Brothers Rise To 100km Trekking Challenge

By Sinéad Goldsboro

By Sinéad Goldsboro

Starting a new job and relocating to a different county is challenging enough but when you also decide to train and compete in a 100km trek through the Mourne Mountains for Oxfam Ireland then you really are going to discover the meaning of challenge.

Eamonn Fitzgerald, a Galway native, has just moved to Cashel in the past week to take up a new position with T.D. Tom Hayes. The move was made easier by the fact that his brother Stuart also lives in Tipperary and is a vet in Thurles. It was actually Stuart’s idea that the brothers take part in the Oxfam Trek.

The brothers were looking for a challenge that called for endurance that would really motivate them to push them to the limit and the Oxfam Ireland’s Trailtrekker this September fit the bill. The added incentive of raising money that will help charity and go towards those less fortunate is a real bonus to them. It gives the brothers the opportunity to take part in what Eamonn sees as a double edged sword and is giving them the determination to succeed.

The brothers have no trekking experience but the training has already started for them with a 24k trek organised by Oxfam that covered part of the route they will be taking in September. This gave them a good taster of what lies ahead of them. The boys plan on having a number of training weekends to build up their stamina and fitness level that will allow them to trek for the 100km.

Oxfam Ireland is recruiting teams from all over the country to take part. It is being billed as one of the world’s most ambitious team challenges as it involves a non-stop 100km or 50km through the Mourne Mountains to Carlingford. The Trailtrekker challenge is part of a growing global phenomenon as there are now fifteen events in twelve different countries. Since its inception in Hong Kong in 1981, over 128,000 individuals have collectively walked over 11.5 million kilometres while raising over €70 million. Trailtrekker is now in its third year in Ireland and has raised over E700,000 towards Oxfam Ireland’s work.

The event takes place on September 10th and 11th on a specially designed route that starts in Newcastle, Co Down before going across the Mourne Mountains, the Ring of Gullion and the Cooley Peninsula and finishing up in the village of Carlingford. This cross-border route features some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes although I am sure the volunteers will not have much time for sight-seeing such will be the determination to complete the challenge.

Registration for the event is €200 per team and participants must also raise a minimum of €2,000 sponsorship per team and Eamonn said that himself and Stuart plan on holding a couple of fundraising events in the coming months.

This is not Eamonn’s first outing in the world of challenges and fundraising as he was involved in the Galway based Alan Kerins Project which helps to develop sustainable living in Zambia. Eamonn said that he really enjoys the buzz from organising fundraising events and he is continually amazed at how generous Irish people are, especially these days with our current economic woes. I am sure whatever fundraising events himself and Stuart are planning for their Trailtrekker they will be a great success. Eamonn is to keep the Tipperary Star updated in training progress and fundraising events over the next couple of months so we can follow himself and Stuart in their quest to conquer that 100km trek through the Mourne Mountains.