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New Year's bet leads to pals' 10K challenge 30.06.15

LIFELONG Greencastle pals Mairead Harkin and Mary McLaughlin are limbering up for a 10K run for two worthy local causes – The AJ Harkin Foundation and Foyle Sailability.
Not having run a mile since the mile run at Carndonagh Community School, the friends decided to challenge themselves last October with a "couch to 5k". But another gauntlet was thrown down on New Year's Eve by Ciaran Boyce who said he would generously sponsor the girls for a charity 10K run. The friends will undertake their challenge on July 19 and have been meeting at 6.30am three times a week towards that aim.
“With both of us working and Mary working shifts, it can be difficult to schedule times that suit us both but we make the date and stick by it no matter what," said Mairead (nee Kealey).
“When we initially took it on to organise the 10K walk/run, we wanted to do it for local causes that maybe don’t have the same high profile as others so we chose the AJ Harkin Foundation and Foyle Sailability," Mary (nee Barr) added.
Mary McLaughlin, far left, and Mairead Harkin, far right, with AJ Harkin and his classmates who are also members of Foyle Sailability. (Photo: Rosemary, The Old Lane Studio)
“AJ has cerebral palsy which means that his muscles don’t work as they should. AJ has been travelling to the Peto Institute, in Hungary every year for the past five years for therapy, focusing on giving him a more independent way of living. As he has been responding well to this intensive therapy, we want to help the Harkins to continue with it for as long as it is benefiting AJ."
Mairead added: "Our other chosen charity is Foyle Sailability, a cross border charity which gives people with disabilities of all ages the opportunity to try sailing and other water sports. They are completely voluntary and have been on the go since 2013, going from strength to strength.
"Having spoken to some people who have benefited and their carers, we were struck by how much of an impact this project was having on them, many of whom were getting the chance to do something that they thought was beyond their capability and reach."
The two friends are keen to acknowledge the support they've received so far.
“We are so grateful not only for the sponsorship for these two very worthy causes but also for the encouragement from the local community for the event itself."
The 10K walk/run will take place on Sunday, July 19 at 2pm, starting at Greencastle village to Moville and back to Greencastle followed by refreshments and live music. Registration is €5 and can be paid on the day. All walkers and runners welcome. For further information please contact Mairead on 086 8907694.
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