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South African event inspires hospice mountain run

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By Sean Moriarty

A group of local hill runners, inspired by world record holder South African Gerda Steyn, raised over €800 for the Kerry Hospice Foundation in the Gap of Dunloe last Sunday.

MOUNTAIN RUN: Colleen Coffey Stephen Griffin Denise Smith Siobhan Falvey all from Beaufort at Sunday's mountain run.

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FUNDRAISING: Martina Thompson Anna Eager Louise Riordan Miriam Beasley Claire O’Malley Colleen Coffey. Back row: Denise Smith and Stephen Griffin all from Beaufort.

FINISH LINE: At the finish line at Lord Brandon’s Cottage were Gary Landers Diarmuid O’Malley Miriam Beasley Tadhg O’Malley Noel Hyde Chris Grayson Paul O’Sullivan and Jeremy Curran.

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Steyn is the fastest woman to complete Comrades Marathon in her native South Africa.

The 98 kilometre event, run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, is the world's biggest and oldest ultra-marathon race.

In 2019 she won the Comrades Marathon in a record time of 5 hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds, becoming the first woman to complete the run in under six hours.

Beaufort man Diarmuid O’Malley is a veteran of over 30 marathons and ultra-marathons, including the 2013 Comrades Race, and he was one of the organisers of Sunday’s event that catered for all abilities. He is planning to return to the famed South African event as soon as travel restrictions allow.

“A week after her 2019 Comrades success, I had the pleasure to show Gerda Steyn the Gap of Dunloe route and her exact comment to me was "you have no excuse not to run Comrades again with a training route like this on your doorstep",” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

O’Malley’s plans were disrupted due to pandemic related restrictions and the 2021 Comrades event was contested online. He decided to use the route he had shown to Steyn for this year’s Comrades Virtual event and roped in 35 other local hill running enthusiasts to help him out.

"I competed in Comrades in 2013 which is the year of the famous 'bird wind' edition with the highest percentage of dropouts from the warm temperatures, it was a bit like that last Sunday. I had planned to do it last year, it then got moved to this year and now moved to 2022, so fingers crossed," he added.

“35 runners and walkers gathered at the Gap of Dunloe to cover 10km, 21km and 45km routes over the hills of one of Ireland's most iconic roads to Lord Brandon's Cottage. The 45km route covered two loops and the 21km was one loop. In the true spirit of Comrades, all participants managed to successfully get to the finish line in the hottest recorded day of the year in Ireland."

Between them they raised €800 for the Kerry Hospice Foundation, helped by local women Denise Smith and Siobhan Falvey who were on the organising team, as well as members of the hospice staff.

“It was great to get out running and not chasing a time, just catching up with running friends again and all for a fantastic worthy cause,” Diarmuid added.

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NPWS survey to find out impact of fires

By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]

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By Michelle Crean

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.

The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.

The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.

Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.

Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.

The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.

“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

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Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients

By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]

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By Michelle Crean

Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.

Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.

This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.

Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).

In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.

The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.

When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.

“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.

“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”

For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.

There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.

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