A FAMILY of 15 brothers and sisters have met up for their first ever training session together ahead of a world record attempt at next week's Dublin City Marathon.
The nine brothers and six sisters hope to become the largest family ever to complete a marathon next Monday.
The 15 O'Donoghue siblings went for a five-mile walk yesterday in their native Birr, Co Offaly, after two members flew in from the US last Friday ahead of the marathon.
"It's crazy because no member of our family has ever run or even walked a marathon before, so it is a huge challenge to undertake," said Ruth O'Donoghue.
"We're not an athletic family in the slightest," she added.
The O'Donoghues hope to raise more than €50,000 for Down Syndrome Ireland as part of their efforts.
"It's a charity that's very close to our hearts as our nephew Mark was born with Down Syndrome two years ago," Ruth said.
The family have also secured backing and sponsorship from Lucozade Sport on the day.
"We're training hard since February and we're all confident we've got what it takes to cross that finish line," Ruth said.
Siblings Noel, Mary, Therese, Adelaide, Pa, Margaret, Willie, Kieran, Joe, Robert, Cronan, Jimbob, Brenda, Kevin and Louise are all aged between 32 and 52.
The O'Donoghues hope to break the current world record for the number of family members to finish a marathon set earlier this month by a family of 13 in Wisconsin, USA.
The record had been previously held by the 12-member Irwin family of Donegal.
All 15 siblings must complete the marathon within eight hours of starting in order to secure their place in the 'Guinness Book of Records'.
However Ruth's effort won't go towards the record as she is an in-law.
"Five of us are definitely running and the rest will either run and walk or just walk to the finish," she said.
According to Ruth the challenge came about after a younger member of the family received a 'Guinness Book of Records' for Christmas and saw the entry for the largest number of siblings to run a marathon.
"She took a look at her own family and said it for the crack over Christmas," said Ruth.
"In February we all came together for Noel's 40th birthday and I went around everyone with a video camera and swore them all into doing it and it took off from there," she said.
The family have opened a fundraising account called the Little Owl Fund at the Bank of Ireland, Birr, A/C 78329199; sort code 90-16-77 for members of the public who wish to donate to the family's appeal.