Mary storms into Kerry

Around-Ireland runner hits Kerry to raise funds for RNLI

Big cheers as Mary Nolan Hickey arrives in Fenit on her Lap of the Map in aid of RNLI on Sunday. Mary had raised €17,000 by Tuesday
Big cheers as Mary Nolan Hickey arrives in Fenit on her Lap of the Map in aid of RNLI on Sunday. Mary had raised €17,000 by Tuesday
Members of Fenit RNLI who greeted Mary Hickey as she arrived in Fenit on Sunday

Sinead Kelleher

She has almost reached the age of free travel but Mary Hickey won't be availing of it as she is using her own two legs to run around Ireland. 

The 65-year old left her Arklow home on January 1 to run the lap of Ireland or the Lap of the Map as she is calling her venture. 

Having travelled up North to Louth, Down, Antrim, Donegal, and down the West Coast to Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Clare, she arrived in Kerry last week amidst Storm Emma which halted her plans. 

She had intended to run from Tarbert to Listowel on Thursday but for safety reasons opted out of this section and instead she took a lift to safety in Listowel where she remained for the duration of the storm. 

She continued her journey around Ireland on Sunday when she left Listowel and arrived at Fenit RNLI station on Sunday afternoon having ran 24 miles that day and finally hitting the 1,000 mile mark. In total she had ran 1,012.8 miles by Monday last. 

Mary is visiting all RNLI stations on route around Ireland as they are her chosen charity and to date her amazing journey has raised over €16,000 for the charity. 

Mary is no stranger to unique adventures having taken on one of the most gruelling ultra marathons in the world - the Marathon Des Sables - a 215km run through the Sahara desert. 

She has ran more than 70 Ultra marathons and full marathons in her running career and She is also the only woman to have ran every single Dublin marathon. 2018 marks her 50th year of running which prompted her to come up with a challenge like no other and the Lap of the Map was born. 

"I wanted to do something big and special so here I am," she says.  "It has been tough at times but it is brilliant too I have met the most amazing people. The sense of community in Ireland is brilliant. I have got great support from everyone especially those in the running community and from the RNLI."

She has been well supported in Kerry to date with local businesses coming on board to host her and provide her with lunch and dinner and other necessities. 

Mary says she chosen the RNLI as her charity because it is a cause "close to her heart" as she is also involved in coastal rowing. 

"I live in Arklow and when I hear the siren going on I know they are going to get some-one." 

Mary ran from Fenit to Tralee on Monday and on Tuesday she took a day off before heading for Camp.  

She will continue her Kerry journey throughout this week running from Camp to Dingle on Thursday, Dingle to Inch, Inch to Killorglin, Killorglin to Glenbeigh and on to Valentia with the aim of arriving at Valentia RNLI on Wednesday, March 14th.

She hopes to arrive back home in Arklow in Mid to late April having ran full circle around Ireland's coastline. 

Full details of Mary's journey is on Lap of the Map on Facebook and the website 

Meanwhile Fenit RNLI urges everyone to join them on their annual fundraising cycle that's taking place on Saturday, May 5 from 10.30am.