Runners urged to raise funds for Focus Ireland in Great Limerick Run

A RUGBY legend and a super slimmer have teamed up to urge people to take part in the Great Limerick Run to raise funds for a homeless charity.

A RUGBY legend and a super slimmer have teamed up to urge people to take part in the Great Limerick Run to raise funds for a homeless charity.

Weight loss hero Gary Kirwan and Peter Clohessy of Irish rugby fame are backing Focus Ireland’s plea for people to take to the streets of Limerick for the run on Sunday, May 6.

Focus Ireland Limerick has developed its own fundraiser as part of this event - The 50:5000 challenge - to raise €5,000 for the local housing and homeless charity.

It’s based on the principle that if 50 people take part in the run for the charity and raise €100 each in sponsorship, they could raise €5,000.

Last year Mr Kirwan weighed 41 stone and three pounds and was classed as morbidly obese.

However, he has lost an incredible 13 stone and after completing the Dublin City Marathon in 10 hours and 46 minutes, he will now be taking part in the Great Limerick Run ‘walkers’ marathon’ for Focus Ireland.

He is also now on course to take part in the Marathon des Sables next year; he will have to complete five and a half marathons in five consecutive days in the Sahara desert.

With temperatures in excess of forty degrees, it’s described as one of the toughest races in the world, but the Corbally man remains undeterred in his challenge.

“Focus Ireland is a very worthy cause supporting more than 100 households here in Limerick every month, but they need your help to do this,” he said. “I can’t speak highly enough of the benefit of exercise and how good you will feel making the effort – be it walking or running. I have surprised myself with the incredible results of my training and so I hope this will encourage other people to sign up. I believe that anybody can complete a marathon if they commit the time and effort to training and I know if I can do it anybody can.”

Meanwhile, Irish rugby legend Peter Clohessy was also on hand to officially launch the challenge. “Last year, the Great Limerick Run saw over 6,500 participants take part in a brilliant day out and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. There’s something for all fitness levels with three events including a fully certified marathon, a half marathon and a six mile event.”

Triona O’Connor, project leader for Focus Ireland Limerick, said they have 48 households in Limerick, provide temporary accommodation to 14 single households along with associated services and providing support and settlement services to 27 households. The charitable organisation also provides an advice and information services, with a prison in reach programme, to directly prevent people from becoming homeless. Over 4,000 have now entered to take part in the Great Limerick Run, but this year’s event is capped at 8,000 people and the organisers are urging people to book early to avoid disappointment.

Dozens of other local charities are also appealing for assistance, as the entry costs of the race do not go to any charities.

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