• The Brighter Side of News

Simon to run 5k in all 32 counties in seven days for mental health groups

[Aug. 28, 2020: David Reed]



A Co Down man is aiming to run a 5k in each county in Ireland over the course of a week to raise funds for mental health charities.


Simon McEvoy from Banbridge is setting off on his challenge on Sunday, starting in Co Antrim.


Over a week he will traverse the island, driving on average four hours a day to visit and run in up to five counties before completing his 32-county challenge next Saturday, September 5, on his home turf in Co Down.


He said: "I'm quite new to running. I ran my first 5k in 2019 when I took part in a Born2Run race in Castlewellan.


"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."


Simon is fundraising for both Aware NI and Aware Ireland.


He said this traumatic year had put a strain on the mental health of many people in Ireland.


"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. "I am glad I didn't give myself too much time to consider the challenge as it has been quite an intense few weeks training and organising the logistics of the 1,800km drive, but it has kept me focused.


"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 all of the support."


Aware NI chief executive Karen Collins said: "We'll be following Simon's journey throughout the week and will be with him in spirit and cheering him on every step of the way.


"As a charity, the money that people fundraise is vitally important to allow us to continue delivering our services in schools, communities and workplaces across Northern Ireland."


Simon has so far raised €6,000 (£5,300), and to tie in with the four province, 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 afterwards so he can auction them to raise further funds.


Simon has also lined up fellow runners to do a 5k in over 20 international cities from Amsterdam to Washington, tagging local mental health charities to increase awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing.



This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of The Belfast Telegraph at www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk.

Like these kind of stories? Get The Brighter Side of News' newsletter.

Want to Learn More?


Aware was founded in 1985 by Dr. Patrick McKeon and a small but dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom had their own personal experience with depression, or bipolar disorder. The organisation developed in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals who had a diagnosis of depression or bipolar as well as family members supporting a loved one.


Since then, what began as one support group in Dublin has grown and flourished to become a nationwide presence which has saved many lives and has, for countless others, eased the suffering and distress that depression can bring. The three pillars of Aware’s work are information, education and support. The organisation provides a range of services including group meetings offering support and information, a telephone and email support service, and a number of programmes based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Educating and empowering people to look after their mental health is also an integral part of Aware’s work. Interactive talks and workshops in schools(for students aged 15-18) as well as education and training programmes for the workplace are delivered nationwide.


Aware believes that recovery from depression is possible.