Kerry's Shane Finn - his epic running challenge will bring him to Athlone next week.

24 Marathons, 24 Days charity challenge is coming to Athlone

An epic charity challenge - involving 24 marathons in 24 days - is coming to Athlone next Tuesday, June 27.

Kerry man Shane Finn intends to run 24 marathons in 24 consecutive days to raise €100,000 for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI).

The challenge was kicked off in Donegal town by legendary Ireland soccer goalkeeper Packie Bonner today (Thursday). As Patron of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI), Packie sent Shane off on his first marathon this morning from The Diamond, Donegal to Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo.

On Day 6, Tuesday, June 27, Shane’s marathon route will start from outside Croughan’s SuperValu, Ballymahon Road, Athlone and finish up in the centre of Longford town. It's expected that Shane will set off from Athlone at between 9am and 9.30 next Tuesday.

Shane will be back in Westmeath on Sunday, July 2 when his Day 11 marathon route starts from outside County Buildings, Westmeath. He will run to Tullamore, Co. Offaly via Kilbeggan and Rochfortbridge.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) is the national organisation which provides life-enhancing services and supports for people with the conditions, and their families.

Around 40 babies are born with Spina Bifida each year in Ireland - which is one of the highest incidence rates in the world – and 1 in 1,000 live births are affected by Hydrocephalus.

'SBHI supports more than 2,000 people who know Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus to be a reality in their lives. We also work to increase awareness about Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, as well as the essential funds which ensure that our unique services can be sustained. We are fortunate to have some incredible people who are willing to get involved in fundraising on our behalf,' said a spokesperson for SBHI.

Shane Finn, who owns West Kerry Fitness in Dingle, raised €36,000 for SBHI in 2014 by completing 12 marathons in 12 days. And now he intends to complete 24 marathons in 24 days and he has set a fundraising target of €100,000.

What is Shane’s motivation? Shane’s 35-year-old cousin, Mary Evans, lives in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, and like thousands of other people in Ireland has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

Shane believes that he can complete the 24 marathons in 24 consecutive days, finishing in his native Dingle on July 15. Everyone at SBHI believes that he will make this ambitious dream a reality.

However, to make a fundraising event of this size a success requires investment. Our aim is to recruit as much sponsorship as possible.

While Shane is the ‘main man’ in 24 Marathons, 24 Days, getting involved in this epic challenge is open to everyone through the ‘What’sYour24?’ initiative.

To date, SBHI members, volunteers and members of the public from all over the country have been coming up with great ideas to raise sponsorship from 24 hour sponsored silences and giving up coffee for 24 days to 24 book readathons and eating 24 donuts in 2.4 minutes.

You can find out more information about Shane’s incredible undertaking and track his progress each day in real time on:

Members of the public can also donate by texting GIVE to 50300.

Texts cost €4. SBHI receive a minimum of €3.25 of €4. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 0766805278.