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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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Leona named PRO of the year

By Sean Moriarty She is best known for promoting the county’s GAA news – and now Leona Twiss has been rewarded for her efforts. The Gaelic Games Writers’ Association named […]

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By Sean Moriarty

She is best known for promoting the county’s GAA news – and now Leona Twiss has been rewarded for her efforts.

The Gaelic Games Writers’ Association named Leona as its Public Relations Officer of the Year at an awards ceremony at Iveagh Gardens in Dublin on Friday night last.

Leona has been the PRO for Kerry GAA for the last five years but will have to step down this year due to County Board rules.

“I was speechless, it was wonderful to get PRO of the Year but I am only as good as the team around me and this success is attributed to the hard work of the entire PR team at Kerry GAA,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

As well as her busy schedule managing the media affairs for the Kerry County Board, Leona is also principal at Cullina National School in Beaufort.

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Any victory for Ukraine is important!

By Natalya Krasnenkova On the eve of the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, President Zelensky said “Ukrainians need victory – big and small”. That is why Ukrainians who […]

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By Natalya Krasnenkova

On the eve of the final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, President Zelensky said “Ukrainians need victory – big and small”.

That is why Ukrainians who gathered around the world on Saturday night were waiting for Ukraine’s win in the song contest, just like the victory in the war.

The Ukrainians from the Innisfallen Hotel were waiting for that too and the overall winner, Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra, caused a real emotional storm in the hall!

“After my country’s victory at Eurovision, I felt proud, cried, laughed and couldn’t believe it. I am also grateful to everyone who voted for us, because this victory shows how much most European countries support us,” Iryna Melnychuk said.

“Voting around the world for Ukraine gives us hope for support from the world community not only in the Eurovision Song Contest,” said Stepan Krasnenkov.

The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra received the highest number of points from the audience during the entire existence of the competition: 439 points from the audience, 192 points from the professional jury. In the end – 631 points, which brought Ukraine victory.

Also, thanks to the Kalush Orchestra, the whole world now knows about the humanitarian catastrophe in Mariupol and the Azovstal enterprises, where wounded Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are under blockade without food, water and medicine.

After their performance, Kalush Orchestra addressed the audience from around the world with a request to save the defenders of Mariupol, who are at the Azovstal plant.

“Please help Ukraine, Mariupol! Help Azovstal! Right now!” – the band called.

After these words, search queries for Azovstal and Mariupol took off on the Internet as people were looking for what they meant.

Irish Eurovision contestant Brooke also sang it and the whole world sings the song of the winners ‘Stefania’.

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