Andrea Splendori and Niall Breslin part of the Mindful West running group pictured with the sculpture created by artist David O'Reilly which will be donated to the village of Tarmonbarry
A group of 25 friends will take on the challenge of a lifetime as they run “all along the banks of the Royal Canal” in aid of mental health charity ‘A Lust for Life’.
Kick-starting in Greystones, County Wicklow on Thursday, September 9, the group will run the length of the canal, including the entire county Longford and Longford town spur, finishing up in Tarmonbarry on Saturday, September 11.
A mammoth challenge in its own right, the 200km ‘Mindfulwest’ run also encompasses the importance of nurturing friendships through fitness in order to mind your mind; something important now more than ever.
With a focus on community, the group all live and train in Greystones and the surrounding area. They will bring this community element into their run by gifting the village of Tarmonbarry a unique stainless steel sculpture by Greystones artist David O’Reilly, who donated the piece.
Commissioned especially for the run, this 3ft sculpture depicts a figure holding a steel ball, representing the weight we all carry. The idea of the ‘Mindfulwest run’ came to the run co-founder Andrea Splendori and his friends who were running together last year.
They all believed running had helped them hugely with their mental health and to be more mindful in their lives, and set a target to complete a 240km run from Greystones to Galway last year over three days. This year, they hope to achieve similar success with a brand new, equally gruelling route.
“Whilst this may sound like a superhuman effort, in fact the magnitude is in recognition of the challenges faced every day by those dealing with mental health issues in our community,” says run founder and coordinator Andrea Splendori.
He added, “Based upon the philosophy of taking things ‘one step at a time’ we will break down the 200km run into 3 days of ‘manageable’ chunks. The entire route will be run, but each participant can choose their own challenge on a daily basis, i.e. 5km, 10km or even 70km!”
To emphasise community involvement, the group are encouraging people to join them on any of the days or run with them virtually by signing up online.
The group will run through Longford on day three, Saturday, September 11, setting out from Mullingar at approximately 8am.The run will take them along the Royal Canal through Abbeyshrule, Ballymahon, Kenagh, Killashee, Longford Town, Clondra and into Tarmonbarry.
For further information or if you would like to join them for any stretch of the run, follow them on social media @Mindfulwest_run.
To sign up virtually or to make a donation to the cause visit www.alustforlife.com/ mindfulwestrun
A Lust for Life is an award-winning Irish wellbeing movement created to transform how we talk about and treat mental health.
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