Friday 23 March 2018

Year without Beer: Longford man cuts booze to raise vital funds for local charity

Longford man Paul McVeigh (centre) is giving up the beer for a year in aid of charity.
Longford man Paul McVeigh (centre) is giving up the beer for a year in aid of charity.

Ryan O'Rourke

A Longford man is giving up the beer for a year in aid of charity.

Paul McVeigh (28) is going 12 months without the drink in a campaign he calls "action packed year without the beer".

The campaign aims to raise money for Good2talk - Westmeath.

On top of giving up alcohol, Paul and his two friends, Donie Carey and Joe Nangle, are doing "13 ridiculous challenges”"across the year.

Their first challenge took place in July when they cycled 189km from Mullingar to Croagh Patrick, climbed the mountain, and then cycled home to Mullingar again.

Paul described what it felt like to complete this challenge: "Safe to say, that was one of the most challenging and rewarding weekends of my life.

"There were blood, sweat, and at a few points, being on the verge of bursting into tears."

The second challenge took place on the main square of Mullingar where they had a SkiAthon. This was a marathon on ski-machine, which is similar to a rowing machine.

Paul spoke about the motivation behind this campaign.

"It was a negative relationship I had with alcohol, where I would go out drinking on a Saturday night and all day Sunday, and then I would be dying a death for the week.

"I just wasn’t in a good place, and it was kind of a vicious cycle," he said.

Paul talked about how he believes that the binge drinking is a serious problematic issue in Ireland.

"It’s amazing since we’ve started this seeing people in the same place, you’d have people coming up to you saying there dealing with the same things, but no one wants to talk about it," he said.

The next challenge is set to take place in Donegal on the September 23.

The challenge, 'Gaelforce North' is a discipline course that consists off a 19.5km run, a 45.5km cycle and 2km kayak. The trio will then cycle the 220km back to Mullingar.

Paul insists that he isn’t a martyr, but hopes that it will inspire people in situations similar to himself.

"When I was 21, I weighed 25 stone.

"A lot has changed, it had to, when you put your mind to it, you can do anything," he said.

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