Northern Ireland news

Co Down man to run 5km in every county in Ireland in seven days in aid of mental health charities

Banbridge man Simon McEvoy is planning to run 5km in every county in Ireland over the course of a week to raise much-needed funds for mental health charities
Marie Louise McConville

A CO Down man is planning to run 5km in every Irish county over the course of a week to raise funds for mental health charities.

Banbridge man Simon McEvoy will set off on his challenge on August 30 in Co Antrim and over seven days will run 5km in each county before his final run on home turf in Co Down.

Clocking up 160km, the 39-year-old plans to visit up to five counties every day in order to meet his target on Saturday, September 5.

Looking ahead to the challenge, the chartered surveyor said he was motivated to raise funds for Aware NI and Aware Ireland to help the work they do in the mental health sector.

"I’m relatively new to running. I ran my first 5k in 2019 when I took part in the Born2Run race in Castlewellan," he said.

"Since then I’ve been interested in getting a bit faster and going a bit further, but I didn’t have any real goals. I was running the Atlantic Drive in Donegal a few weeks ago when I had the idea to run in every county in Ireland.

"This year has put a strain on the mental health of many across the island. The respective Aware charities carry out amazing work in the mental health sector and their support is so vital at the moment with the current Covid-19 pandemic".

Having raised almost €5,000 so far he described the challenge as "tough but achievable".

"I have not run this length of distance before," he said.

"This challenge is a big jump on what I would normally be used to."

Mr McEvoy has also teamed up with rugby and GAA clubs around Ireland to get signed jerseys that can be auctioned off to raise further funds.

Karen Collins, CEO of Aware NI, described the challenge as a "brilliant idea".

"We’ll be following Simon’s journey throughout the week and will be with him in spirit and cheering him on every step of the way," she said.

"As a charity, the money that people fundraise is vitally important to allow us to continue delivering our services in schools, communities and workplaces across Northern Ireland."

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