Athlone club ready to go the extra mile for local hospice

Athlone Triathlon Club members are preparing for a fitness challenge this weekend - which will also raise much needed funds for South Westmeath Hospice.

Club members are preparing to run a mile, every hour, for 24 hours this Saturday, May 1.

“The Hospice aims to make sure ‘every moment counts’ and we will endeavour to make sure ‘every mile counts’,” said a club spokesperson, describing it as an “exciting” an “unique” challenge that has “an incredibly worthwhile purpose”.

Further information can be obtained on the Athlone Triathlon Club Facebook page, including a link to the iDonate page whereby people can securely make donations to the hospice (the link is also included a the end of this article).

The club has set a target of €5000, with all funds raised to go directly to the South Westmeath Hospice.

Athlone Triathlon Club head coach Mick Macken explained why the club had taken on the challenge and why the hospice was chosen.

“As triathletes, pushing ourselves to our limits, both physically and mentally, is what we do. Since lockdown, with racing and training together in groups being practically non-existent, we have keep ourselves busy with many great club challenges. At present though, our members are finding it harder than ever to keep motivated to train and to challenge themselves," said Mick.

"Something very different was needed, to really pique our athletes' interest again, and to give them something to aim for - safe in the knowledge that it is definitely going to test their physical and mental resolve, and be something that will give that sense of achievement in completing," he continued.

Mick explained the club had already undertaken events such as a virtual marathon, 10k a day for ten days, running an increasing faster 10k every week for ten weeks and so on. As a result something different was needed!

“So now we have this mad challenge to run a mile every hour on the hour for 24 hours, something none of us has ever tried before, and can't even imagine how it's going to feel for the final five or six hours. But we are excited to do it!” said Mick.

He explained that while many in the club were feeling that training without races was becoming a chore, they remained acutely aware how blessed they were.

“We were physically able and in a position where we could get out and enjoy the freedom, the fresh air and the countryside. Many less fortunate people in our society would give anything to be able to do the same, but because of their circumstances, they will never be able to do so," Mick stated.

“So we decided to make our latest challenge count, by raising funds for a worthy cause, and to try and give something back to those in our society that are not as fortunate as ourselves. Our local hospice is such a good cause, providing care and comfort to people in our local community - members of our own families, friends and acquaintances, who need it so badly. Our hospice relies heavily upon local support, so we choose it as our charity, and hope that our efforts help in even a little way.

“One thing is for sure - when we are struggling and suffering maybe 16 or 20 hours into our event, knowing that it's helping those who are most in need will certainly be food for thought, and will push us to go on when we most feel like quitting. We look forward to the day, and we look forward to supporting our local hospice,” Mick added.

You can donate to the fundraiser via the following link - https://www.idonate.ie/AthloneTriClubHospiceChallenge

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