent de Saul Society, the School of the Holy Spirit, Friends of Castlecomer District Hospital; Muckaleee Parish Funds, Clogh Defibrillator Group and many more.
Children Individual: 1, Lady Anne.
Group 2-5: 1, Frozen; 2, Fast Eddie Delivery Service; 3, Lydia and Harry Murphy
Group 6 or more: 1, Gaelic for Girls.
Adult Individual: 1, The Bicycle Wellie Walker; 2, Mona Lisa on Tour; 3, Sun Dance
Adult 2-5: 1, Italian Job Bogger Style; 2, Humpty Dumpty; 3, Catch of the Day.
Float: 1, Cricky’s Boys; 2, Apollo 11; 3, Keeping up Appearances; 4, Jaws – Shed Floaters; GAA goes too far with VAR.
Men: 1, John Feehan; 2, Sean Barron; 3, Tom Walsh; 4, John Lawlor; 5, Joe Coogan;
6, Philip Fennelly; 7, Ciarán Hoynes; 8, Damien Fogarty; 9, PJ Doyle; 10, Phillip Roche.
Women: 1, Breda Mulcahy; 2, Anna Duggan; 3, Eimear Bollard; 4, Regina Kelly;
5, Deirdre Daly; 6, Caoimhe Fennelly; 7, Bridget Rochford; 8, Abigail Daly; 9, Laura Keogh; 10, Billard Merry.
Veterans: 1, Martin Holohan; 2, Geoff Shea; 3, Noel Kerr.
Senior ladies: 1, Margaret Dillon; 2, Eileen Murphy; 3, Eimear Lawlor.
Fancy Dress: Taunya Mayo.