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Bid to climb peak 12 times in 24 hours

A TEAM of 12 men and two women have given themselves a mountain to climb -- 12 times over.

The 14 experienced marathon runners, triathletes and endurance enthusiasts set out at eight last night to conquer Croagh Patrick 12 times in 24 hours.

That's 12 times up the 764- metre holy mountain and 12 times back down by 8pm today.

At stake are three records: a Guinness World Record for the biggest number of metres ascended and descended in 24 hours; the Irish national record of nine ascents and descents of Croagh Patrick; and climbing more metres than Everest.

For the past nine months, the hardy crew, which includes Ann Ronayne of Castlebar and Mary Mulchrone of Ballinrobe, have been putting in the gruelling hours of training to ensure all was in readiness for last night's start.

The team includes postmen, plumbers and office staff. They range in age from 19 to 53.

To date, they have completed a stint of eight climbs successfully, but team member PJ Hall reckons that they will all have to dig deep to beat any of the records on offer

"I suppose we are a bit mad to do something like this, but we are all experienced in the field of endurance and hopefully we will get there.

"Some of the team have picked up a few injuries along the way, but we are hoping that we'll be able to battle our way through -- the buzz of the occasion will probably help us, too", PJ said.

They set out at 8pm to tackle the darkness of night when freshest and all were wearing head lights.

Twelve ascents would give a total of more than 9,000 metres. Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, is 8,848 metres.

Irish Independent