Thursday 29 September 2016

‘I couldn’t get anyone to pick me up’ - Maria Walsh on why she is cycling from Mayo to Tralee for festival

Published 11/08/2015 | 10:42

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh will end her reign with a charity run and cycle.
Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh will end her reign with a charity run and cycle.

Maria Walsh, 2014’s Rose of Tralee, has one final duty before she hands over her tiara - a gruelling 242km cycle and run from Mayo to Kerry.

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The reigning Rose joked to Neil Delamere on Today FM that she had no other choice to get to the 56th annual festival.

“I couldn’t get anyone to pick me up, so I thought I better get my own way down,” she laughed.

Maria will set out from her hometown of Shrule, Co Mayo and partake in a 242km cycle and run across five counties to make it to the festival’s headquarters in Tralee ahead of the iconic event.

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh will end her reign with a charity run and cycle. Photo: Richard Mc Carthy 2015
Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh will end her reign with a charity run and cycle. Photo: Richard Mc Carthy 2015

The Trek2Tralee challenge came about after Maria met with wellness coach Jen Feighery.

They came up with a four day challenge, hoping that Irish people would be inspired to get involved and join the 27-year-old along her route or donate to her chosen charities.

“I selected three great charities,” Maria told Delamere. “Development Perspectives,Barretstown and Donal Walsh’s #LiveLife.”

“We have a great crew and a full team with us. Jim Breen from Cycle Against Suicide is our cycle mentor and some other amazing people have come and given their time.”

Maria Walsh at the Opening Night of the Vodafone Comedy Festival at the Iveagh Gardens Dublin
Maria Walsh at the Opening Night of the Vodafone Comedy Festival at the Iveagh Gardens Dublin

“The aim of the game is to get people out with us, whether they walk, run or cycle, join us for a mile, a kilometer, the whole route or any part of the route,” she urged.

The website www.trek2tralee.com is now accepting donations, and so far over €2,300 has been raised.

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh at the Killarney races
Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh at the Killarney races

Maria, the former Philadelphia Rose, admitted she has only “done a little bit” of training ahead of the race and she is “slightly nervous”.

She joked with Delamere that while she is ok at cycling, running the 13 miles, might pose some trouble and she hopes she doesn’t end up “limping like John Wayne” when she reaches her destination.

Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, Texas Rose Cindy Crowell and Kentucky Rose Claire Curran at the Kerrygold International Rose Ball at the Rose of Tralee Festival Dome on Friday night. Picture: Eye Focus
Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, Texas Rose Cindy Crowell and Kentucky Rose Claire Curran at the Kerrygold International Rose Ball at the Rose of Tralee Festival Dome on Friday night. Picture: Eye Focus

“The crew is really looking after me,” she promised. “Making sure I’m well fed and watered.”

It certainly seems like she is in good hands and ultimately Maria is looking forward to handing over her crown to one of the 32 hopefuls .

“I’m really excited because I've met all the Roses for the 2015 class and they’re all just amazing...amazing.”

“There’ll be no Miss Congeniality moment I promise. I’m really excited to see who the new 2015 Rose is.”

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