This weekend will see the first event for a charity in aid of a very ill girl, with a sponsored run from Drum to Athlone Castle tomorrow afternoon, August 31.
‘Marathons4Muireann’ was set up by Gina and Declan, parents of two-year-old Muireann O’Flaherty, in order to raise €100,000 for Temple Street Hospital, the Jack and Jill Foundation, and the Brothers of Charity.
This will culminate on the October bank holiday when her father will run from Athlone to Temple Street Hospital - a distance equivalent to three marathons - before running the Dublin Marathon the next day.
Muireann has been diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder, ponto cerebellar hypoplasia, as well as microcephaly and epilepsy, which require Muireann to take “a daily cocktail of medication”.
“Around that time I also read a book by a certain man called Gerry Duffy who had just completed a crazy 32 marathons in 32 days. The thing that struck me most about Gerry was that this was a guy from up the road in Mullingar - he didn’t live in some far-flung corner shed in the Rockie Mountains and eat a plant-based diet - he was just an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things,” said Declan.
The run this weekend offers a 6k and an 11k option where participants can “run, walk, or crawl” from the community hall to Athlone Castle.
The run will be followed by a mini street party on Main Street - between Seans, The Castle, and The Snug - where there will be face-painting and puppets for the kids in the early evening, with a music festival later for the adults in Connaughtons of Clonark.
Registration starts at 11am, costs €10, and is open to all comers.