'Run in the Dark' to raise funds for Mark Pollock Trust

The Kerry run will help fund the ‘Mark Pollock Trust'.
The Kerry run will help fund the ‘Mark Pollock Trust'.

Fergus Dennehy

Be sure to go ahead and mark November 7 on your calendars this week, for that is the date of the first ever Kerry 'Run in the Dark' event. The run will be held on Inch Beach on the evening of Wednesday November 7.

Run in the Dark is the main fundraiser of the Mark Pollock Trust, which is named after blind Irish adventure athlete Mark Pollock.

Mr Pollock suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury in 2010 when he fell from a second-storey window, which left him paralysed. Prior to the accident, Mark had competed in ultra-endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps, and he was the first blind person to race to the South Pole. The Kerry run will be led by local man Mike O'Shea, who said that he is honoured to see one of the best fundraising runs to the people of Kerry.

"We are delighted to bring Run in the Dark to Kerry. Run in the Dark is one of the highlights of the running calendar in Kerry, not just because of the unique experience but also due to the important cause powering the event," he said.

"Every run entry, every donation, every step moves us towards a cure for paralysis and enabling people to walk again," he continued. In the past year, fuelled by Run in the Dark, the Mark Pollock Trust has secured two new sets of Ekso Bionics robotic legs worth more than $400,000.

Both exoskeletons are used as research devices in Irish universities in studies with paralysed people. "We believe we can cure paralysis in our lifetime. And, right now, we are at an exciting inflection point with the research. Breakthrough therapies have been discovered, and some will be made available to paralysed people within the next 10 years if we support our collaborators to navigate a pathway from scientific breakthrough to regulatory approval and commercialisation," said Mark, commenting on his quest to cure paralysis.

"By making these therapies available, we will change the lives of up to 500,000 people worldwide who suffer the injury each year," he said. The 5km 'Run in the Dark' Kerry will start at 8pm  on Inch Beach next Wednesday evening. It will cost €25 to enter. Head over to www.runinthedark.org/kerry for all information on the run and charity.