Paralympian silver medallist Niamh McCarthy launches 2017 Cheetah Run at Fota


The annual Cheetah Run, held at Fota Wildlife Park, has been launched on Tuesday by Cork Paralympian medallist and discus record holder, Niamh McCarthy.

The Cheetah Run, a race run over 5 kilometres for adults and now also a one-mile race for younger runners, will take place on Thursday May 18 and online registration through the Eagle Athletic Club website will open on May 3.

Any proceeds to Fota Wildlife Park, a non-profit organisation, made from the race will be donated to conservation projects such as re-introduction programmes for White-tailed eagle to the Golan Heights in the Middle East and European Bison to Poland and Romania.

The Cheetah Run is one of the most unique races in Ireland which starts and finishes in the Wildlife Park giving runners a chance to run past the giraffes, Asian Lions, Sumatran Tigers and of course cheetahs, the race also passes the historic Fota House and Gardens.

Sean McKeown, Director of Fota Wildlife Park said: “The Park is delighted to host the annual Cheetah Run again this year. Thanks to the funding we raise each year from the race we have been able to contribute to many conservation projects like the re-introduction programmes for White-tailed eagle. In fact, an eagle from Fota Wildlife Park was released to the Golan Heights in 2013 and subsequently bred there last year.”

Denis Looney Race Director of Eagle Athletic Club said: “We are delighted to be able to invite Eagle AC member, Silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and European record holder in F41 Women’s Discus, Niamh McCarthy, here today to launch the 2017 Cheetah Run and Cheetah Mile.

“Last year we started a new one-mile course for juveniles between 11 to 15 years old as we wanted to open the event to younger age groups. We are very happy to be able to continue that this year thanks to our sponsors Laya Healthcare, John Buckley Sports and Brooks Running.”

Due to its popularity, the registration usually sells out within a few hours and the race is limited to 900 adults and 100 juveniles in total.

Registration opens on the May 3 in two blocks at 10.00 am and at 7.00pm, costing €15 per adult runner and €8 per juvenile and entry is strictly on-line at

The Cheetah Run adult race commences at 8 pm and the juvenile race starts at 7.15pm on Thursday May 18. Each runner can bring a maximum of four visitors along with them free of charge to watch the race, each runner will receive four wristbands at registration on race night.