Elaine McDermott from Moydow recently completed a gruelling seven-day cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head as part of the Viviscal CROSS Rugby Legends Cycle event.
“I loved every minute of it,” she told the Longford Leader. “Everyone had sore bottoms and some people found it tough on the hills, but I didn’t mind it at all. We were lucky because the weather was glorious for the whole week; the previous year had been very wet and cold.”
Headed by well-known international rugby players, the Wallace brothers, the total distance between the two points is over 920 kilometres. However, Elaine revealed her group slightly exceeded that figure.
“Our marshals got us lost near Westport, which added to the total distance,” she laughed.
“The Wallace brothers joined our group at points along the way. Paul and Richard went the entire distance, although David had to finish in Letterkenny. Their other brother, Henry, also took part.”
Elaine added that other well-known figures also took part.
“Finbar Walsh, father of young Donal Walsh who died from cancer last year, was also with us,” she continued. “He stopped at a school in Westport to talk about his son’s battle with cancer and his message asking young people not to throw their lives away.”
While Elaine had been progressing well, a crash on the final day of the cycle meant she had a tough battle on her hands in order to finish the journey.
“Another cyclist veered across me and we collided,” she said. “As a result of that, my bike ended up being stuck in the highest gear, and so I had to cycle for 40 kilometres like that.”
Although it was tough going - with much of the final stretch to Malin being uphill - Elaine refused any help she was offered.
“A pro cyclist offered to give me a push to the top of the hill, but I said no. I think they didn’t expect me to make it through the high climb. It’s a great sensation being able to say I did it!”
Elaine began fundraising in the months leading up to the cycle and while she was on the road, friends and neighbours continued to donate money.
“During the week I was away, my mother and my sister were busy collecting money. People were dropping by the house and leaving money in. The people in Moydow and Ardagh gave very generously. In total, I raised €3,027, which has now been forwarded onto CROSS.”
“I would love to do it all again,” Elaine admitted. “I have to thank my parents, PJ and Teresa, sister Catherine, brothers Peter, Eugene, Sean, and sisters-in-law Lynda and Nollaig for all their support.”