Four Inishowen friends – all experienced long-distance runners – have come up with a novel fundraising event to raise vital funds for three local hospitals who have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
Gerard Doherty, Shane Doherty, Declan Irwin and Christian McGinley plan to collectively run 190km in under 19 hours non-stop along the Inishowen 100 route on May 30.
The Inishowen Independent caught up with Gerard Doherty on Monday to see how plans were advancing for the ambitious event – and how the idea came about in the first place.
“We had a full calendar of races planned out for 2020 – half-marathons and triathlons and the like – all of which have been scuppered because of the coronavirus crisis,” says Gerard. “We were looking for a challenge and I mentioned a 19 mile run for charity. It snowballed from there.”
There’s a big difference in 19 miles and 190km all the same! “There is,” laughs Gerard. “Shane suggested running for 19 hours straight and eventually we decided on 190km in 19 hours of non-stop running. 19 was the figure because of the coronavirus.”
The four lads will run a total of 47.5km each in ten kilometre stages around the famous Inishowen 100. “That includes approximately 7,500ft of climbing in total,” notes Gerard wearily. “We plan to start running on Saturday, March 30, at midnight. We will be running in relays throughout the night and estimate that we will be crossing the finishing line at the Shore Front Car Park in Buncrana around 6pm that night.”
The four friends intend to run the last 10km together – from the Halfway House at Tooban down to Buncrana.
“We’re hoping for plenty of support the whole way around the route,” says Gerard. “The run will be streamed live online for everyone to tune in and cheer us on – the legs will be tired because we’ll each have run the equivalent of more than a marathon, much of it through the night, with no sleep.”
The four boys have set up a Go Fund Me page with all donations going to three of the most worthy causes you could think of right now, namely Buncrana Community Hospital, Nazareth House and Letterkenny University Hospital.
As Gerard was speaking to the Inishowen Independent on Monday afternoon, donations were already sitting at €14,300.
“There has been a fantastic response,” says Gerard. “It has made all the training and preparation worthwhile. The challenge on the day isn’t our biggest – we’re juggling work and homelife with a huge amount of training six days a week which will last until the week before the run.”
The lads have yet to divvy out the individual stages but they are all aware that the Inishowen 100 has its fair share of hills. “Nobody is anxious to draw the short straw and get Mamore Gap!” grins Gerard, before noting that it’ll likely not be Christian McGinley. “He’s got a lot of miles in the legs and is the oldest in the group,” he says mischievously, “so we’ll have to get him all the flat bits!”
There is the possibility, that if the current restrictions arent lifted by May 30 that they will have to find a more localised alternative route. “There could be a lot of loops around Buncrana,” says Gerard, “but we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it.”
Right now, the only message is – please lend your support to three wonderful causes.
Donations can be made online on at www.gofundme.com/f/190km-Covid-19-Run-Challenge or by envelope at Buncrana Post Office, Mac’s Buncrana, Umricam or Bradley’s Shop, Fahan.