Seven brave men fought their best fight against ‘brutal’ weather conditions which showed them no mercy to complete a 600 km cycle challenge within 24 hours from Mizen2Malin, and all with a half hour to spare!
Setting out from Mizen Head at Ireland’s most southerly point on Saturday (25th June) at 3pm they could never have imagined how their resolve would have been tested by consistent rain and wind all the way until they wheeled up, weather beaten but victorious, at Malin Head at the tip of Donegal at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Months of preparation and intensive training went into the 24 hour challenge which included 4000 meters of elevation for the seven members of Tipperary’s Upperchurch Drombane Cycling Club. Their goal was to raise as much money as possible for the Tipperary Branch of the Irish Kidney Association. By the time they crossed the finish line, the seven cyclists, one of them a kidney patient, had raised over €16,000 for the charity.
The seven men and their travelling supporting team were greeted in a wet an blustery Malin Head by a welcoming party of family, friends including local dialysis patient John Hegarty (36) with his wife Mary and their four young children, Ella (age 7), Erin (4), Ada (3) and Ronan (1). For nearly 8 years, John has been making a two hour rund trip three times a week to Letterkenny for life saving haemodialysis treatment.
Cyclist and kidney patient Francis Hogan, age 45, said, “the weather was brutal and we really were losing faith on being able to complete the challenge. While we felt fit for the challenge, we never envisaged the weather being so harsh from the time we set out, right through the night and into Sunday afternoon. We pushed the hardest that any of us have ever done before. We couldn’t have done it without our supporters and the team that travelled by van guiding us along with words of encouragement and making sure we were fed and watered and had numerous changes of clothes.”
Taking part in the Mizen 2 Malin Challenge were David Russell, an award winning young farmer from Thurles, as well as father and son David and Jamie Donovan, also from Thurles, along with building contractor Seamus Duggan, from Templemore, farmer Pat Heffernan from Moyglass, Fethard, James Tobin, an Actuary, who lives in Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, (on the Tipperary border), and self employed kidney patient Francis Hogan from Templemore.
Cyclist Francis Hogan, a father of five children, was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a hereditary condition. when he was in his early twenties. Through careful medical intervention and medication and healthy lifestyle choices, including dietary and fitness, he has slowed down the progression of his disease and he now has 25% kidney function. Francis is a strong advocate for fitness in aiding a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing. In 2001 Francis’s late father Gus, who also shared the same hereditary kidney condition, passed away in hospital, at the young age of 49, with heart failure just a day after undergoing a kidney transplant.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the event’s fundraiser can do so online to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/francis-hogan-549-hogan
Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to Share their Wishes and keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence or having the ‘digital organ donor card’ App on their smartphone. Organ Donor Cards can be requested by visiting the IKA websitewww.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or to your phone, phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050