On Christmas morning, 120 members of the Irish-Polish Battalion completed the annual GOAL mile in South Lebanon, where they are deployed with UNIFIL.
The annual GOAL mile, which is normally held on Christmas Day every year, had to adjust its format due to the coronavirus pandemic since the troops in Lebanon were not able to return home for Christmas.
According to Ireland’s National Public Media Service, instead of the usual family-focused events at locations around Ireland, members were encouraged to run their own mile wherever they are.
The event was planned out in accordance with public health guidelines, between Christmas Eve and St Stephen’s Day.
“This is a Christmas Day like no other as Covid-19 impacts are all over the globe,” Lieutenant Colonel Fred O’Donovan said.
“Members of the 117 Battalion are not home this Christmas with our families as we continue our tour of duty here in South Lebanon. But we were delighted to do our GOAL Mile today, and to support the vulnerable communities GOAL supports in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America,” O’Donovan added.
Twenty members of one Irish family who live in different countries around the world also participated in the annual GOAL mile on Christmas Day, as families connected by zoom ran their miles together across their various time zones.
The GOAL Mile initiative began in 1982 when the charity’s then-chairperson Noel Carroll asked local people and their families to run a mile at the Phoenix Park, an urban park in Dublin on Christmas morning.
Only last year, more than 150 Goal Mile events took place across the country!