Sean Ó Riain with Moylagh woman Mairéad Uí Fhionnáin (left) and Noelle Smith (right) who he met on the walk last year.
He’s beaten cancer twice and now Drogheda man Seán Ó Riain, has been chosen to kick off this year’s Moylagh 50 Mile Challenge on Saturday, June 10th as he joins with hundreds of participants for the sixth annual event in support of cancer patients.
Registration is open at www.50milechallenge.com and 80 % of funds raised are in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, and the remainder supports the work of LARCC Cancer Support.
The challenge inherits its name from an endurance test first handed down by John F Kennedy to the military to cover 50 miles on foot within 20 hours. This year’s route will allow walkers to take in 50 miles of striking landscape starting in Moylagh (Dromone) Oldcastle, Co Meath, and going through counties Cavan and Westmeath. Participants can walk as much or as little of the route as they want, and food and water stops are provided along the course by volunteers.
Last year participants ranged in age from 18 to 70 and over 200 of the 700 participants completed the entire course.
Drogheda native Seán, who now lives in Cavan, is preparing to tackle the entire 50 miles this year and is encouraging members of the public to join him. Sean had his first experience with cancer when he was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma at the age of 27. The 57-year-old received his second cancer diagnosis six years ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The illness was diagnosed early and the father of two underwent a radical prostatectomy and has since got the all clear.
He said, “It has been an honour for me to have been involved in the Moylagh 50 Mile Challenge for the last four years. Not only has it given me a chance to contribute to the ongoing and increasingly successful fight against cancer, but most importantly it has also introduced me to a healthy way of life.
“I have undertaken the challenge 4 times. The first time I didn't finish it but I was absolutely delighted to have managed to walk 38 miles. The last three times I did it I finished it and each time one hour quicker than the last. The challenge has been an indicator for me as to my ongoing progress in reaching a healthy lifestyle and four years ago, the training and progress was so important to me in gaining confidence again after my operation.
“It is one of the biggest community participation charity events every year in Ireland and every year I am nearly brought to tears when I see all the families and communities that come out to help and give their time and resources tirelessly to support these great charities.”
Calling on members of the public to support Ireland’s version of the Camino, he said, “There is not a single family in all our parishes or a community in all of Ireland not effected by cancer in some way or another, and the list will only be getting longer for the foreseeable future. There are no losers in the Moylagh 50 Mile Challenge, just winners who raise awareness and funds to help people with cancer.”
Sign up now at www.50milechallenge.com or see 50milechallenge on Facebook for more information.
To donate food, water or any other supplies please contact firstname.lastname@example.org