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€1.1m raised in 30-day challenge

Couple grateful for huge response to 100km challenge

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Jackie Agnew celebrates with a hard-earned pint after completing his 100km in one day

Jackie Agnew celebrates with a hard-earned pint after completing his 100km in one day

Jackie Agnew celebrates with a hard-earned pint after completing his 100km in one day

Walkers, runners and wheelers, in 34 countries around the world, have helped Blackrock businessman Niall Carroll and his wife Cara McAdams raise an amazing €1.1million for Breast Cancer Ireland and the breast cancer unit at Beaumont Hospital, by taking part in the 100km in 30 days during the month of June.

'We are delighted to get to €1.1million and we are delighted at all the effort people have put in over the last few days,' says Niall who took what had been a fun community challenge global after Cara, who teaches in De La Salle College, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

'We are so thankful to everyone, especially those in our local community who have supported us, from individuals and family groups, to corporate sponsors.'

He revealed that they have been getting messages of support and goodwill from people all over the world. 'They are saying that the challenge has made them feel closer to home and closer to their families.'

'One woman from Switzerland wrote that she felt she was being part of the cure by taking part in this.'

A host of sports stars and celebrities, including Rio Ferdinand, singers Mary Black and Nicky Byrne, have come out in support of this massively successful fund raising effort, which saw over 14,000 people run the equivalent of 28 laps around the globe!

As the challenge finishes today, June 30, Niall admitted that it had been a tiring but hugely fulfilling month.

'The last week has been very busy, as we've had a lot of photo shoots and presentations with corporate sponsors who making donations.'

These include newly merged Dundalk and Cuchulainn Credit Unions, the Department of Equality and Social Protection in Dundalk, where 45 staff had taken part in the challenge. Specsavers have also come on board, holding bucket collections outside six of their stores and donating the money from repairs to the cause.

The couple are extremely appreciative to all those who completed the 100km and are touched by the stories of the 'heroes' which have emerged - of participants who face their own challenges and illnesses but still took part as well as those who pushed themselves to the point of endurance as they clocked up far more than 100km or completed the distance in just one day.

Jackie Agnew, braved heavy downpours on Saturday as he ran his 100km in a day, becoming the second Blackrock resident to achieve that.

A physical training instructor at Aiken Barracks, where he is based as a member of the Defence Forces, Jackie says that he has to have 'a high level of fitness.'

He plays football with O'Connells GFC in Castlebellingham, and missing the opportunity to train and play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to take part in the 100km in 30 days challenge.

Having completed 100km in the first week, Jackie made up his mind to take on the big challenge of running 100km in one day.

'I do a lot of running and had been training for an endurance event in April but wasn't ready for it,' he explains. 'I had done the training for that so I felt it would be able to take on the 100km.'

Jackie carefully worked out his strategy for the undertaking, breaking it down into blocks of 30 minutes running and 30 minutes rest.

He set off from his home in Blackrock, which he shares with his partner Shauna and their two young children Isaac and Bea, at 8am on Saturday morning, ran for 15 minutes to the village centre, and then turned back.

He used his rest period to catch up with eating, stretching and changing his socks and t-shirt. He found keeping nourished was the most difficult part of his run. 'I was burning off 7,000 to 10,000 calories so it was difficult to replenish them the body.'

Jackie says he got great support from friends and neighbours throughout the day, including Turlough Cotter turned up in his three-wheeled wheelchair.

While challenge has come to an end, people can still support those who took part by donating to the JustGiving Page.

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