UP TO 80 people are expected to cycle from county Limerick to Doolin this July in memory of Ger McDonnell, who died on K2, the second highest mountain in the world during an avalanche in 2008 as he tried to help others make the descent.
Now in its fifth year, the Ger McDonnell Memorial Cycle will donate the proceeds from the cycle this year to Limerick Youth Service (LYS), which helps hundreds of teenagers in Limerick city and county who have left school early to train for jobs.
The cycle will be officially launched on May 24, as the service hosts its 40th anniversary in the Clarion Hotel.
It will retrace the route Ger took many years ago when he cycled from his home in Kilcornan, Co Limerick, to post a letter, and on a whim kept cycling until he reached Doolin.
He had a pint of Guinness and a toasted sandwich, and set on the road again for home, completing nearly 250km in a day.
His brother-in-law Barry Lunch said it’s a “brilliant event”, adding that last year 13 people decided to complete the full round-trip, which he admitted was “tougher than doing the Ring of Kerry”.
He said they hope to set up an official cycle club in his memory.
Ger’s brother JJ, other family members and friends, as well as his friends from Dublin City University will again be cycling this year.
This year the cycle will be split into two groups, for fast cyclists, and those with less miles on the clock. Cyclists, depending on their level of fitness, can expect to reach Doolin between 3pm and 5pm, after leaving Kilcornan in west Limerick from 9.30am.
The event is expected to raise thousands of euro for this year’s designated charity.
Catherine Kelly, director of LYS, said: “We’re delighted the Ger McDonnell committee chose LYS and are looking forward to the cycle on July 27.”
The youth service, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will hold a volunteer evening on Friday next, May 24. All volunteers, past and present, are welcome.
Sponsorship cards are available from Limerick Youth Service, 5 Lower Glentworth Street. Participants are asked to raise at least €40 in sponsorship to take part.
The charities over the years have included the Brothers Of Charity, Bee For Battens, the Ger McDonnell Fund in Nepal and the Kerry Mountain Search and Rescue last year.