Incredible charity marathon fundraiser to hit Offaly this summer

The three Belfast based runners aim to raise much needed funds

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Noel McNally, Niall Farquharson and Paul Tyrell are joined by Erin and Zach who are both receiving treatment at the centre

Noel McNally, Niall Farquharson and Paul Tyrell are joined by Erin and Zach who are both receiving treatment at the centre

Three Belfast based runners are taking on the challenge of a lifetime this summer, by running 32 marathons on consecutive days to raise funds for the Royal Belfast Hospital Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to help children, and they will come through Offaly on August 23.

They are calling on various running clubs across Offaly to volunteer in support of such a good cause. The three runners, Noel McNally, Niall Farquharson and Paul Tyrell all belong to the Beechmount Harriers running club and they are in training to run the 32 marathons, covering every county on the island of Ireland.

The adventure will begin on August 2, in Derry, and will be stopping in Offaly on August 23. The finishing race, all being well, will take place in Ormeau Park in Belfast, with the runners joining in on the Laganside 10K on September 2.

The haematology unit in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children is the Regional Centre is for treating children with cancer, and it is the only place within Northern Ireland where children can receive their much needed treatment. Noel McNally explained why the trio are taking on the unique challenge.

“I know it sounds a bit crazy and there are a lot of logistical things to get organised, and that’s all before we pull on the runners and start the first marathon in few months time. But on August 23 in Offaly, we know that we can call on the support of various running clubs, like the Tullamore Harriers, as well as members of the wider running community throughout the county."

"We will be relying on these local volunteers to marshal our routes, time the runs and most importantly to join us for a day, even it is for a few miles, a half marathon or the full 26.2 miles."

“Myself, Niall and Paul are committed to raising as much money as we can to support the work of the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and we know the amazing work undertaken by the staff at the unit. If we can help the Unit to support the families who desperately need that help, then all the better.

“We wanted to find a challenge which is different, captures the imagination and allows for hundreds of people to have fun and take part along the way. This is what we have come up with and we hope that the people in county Offaly will support us. I am sure they will.” 

Jacqueline Wilkinson from the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity was on hand to wish the trio well on behalf of the charity.

“We get fantastic support every year from fundraisers who really do take on some amazing challenges. This is one of the hardest I have heard of and I admire the lads for taking on this massive task," she said.

“The Regional Unit currently caters for around 200 young patients each year, while up to 70 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland annually. We support the work of the Unit and the families of children who are receiving treatment.” 

The CCU32 challenge begins on August 2 in Derry and makes it way across the island of Ireland over 32 days. Local runners in Offaly are encouraged to join in on August 23.

Details of the event and how to support the initiative can be found here.

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