At the start of 2019, I decided to start the Flaking Into Forty challenge to fundraise for a very special little man called Alister Kelly. You can read all about him here.
The aim of this challenge is to raise €5000 to go towards funding equipment for Alister, and the equipment ain’t cheap!
So far we have raised €2,350, thanks to the extremely generous donations of friends.
But now we really want to get a push on to get even closer to our target. And the timing is perfect, since the next 2 weeks are going to see the toughest challenges of the year so far… Read below for the details.
But first I want to recap on all the great challenges I have been lucky enough to take part in so far this year:
In January, my friend Pamela and I took on our first ever trail run on the Sugar Loaf. We were complete novices who had never done a hill run before. But we were eager, and looking forward to it. It was 10 kilometres of killer hills and muddy paths, and we loved it! And our friends started supporting the challenge with donations. WooHoo! But I couldn’t rest for too long as I had to get ready for February…
In February I went back home to the sunny South-East to take on the Tramore Triathlon. The weather was atrocious, the foam from the sea looked like snow, and I had to borrow a mountain bike on the day that was so short that my knees were almost knocking off my chin as I went around the course. But I made it, and we got lots more donations on the GoFundMe page – this is what kept my spirits up that day….
March was time for a change in direction. “Why don’t you do a Firewalk” my friend Sharon had suggested in late 2018 when I mentioned my challenge ideas to her. “Are you mad?” I said. “I can barely go paddling in Salthill in the spring because my feet are so sensitive to temperature…”. But then the lovely Louise let me know of a firewalk she was doing in March so I bit the bullet.
Again, the donations kept coming as I announced this new challenge so I focussed on that as I got more and more nervous as the date drew closer. And again, as with the other months, the challenge was fantastic and people were more than generous.
I decided to go back to my roots of fitness-related challenges in April with a 100km cycle around Connemara… As luck would have it, the cycle coincided with the end of a storm so it was a blustery day. I arrived home later that day (with a medal and a sore arse!) and saw that people were still donating. I was so delighted, and really felt for the first time that we would hit the €5,000 target before the end of the year.
On Saturday, May 25th I swam 800m, cycled 40km and ran 8km as part of the Lough Cultra triathlon series. And it is not an exaggeration to say that I was bricking it. No matter how fit you think you are, having to do these 3 activities one after the other is gruelling (especially for a non-swimmer). But luckily I was able to embrace the nerves, and focus on the fundraising.
The following week, I headed to Cork with my friends Pamela and Tara (plus our supporters!) to do the Cork City Marathon, which we have been training for since the start of the year!
This really was the big one. No-one (at least, no sane person) flippantly signs up for a marathon on a whim. It is one of the toughest physical challenges any of us will do in our lifetimes, but how amazing is it that I am able to do this. I have limbs that work, a heart and lungs that are powerful enough to keep me going, and a brain that I ignore because it sometimes tells me that it’s too hard 😉
Jumping off Blackrock tower is something I’ve wanted to do since moving to Galway more than 12 years ago. But in all those years, I always found something to stop me doing it. Tide is too low… Water is too cold… It’s too busy… I’ll do it another day when it’s not so choppy…
I was obviously putting it off because I was scared. This wasn’t a challenge I could prepare for, but as the date to jump got closer I was getting more nervous. I had the support of my friends Laura and Sharon (who was the one who dared me to do this jump.. and in my togs! No wetsuits allowed!
After 15 attempts, I finally made it off the middle board, but just couldn’t bring myself to jump from the top. I would say I have completed 50% of this challenge, the rest will have to wait for a little bit…
August ‘s challenge is something completely different. I will be taking part in a comedy showcase on August 16th in the Town Hall Theatre. I will be performing improve, comedy sketch and (scariest of all) a 5 minute stand-up routine. Again, this has been on my bucket list for a number of years.. and if I don’t do it now, who knows if I would ever do it!
September, I am getting a group together to cycle a route that Alister and his family have taken dozens of times. We will be cycling from Crumlin Hospital in Dublin to UHG (University Hospital Galway). A journey of over 200km. Better get the ice-pack and inflatable doughnut ready for that one 😉
I am really enjoying the challenges, but at the end of the day this is about Alister and his family.
It’s All About Alister
Alister & his family are the reason that I have been training every week since the start of the year.
Alister & his family are the reason I push the boundaries of what I think I can do, and sign up for challenges that are going to really push me past my comfort zone.
Alister & his family are the reason I decided to do this in the first place.
And if you’re reading this, I really want you to give generously – I know how lucky I am to be able to do all these challenges.
That I can run, cycle, swim, walk on fire… I have an amazingly generous family who allow me time to do all these activities, because they know how important family and friends are.
How important all our families and friends are.
And doing the challenges really is the easy bit – it’s asking for money that is hard. But without the donations, we won’t reach our target. So dig deep, think about what a positive impact we can all have on Alister and his family’s lives if we all give just a little and pop onto the GoFundMe page…
And if you want to keep an eye on the challenges (even just to make sure that I’m really actually doing them!), you can check out Flaking Into Forty on Instagram when I’ll be posting updates of the torture… I mean, challenges 😉