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Sunday 31 August 2014

Cork man set for six-day 200 mile run to fundraise for sick child (3)

Jason Kennedy

Published 17/02/2014 | 13:11

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Little Alisha Savage (3) and Paul Mellamphy, who is running 200 miles to fundraise for her treatment

Ten years ago, Cork native Paul Mellamphy was 18 stone and living an unhealthy lifestyle. Around nine years ago, he joined the Army and is setting up for an epic six-day run from Dublin to Cork.

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Mr Mellamphy will start of his 200 mile journey on March 3 and will stay in five hotels around Ireland as he raises funds for three-year-old Alisha Savage, who was diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumour in 2012.

Alisha's parents need to raise around €100,000 a year to fund their daughter's treatment. So far, Mr Mellamphy has raised more than €4,200 in sponsorship.

Surgeons successfully removed a quarter of the tumour without causing any major damage to Alisha but couldn’t remove it all as it could have led to paralysis or blindness.

Over the course of 6 days, Mr Mellamphy will run from Crumlin to Newbridge, from Newbridge to Carlow before running to Kilkenny, which will be the halfway point to his journey.

The second half of his run will see him going towards Clonmel, then on to Kilworth in Cork, before climbing St Patrick's Hill in Cork city, where his gruelling task will end.

Paul has been in training for this journey for more than six months and is a healthy mix of excited and nervous.

"Last September I finished a 50-mile ultra marathon race. This one is spread out, but I’ve been training back-to-back. It’s about finishing it. It’s about the charity," he said.

Over the last few years, Paul himself has been on quite the journey, transforming his body from that of an unhealthy person to someone who runs a marathon every year. It all started when he decided to sign up to the army, he said.

"When I decided to join the army, it just kind of motivated me to keep going and try and be as healthy as I could. You have to keep physical condition up, or else you could lose your job here.

"I smoked a lot, I used to drink too much and I’d eat all the wrong foods. I was just lazy and wasn’t doing any sports. I started with 10 kilometre races then I ran my first marathon in 2009. I’ve ran a marathon every year since then."

For more information on the campaign, visit Paul's sponsorship page or the charity page.

Irish Independent

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