Thrills and chills on c-rafty dash
Mallow river raft run
TRY as it may, the appalling weather conditions of last Sunday could do little to dampen the enthusiasm of the brave souls who took to the frigid waters of the River Blackwater in their droves.
While most of us took one look outside and decided to spend the day in front of a warm fire, dozens of intrepid adventurers took to the water in their magnificent floating creations for the 13th annual Mallow Raft River Run.
First held in 2001, the event has become one of the most popular on the local social calendar, raising more than €120,000 for the Mallow Search and Rescue Unit.
Last year's event saw more than 450 people take to the river in 86 assorted craft, making the six-mile trek from Mallow to Killavullen - raising €20,000 for the unit in the process.
Sadly, the driving wind and rain meant fewer entrants this year - with many of them struggling to reach the finish line.
Despite the poor conditions, Mallow Search and Rescue chairman John Woulfe told The Corkman he was delighted with the turnout.
"It took a lot for people to leave their warm homes and launch themselves onto, and in some unfortunate cases into, the cold water. The cold temperatures meant that some people had to be taken from the water for their own safety, but that does not take from the fact that they gave it a go in the first place," said John.
While the first raft crossed the finish line in less than 90 minutes, it took four chilly hours for the last stragglers to make it to Killavullen. Prizes were then given out in a number of categories, including best raft and best dressed contestants.
The funds raised will be spent on maintaining vital lifesaving equipment, buying new items and the general running of the unit, which amounts to as much as €50,000 per year. This also includes the cost of fuel as the unit regularly travels all over Ireland to take part in search and rescue missions.
"We rely totally on the generosity of the public to keep the unit going, so events such as the raft run are vitally important to us. Given that we receive no government support and have to pay 23% VAT on each item we buy, the support of the public is vitally important," said John.
"On behalf of the unit I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported this year's event, including our sponsors the Barry Group, BAM Construction and Nicholas Roche from Killavullen for allowing us to use his land," he added.