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Birthday girl Ann proves she's fit at 50


Ann Dunne, who completed the JFK 50-mile walk

Ann Dunne, who completed the JFK 50-mile walk

Ann Dunne, who completed the JFK 50-mile walk

Restaurateur Ann Dunne, who owns the well-known White Gables in Moycullen, Co Galway, was back in her native Sneem in Co Kerry at the weekend to complete the JFK 50-mile challenge.

She was one of 162 walkers taking part and one of only 90 who completed the challenge -- to walk 50 miles (80km) in less than 20 hours.

"I have one blister on my left foot but apart from that not an ache or a pain," she proudly told the Irish Independent yesterday.

Ms Dunne and a few of her friends completed 27 miles of the challenge last year. As it fell on her birthday this year, she decided to have a go doing the whole thing and roped in a few friends to keep her company.

"Four of us started out and we picked up another walker on the way. Two did 35 miles and the other three of us completed it and arrived back at 10.45pm.

"I don't know if I'd do it again though," she said.

Setting out from Sneem village at 5am on Saturday, the route took in stunning scenery on the Ring of Kerry, passing through Moll's Gap and Kenmare before coming back to Sneem.

It was a race against time as the walkers had to cross the finish line before 1am on Sunday.

First home was local couple Teresa and Kieran Murphy who completed the challenge in 10 hours and 59 seconds, beating their own record.

The idea for the challenge started in the US in the 1960s when John F Kennedy announced an endurance test of 50 miles was to be performed by servicemen to prove they were in military condition.

Back in Sneem, the organisers are hoping the challenge will become a yearly event that will help put the area on the map as a walking holiday destination.

Irish Independent