Collette raises €3,000 on Belfast to Dublin race
Dundalk grandmother Collette O'Hagan entered the 100 mile club for ultra runners after she successfully completed the gruelling Belfast to Dublin challenge over the Easter weekend, raising over €3,000 for hospice charities.
'It was tough although not as bad as I expected,' said the well-known runner who has clocked up over 500 marathons as well as 24 hour races.
Collette was one of just sixty runners who signed up for the demanding 173km race from Belfast to Dublin.
The runners got a great send-off as they set off from outside Belfast's famous Crown Bar at 12 noon on Good Friday en route to St James Gate in Dublin along the route of the old Belfast to Dublin Road,
'I ran with my friend Rebecca Carroll from Mulligar and we stayed together and kept each other's spirits up,' said Collette. 'Her husband met us at different spots along the route. We stopped for teas and buns along the way and met family members at various points.'
'My husband Larry met us at the Carrickdale and we passed through Dundalk around midnight. We were lucky that the weather was perfect; it was coldish but there was no rain.'
Running through the night was the most difficult part of the race but it also brought its own reward.
'The most amazing part was going from darkness to light, when the birds started to sing before the sun rose. It was the most amazing feeling to see the new day beginning and we also knew we were getting close to our destination.'
'I was fine until towards the end and at that stage, I was starting to feel sick and my body was rejecting fluids, but that is normal. I was very well prepared as I had the right training and the right food.'
Arriving at St James Gate around 6.30pm on Saturday, Collette said that despite the difficulties of the challenge, she was delighted that she did it.
'I'm now a member of the 100 mile ultra club which is something I never thought would happen.'
Collette said that the fact that she was raising money for charities and had been supported by so many people gave her the motivation to keep going.
'I raised funds for the North Louth Hospice as they had helped my husband Larry when he was sick and the Meath Hospice as they have helped my grandson Charlie as he undergoes treatment for cancer.'
She has raised around €3,000 and anyone who wishes to donate can still do so by going to her GoFundMe page.