Committee members and organisers at last week's press launch of the Breffni 3 Province Challenge in Arva
In a little over two weeks time one of the region’s largest and most successful cancer fighting fundraisers makes its long awaited annual return.
The Breffni 3 Province Challenge returns on July 30 in what will be, as organisers have termed, the event’s “coming of age moment” as it prepares to mark its 21st year in existence.
In keeping with that tradition, the event will form part of the Arva 3 Province Festival, a ten day extravaganza of history, culture and entertainment that is sure to entice large crowds from right across the midlands and beyond.
In that time and over its two decade long duration, more than €1million has been raised for cancer charities, local and national, including raising much needed funds for St Luke's Oncology Trust, Breast Cancer Research Ireland and Cavan/Monaghan Cancer Homecare Association.
“It’s quite important this year as we are celebrating the 21st year of the Three Province Challenge,” said one of the event’s main protagonists Leah O’Donnell.
“The event has been extremely successful the past 21 years with over €1million raised to support St Vincent’s Oncology Unit, Breast Cancer Research and Cavan and Monaghan Palliative Care Unit.
“There has been incredibly hard work done with a lot of work being done behind the scenes by the committee.”
A total of five events are up for grabs to would be participants including a 5km, 10km, half marathon as well as two cycling events, a 30km and 100km.
For leisure cyclists the 30k ride will take them from Arva to Carrigallen to Killeshandra, returning to Arva. For the more serious cyclists there is a 100k route taking in Killeshandra, Mohill, Drumlish and Granard.
On foot competitive runners can take part in the Athletic Association of Ireland approved Half-Marathon and 10k runs and less competitive participants can also check their times while taking their time. Most walkers take in the 10k, while for families and others there is the 5k stroll.
All the events end up at a special welcome home ceremony at the Market Square in Arva where entrants will get a warm welcome, a medal, refreshments, entertainment and plenty of craic.
What’s more, all the participants will also get a superb 2022 Breffni 3 Province Challenge t-shirt and accompanying certificate.
One of the event’s longest serving committee members, Philip Brady reserved a special mention for up to 40 local volunteers who have helped make the Challenge the unparalleled success it is today while also pausing to remember those associated with its longevity that are no longer with us.
In reminiscing on the event’s earlier era and footballing ethos that resulted in an All Stars clash between Ulster/Connacht and Leinster/Munster, Philip said the switchover to more individual pursuits was one which had served the event and its 8,000 or so participants well.
“We kept with that theme of running and cycling and walking because we found that it is both a sporting type theme and also a healthy type theme and most people of all ages of young and old can participate,” he said.
“It’s a tried and trusted method of getting people out there fundraising for cancer charities.
“On average 700 to 800 people have descended into a small areas on the corners of Connacht, Ulster and Leinster and we welcome them every year and we really look forward to this weekend every year and seeing a lot of the same faces that have done it for the past 20 years.”
His sidekick and fellow committee member Carol McEnerney said the day was one which underlined a broader sense of a shared commitment to a cause that was still thriving more than two decades on.
“Last year and this year we have a young guy from just outside Drumlish who is wheelchair bound and himself and his mother do the half marathon and will be back this year with bells and whistles on,” said Carol.
“As well as that, the half marathon this year seems to have gained a lot of traction and we are currently one of the longest running non government agency sponsored events in Ireland.”
In view of its successes to date and the accumulation of over €1m for worthwhile causes, it’s a mantle that looks set to continue for many more years to come.
*Sponsorship cards are available at shops in Arva and via email atBreffnichallenge@gmail.com.
People who want to participate can register online at register.enthuse.com/ps/event/ Breffni3ProvinceChallenge2022 or anyone can register on the day at St Patrick’s Hall in Arva.
More information can be found online at breffni3provincechallenge.com and on the event’s Facebook page at @Breffni3pc.
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