He’s run across the polar ice-cap at the North Pole, competed in Africa’s biggest road race, and much more besides for charity, but Offaly-man Ronan Scully admits that he finally met his match when he recently attempted to cross Ireland on foot.
The one-time ‘Operation Transformation’ leader completed his six-day ‘Bay to Bay Charity Walk’ from Dublin to Galway "blistered but unbowed," as he succeeded in raising more than €20,000 for his chosen charities in Galway, the Midlands and Ethiopia with great thanks to his sponsors Galvin's Menswear shop in Tullamore, Declan Smith's Gas and Oil Services in Enfield Co. Meath and Richard Donovan's Global Adventure Running.
Ronan was joined along the way by friends, family and supporters, and used the 276km charity challenge as a way to make his recent 50th birthday an event to remember. “I was a broken man; exhausted!” he confessed afterwards, while at the same time adding that he was hugely heartened by the goodwill and support he had encountered along the way.
Scully landed on the idea for this 50th birthday challenge when walking a section of the Camino de Santiago in Spain last year for the charity he works for, Gorta-Self Help Africa. “I wanted to do something special to both celebrate my birthday, and 25 years working in developing countries. I decided to do an Irish Camino,” he remarked.
Having completed several charity walks in the past, including a marathon in the North Pole thanks to Global Adventures Running, Ronan Scully confessed his Bay to Bay walk was by far his hardest challenge.
“It was different from the other walks in the sense that there was further to go,” he explained. “The most difficult moment was the fourth day. It rained a lot and we got cold. My leg got really sore at that point.”
“The encouragement I received from friends, family and colleagues and the staff of Galvin's Menswear Shop in Tullamore, who completed sections of the walk with me, is what kept me going. I am grateful for the generosity and kindness of the people we met, and those who gave us food and water. It’s one of my best memories of the experience," he continued.
Ronan Scully raised €20,000 for charities Gorta-Self Help Africa, the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and a Homeless refuge project in the Midlands. The money raised will go to a range of projects supporting vulnerable women and children in Ireland and Africa.
Ronan, who was contestant on one of the very first series of RTE’s popular ‘Operation Transformation’ programme won’t get much time to rest before setting off for his next charity challenge. “I will walk the Camino de Santiago with a group of supporters of Gorta-Self Help Africa in late May and we still have 3 places available until the end of April, and I am also aiming to bring a group to Africa to take part in this year’s Great Ethiopia Run too in Addis Ababa in November,” the dedicated charity campaigner added.
Participants are still being sought for the Camino and Ethiopia events, and anyone interested in joining Ronan on his travels can contact Gorta-Self Help Africa on (01) 6778880, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a story for us, sports news, an event happening in your area, or if you want to submit pictures or videos, contact the Offaly Express team via e-mail to email@example.com, or through our Facebook.