Thursday 20 June 2019

Kevin lacing up for charity challenge

John Tarrant

Kevin Donovan is nearing the end of a novel fundraising concept of running a mile in every GAA club ground in County Cork, culminating in his own club, Russell Rovers, in Shanagarry on Saturday, June 22.

Having visited a number of clubs across Duhallow over the past month and receiving an enthusiastic reception at each one, his Cork GAA Mile Challenge journey will return to Duhallow again this Saturday when Kevin visits Castlemagner, Millstreet, Dromtariffe, Cullen and Knocknagree. 

Proceeds from the epic challenge will go towards the Cork Deaf Association and Parkinson's Association of Ireland. The concept originated when Kevin heard about two BBC sports personalities who had run a mile in every Premier League ground in England and Scotland for Sports Relief.

"Growing up, I had speech problems, specific speech disorder. My parents were concerned that I was only saying a few words. Sr Pauline Casey, at Our Lady's School for the Deaf in Douglas, took me on, finding the problem and gradually encouraging me to speak more words and sentences", said Kevin.

"I kept improving, and by the time secondary school came, I was able to enter mainstream education at Midleton CBS. My speech continued to improve more and more, and gradually I caught up with my classmates", he said.

Kevin's work as a quality-control analyst for Gilead Sciences, and the extraordinary 156-mile journey will also see his wife Mary walk a mile at 80 of the grounds. 

"Her dad, Michael O'Callaghan passed away last December after suffering with Parkinson's disease for 16 years. We'd like to help raise awareness about Parkinson's. It is a cause close to both our hearts," he said.

"I've done a lot of running, taking part in 5k road runs and half-marathons. I've been injured from time to time, but now the injuries are all sorted. Staying injury-free, I've enjoyed the GAA pitches challenge."

The Cork Mile Challenge starts this Saturday in Castlemagner (9.15am) followed by Millstreet, Dromtariffe, Cullen and Knocknagree