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Kevin faces two of the world’s coldest races

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By Sean Moriarty

A Killarney man who is no stranger to tough challenges is set to take it to the limit in the coming weeks to take on - not one but two - ultimate ice challenges.

Kevin Leahy of the Black Sheep Hostel is currently on his way to the Arctic Circle to contest the first of two 500km ultra runs in the frozen north.

CONDITIONS: These are the conditions that Kevin Leahy will face in Överkalix Sweden in March.

The first ice running event will be done in Canada and then he'll face a similar run in Swedish Lapland – with less than 10 days off in between.

His first race, the Yukon Arctic Ultra – billed as the world’s coldest and toughest race - where temperatures can dip as low as -50°C – gets underway next Thursday.

Kevin reckons it will take him seven days and nights to complete the course.
Throughout the 500km race he will have to be fully self-sufficient and will drag a sled weighing between 25kg and 30kg with all his cooking essentials, tent and spare clothes on board.

The effort required to pull it will depend on the depth of snow. In late 2021 he traversed the entire Kerry Way and contested the Kerry Ultra Marathon as part of his final preparations.

“I have been practicing on the bogs near Kilcummin by pulling old Jeep tyres behind me,” Kevin explained to the Killarney Advertiser this week. “I have to be completely self-sufficient and I will sleep when I am tired, I will eat when I am hungry.”

Kevin is no stranger to such events.

The Yukon Arctic Ultra runs along the Canadian-Alskan border and two years ago he led the shorter 160km race that runs within the main 500km event.

The problem with leading is that he created a path in the snow for his pursuers to follow.

He still won it despite suffering from "sleep deprivation and hallucinations", was hungry, cold and exhausted and with "nothing but the sound of the sled behind me for company" - with no prize money, or fame for his efforts.

Once he completes the Canadian race he will return to Killarney to get ready for a second 500km race in Swedish Lapland but will have less than 10 days at home to prepare.

The Lapland Arctic Ultra, billed as a race “through Europe’s last wilderness”, takes place between March 6-16 in Överkalix, Sweden. The Swedish town is about 160km west of the Finnish town of Rovaniemi, the official home of Santa Claus in Lapland.

DOCUMENTARY

Kevin’s progress on both events will be followed by local digital production company Grandview Media.

The Pawn Office Lane-based company is run by director and producer Adrian McCarthy who is well known for his video promotional work in the district.

Adrian’s documentary entitled ‘1000km of Chaos' will chart Kevin’s early preparations in Kerry, the disappointments of cancelled events due to COVID-19 restrictions and finally getting to compete in two of the toughest races in the world.

The finished production will be shown at the Kerry International Film Festival next October.

Kevin’s bid is being supported by All Real Nutrition, the Farranfore-based protein bar manufacturer, and Montane, an international extreme weather clothing brand.

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Coolick National School to launch online lotto

A popular primary school in the Killarney area is launching a new fundraising initiative this week to support and improve the education experience of the children it serves. The Coolick […]

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A popular primary school in the Killarney area is launching a new fundraising initiative this week to support and improve the education experience of the children it serves.

The Coolick National School Lotto is now live; offering a weekly prize, a weekly jackpot and a range of valuable spot prizes at launch.

Coolick NS first opened its doors in 1870 making it one of the county’s oldest primary schools. The school and pre-school is home to over 130 children from the locality. This is an increase of 20% over the past 5 years taking enrolment to an all-time high.

Coolick NS School Lotto Chairperson and parent, Pádraig Leane says properly resourcing primary school services is crucial:

“The cost of providing education is rising and the school grants provided by the department, although valuable, only do so much. We want to overcome this challenge with our school lotto. The school has a range of immediate needs but also longer-term goals to expand our facilities, add more sports equipment, wellness programmes, student support programmes and increase extra-curricular trips,” he said.

First on the list is a new set of school jerseys, gymnastics mats, replacement of end-of-lfe iPads and further expansion of their Tír na nÓg play area for the younger pupils.
Coolick National School Principal Gearoid O’Sullivan remains focused on providing the best for the children of Coolick.

“As a school we are committed to providing the best equipment, teaching and learning resources, outdoor spaces and a school interior that helps nurture each child. This school lotto will help us with our commitment to provide the very best for the school and especially for the pupils in our care,” said the principal.

The staff and students of Coolick National School are appealing to families, friends, past pupils, members of the local community, stakeholders and supporters to get behind the weekly school lotto. It is hoped that the option of 1 line for €2.50, 2 lines for €4 or 3 lines for €5 will encourage everybody to contribute. A lotto draw will take place each week with a maximum jackpot of €2,000 to be won.

Signing up is easy; through the school’s website https://www.ourfundraiser.ie/org/coolickns

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Live TV audience date with Daniel O’Donnell at INEC

People of Killarney will have the opportunity to participate in a live television audience with Daniel O’Donnell. TG4 television’s highest rating country music series of concerts is coming to the […]

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People of Killarney will have the opportunity to participate in a live television audience with Daniel O’Donnell.

TG4 television’s highest rating country music series of concerts is coming to the Gleneagle INEC Arena for the first time from June 17 to 19.

Recorded before a live audience over three nights with two concerts per night, Opry le Daniel offers a different music theme each evening and a host of special guests will join the legendary presenter Daniel O’ Donnell on stage to perform all your favourite songs.

The recordings of the show will be split into two one-hour blocks, taking place throughout each evening.

Now in its 14th year, Ireland’s favourite country music artist O’ Donnell will be joined on stage by Declan Nerney, Cliona Hagan, Mike Denver, Chrissy Mac, Dana and the Donegal balladeers ‘Onóir’ to mention but a few.

Tickets from €30.20 are available from www.inec.ie and the Gleneagle INEC Arena box office on 064 6671555.

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