Large crowds gather to mark tenth annual Breffni Challenge

Organisers behind the hugely successful Cavan to Arva Breffni Challenge are hopeful of collecting in the region of €50,000 in the wake of its tenth anniversary over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Organisers behind the hugely successful Cavan to Arva Breffni Challenge are hopeful of collecting in the region of €50,000 in the wake of its tenth anniversary over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Over 600 people took part in the event which, throughout its decade-long existence, has raised in excess of €850,000 for cancer treatment and associated organisations.

From Longford to as far as Ennis, entrants took on the 20km trek from Cavan to Arva and the alternative 13km route from Ballinagh in equal gusto, as the region basked in an afternoon of blazing sunshine.

According to local organisers, around 150 bikes left from Cavan town with 250 runners and walkers also doing their bit for charity.

“It was one of the largest number of cyclists we have had,” said a delighted Philip Brady afterwards.

The Arva man, along with a dedicated crew of fellow organisers, has ensured the Breffni Challenge has undeniably become one of the locality’s chief fundraising, as well as annual social gatherings since its foundation 10 years ago.

But in keeping with the event’s unselfish disposition, Philip heaped praise on all those who have helped out behind the scenes in that time.

“Would you believe we had 52 ladies making sandwiches on the day? All of the burgers were provided by Sean Donnelly (local butcher) and Geraldine Kiernan and her friends cooked them.

“Then, there were all the stewards, the buffet and entertainment laid on by the Breffni Arms to the people who had water stations and refreshment facilities outside their own houses. That means an awful lot,” he said graciously.

Echoing those sentiments, co-organiser Michael Ellis paid tribute to the unrelenting sense of community spirit that now surrounds the Breffni Challenge, despite ongoing economic pressures.

“It’s hard to say why it has achieved what it has. I suppose the fact so many people been affected by cancer is a major part. But the response and support we have got from people has been terrific and for that we are extremely grateful,” he said.

A presentation, meanwhile, of monies collected at this year’s event is likely to be held in October, organisers announced this week.