Updated: 07/03/18 : 13:25:31
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Unique marathon challenge hits the ground running in Sligo

On the 20th of August, in county Sligo, three Belfast based runners are taking on the challenge of a lifetime this summer, and its all to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to help children like Erin and Zak, both pictured. They are calling on various running clubs across Sligo to volunteer in support of such a good cause.

The three runners, Noel McNally, Niall Farquharson and Paul Tyrell all belong to the Beechmount Harriers running club and they are in training to run 32 marathons on consecutive days, covering every county on the island of Ireland. The adventure will begin on the 2nd August, in Derry, and will be stopping in County Sligo on the 20th of August. The finishing race, all being well, will take place in Ormeau Park in Belfast, with the runners joining in on the Laganside 10K on the 2nd September.

The haematology unit in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is the Regional Centre is for treating children with cancer, and it is the only place within Northern Ireland where children can receive their much needed treatment. Noel McNally explained why the trio are taking on the unique challenge.

“I know it sounds a bit crazy and there are a lot of logistical things to get organised, and that’s all before we pull on the runners and start the first marathon in few months time. But on the 20th of August in county Sligo, we know that we can call on the support of various running clubs, like the Sligo Athletics Club, as well as members of the wider running community throughout the county. We will be relying on these local volunteers to marshal our routes, time the runs and most importantly to join us for a day, even it is for a few miles, a half marathon or the full 26.2 miles.

“Myself, Niall and Paul are committed to raising as much money as we can to support the work of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and we know the amazing work undertaken by the staff at the unit. If we can help the Unit to support the families who desperately need that help, then all the better.

“We wanted to find a challenge which is different, captures the imagination and allows for hundreds of people to have fun and take part along the way. This is what we have come up with and we hope that the people in county Sligo will support us. I am sure they will.”

Jacqueline Wilkinson from the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity was on hand to wish the trio well on behalf of the charity.

“We get fantastic support every year from fundraisers who really do take on some amazing challenges. This is one of the hardest I have heard of and I admire the lads for taking on this massive task.

“The Regional Unit currently caters for around 200 young patients each year, while up to 70 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland annually. We support the work of the Unit and the families of children who are receiving treatment.”

The CCU32 challenge begins on the 2nd of August in Derry and makes it way across the island of Ireland over 32 days. Local runners in county Sligo are encouraged to join in on the 20th of August. Details of the event and how to support the initiative can be found at www.http://ccu32.com/ and donations can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ccu32