Local runners set for epic challenge: 6 marathons, 6 days, 6 countries…

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Northern Ireland trio embark on worthwhile challenge:

Exactly two week’s today, Tuesday 17th June 2014, three runners from Northern Ireland (accompanied by their support crew) will begin the epic challenge of completing six marathons in six day’s, with each of the 26.2 mile runs taking place in different countries.

Tara Malone, Paul Floyd and Darren Hamilton, will complete the challenge in order to raise much needed funds for the very worthwhile MacMillan Cancer Support, a charity that has helped so many people, none more so than participant and 3:13 marathoner Tara, “”personally I have wanted to participate in an event to raise money for a worthwhile cause for some time now, so when I was asked to take part in this, I didn’t hesitate. I have a close relative who is the same age as me and is currently being treated for cancer; my hopes are that when participating in the challenge, thinking of her is what will keep me going”.”

Paul, who recently clocked a new personal best of 2:58 echoed Tara’s words, adding “”knowing friends and family who have suffered or are currently suffering from Cancer and the support they have received from MacMillan has inspired us to train hard and will ensure that we won’t give up until the challenge is complete.””

The opening leg will see the trio complete the Meadow Marathon route in Edinburgh (Scotland); from here, the group will travel to England and Wales, where they will take in the Blackpool Marathon – England – (Wednesday 18th June 2014) and North Wales Half Marathon (Thursday 19th June 2014) course, obviously, completing the latter twice.

On Friday 20th June 2014, the endurance enthusiasts complete 26.2 miles on the Isle of Mann, before returning to the island of Ireland for a jaunt around Phoenix Park (Dublin) on Saturday 21st June 2014.  The grand finale will be in Belfast, starting with 10k on the Mary Peters Track, before making their way across the City to the finish line at Belfast City Hall.

Fellow runners are welcome to join in on the final leg of the gruelling endurance test, Tara added. “we are trying to get people to join us on the last day where there will be options of running with us from the half-way point, the final 10k point and last 5k section to the City Hall”.  When looking toward the upcoming challenge, Paul has no doubts about the level of the task ahead, ““I took up marathon running about eighteen months ago and despite having run a number of single marathon’s it is still never easy to run 26.2 miles.  I wanted to participate in an unthinkable challenge, something far beyond anything I had accomplished so far. The idea of running 157.2 miles in six days has captured the imagination of many people and I hope that this unique event will help to raise valuable funds for a very worthwhile cause in Macmillan Cancer Support.””

Paul added, “”all three of us are pushing our bodies and minds to the absolute limit of endurance to prepare for this event which I am sure will still be extremely tough. We will be depending on each other to work as a team during the emotional rollercoaster which the mental and physical strain this week will no doubt bring. I will look forward to our friends, families and fellow runners joining us to run the last few miles to the finish in the grand finale in Belfast.””

Whilst talking about his hopes and expectations for the challenge, Darren spoke of his drive to firstly complete the distance safely alongside his friends, Paul and Tara. On top of that, the Newtownards based runner wants to ensure that they raise a ““respectable”” amount for the worthy cause.

He then went on to talk about his strategy for the six day event; ““I expect that over and above training, then the recovery/fuelling between each run and not running the actual 26.2 miles, will be the key to completing each stage.  It will have a few up’s and downs, both physically and emotionally, but the euphoric feeling that I’m expecting when a sea of green MacMillan t-shirts descends on Donegal Place towards Belfast City Hall on Sunday 22nd June 2014, it will be a bit special.””

Tara was of the same opinion as Darren regarding the physical and mental aspects of the challenge, she went on to add, ““it’s like nothing else I have done before but I know that if I keep training and keep positive, and think about all the good that comes out of raising money for MacMillan Cancer, Support I will complete it. Team work will be key, I know by the three of us pulling together, staying together and motivating each other along the way, we will all finish together at Belfast with the other runners who are joining us on that special last day.””

On the subject of team work, the MacMillan Cancer Support team will be behind the three friends all the way, and will also provide t-shirts and sponsorship cards for those participating in the challenge alongside Tara, Paul and Darren.

All of the routes are on the specially set up facebook page “6 marathons, 6 countries, 6 days”.  Instructions and approximate timings for those wishing to join the energetic trio on the final day (Sunday 22nd June 2014) are as follows:

–          10am:  Start from Mary Peters Track, Belfast (26.2m remaining)

–          12pm:  Stormont Estate, Belfast (13.1m remaining)

–          1.15pm:  Dublin Road/Bruce Street Junction (10k remaining)

–          1.45pm:  Stranmillis Roundabout at Lockview Road (5k remaining)

–          2.10pm:  Finish at Belfast City Hall

To donate to this worthwhile cause, you can use the Tara, Darren and Paul’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/6marathons6countries6days or TEXT DUTT65 plus amount (£5 for example) to 70070.  More information on the help, support and services provided my MacMillan Cancer Support in Northern Ireland can be found HERE.