Co. Down native, Simon McEvoy, will undertake a 32-county challenge on August 30 that will see him run 5km in each county in aid of mental health charities Aware NI and Aware Ireland – over just seven days.
Simon will set off on Sunday August 30 from Co. Antrim, and over the course of a week, will traverse the country driving, on average, four hours a day to visit and run in up to five counties before completing his challenge on Saturday September 5 on his home turf in Co. Down.
“I’m quite new to running. I ran my first 5km in 2019 when I took part in a Born2Run race in Castlewellan, Co. Down,” said Simon. “Since then, I’ve been interested in getting a bit faster and going a bit further, but I didn’t have any real goals, until recently when running the Atlantic Drive in Donegal, I had the idea to run in every county in Ireland.
“Before having the opportunity to think it through or back out, I discussed the challenge with my family who were very supportive and decided that I would do it before the end of this summer while raising money for a worthy cause in the process.
“I have previously taken part in fundraising events for Aware, so it was important for me to raise funds for both Aware NI and Aware Ireland. This year has put a strain on the mental health of many across the island. The respective Aware charities carry out amazing work in the mental health sector and their support is so vital at the moment with the current covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
Simon has had an intense few weeks of training, not to mention organising the logistics of a 1,800km drive to ensure he completes the 32-county challenge in just seven days.
“It is going to be a tough but achievable challenge, scaling up from an average of 25km a week to 160km. I am confident that I can complete the challenge as I am so enthused and appreciative of how generous everyone has been, and I really want to repay of all the support.”
Simon has raised over €6,000 so far and to tie in with the 32-county challenge, he has been in contact with all the provincial rugby and county GAA boards and sponsors so that he has enough tops to run in. He plans to get them signed by players after so that the charities can auction them to raise further funds.
Progress of his challenge will be shared on social media over the course of the week and Simon has lined up fellow runners to do a 5km in over 20 international cities from Amsterdam to Washington tagging local mental health charities to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and he invites local runners to do the same.