THE GREAT Limerick Run was his longest run to date, but an adventurer who has lost the use of his legs is hoping to reclaim his thirst for challenge and adventure.
Michal Baran, a father of a six year-old son, was training for a marathon when a biking accident in October 2011 during the Killarney Adventure Race left him paralysed from the chest down.
During the second stage of the triathlon, Michal was flung from his bicycle over the ditch, and hit his head in a stream. He has no memory of what happened after being thrown from his bike.
Now, he is appealing to people to help him realise his ambitions in sport. While the injury has been devastating, the Polish native plans to cycle the Camino Way in France, hike Mount Etna in Sicily and eventually race the whole way - 2000km - around Ireland.
He is currently raising money for a mountain handbike, which will cost €8,000, to allow him to pursue his love of mountain climbing. He has raised nearly €4000 as a result of 130 donations, through the site www.gofundme.com/-back-on-mountains, where he has posted a video of his former glories, including taking part in the first GLR event, and talks of his future hopes.
“For sure I’ll remember my run at the Great Limerick Run as it was my first half-marathon, the longest distance in my life. Unforgettable,” said the 33 year-old, who now lives in Navan, Co Meath.
Killarney was to be his first but hopefully not his last adventure race, he said. “I am keeping myself positive. It’s getting better each day, week and month,” said Michal, who forked as a fork-lift driver in Shannon for five years.
“I made this video to raise money for a mountain handbike which is very expensive and saving money all by myself would take me years. I strongly believe that every single donation, no matter how small, will help me raise the money for such an equipment and I will be able to get back on tracks which are not accessible for me now.”
Michal’s inspiring story is one of a number to emerge as the Great Limerick Run approaches on the May bank holiday weekend. While it is 16 weeks away, the first relay marathon - which can accommodate up to four people per team - is expected to be the first event to sell out. Some 1,000 children are also expected to take part in the Kids Dash on the Saturday, a day before the main event on May 5, when some 10,000 people will take part in the 10km, half marathon, full marathon and relay marathon. Some 44 relay teams have already signed up.