A LIMERICKMAN has set himself the challenge of raising €12,000 by running 12 marathons in 12 months.
Patrick Mercie, 49, originally from Belgium but living in Corbally since 1994, is going the distance - some 312 miles in fact - to raise funds for Gorta Self Help Africa.
As a life coach, Patrick said he sees a natural synergy in what he does and the charity’s work, as they both “help people to see opportunities to create a new life for themselves”.
“I am privileged to be able to run marathons at the age of 49 and I want to use that privilege to help create opportunities in Africa for smallholder farmers, tackling hunger and poverty through food production and rural enterprise. What we take for granted seems a far-fetched dream for them and I want to help turn some of their dreams into real opportunities,” he explained.
Patrick’s first run was less than a mile in 2008, but since then he has run 17 marathons in seven years. His first marathon of the year was in Westmeath in January, ran the Lough Derg marathon in February, and this coming Sunday, March 15, he will run the Tralee international marathon. Patrick, who is a self-employed life, personal and motivational coach at Forward 2 Success, has also given up alcohol for the year as part of this challenge, as well as training six days per week, covering around 45 to 50 miles weekly. “It’s not about giving up something - it’s what you gain instead. I’m not missing it; I’m only seeing the benefits,” he said. “If I’m tired I do a 10km, it re-energises me and gives me clarity.”
Speaking in the George Boutique Hotel, where he held a coffee morning to promote his efforts of raising €1,000 per marathon, he said he will run only one marathon outside the country - in Brussels, which will take in the village of Tervuren, where he grew up. “I did six marathons last year to ensure I was ready for this. I love running - it’s a health packet for the mind and body in one go. It’s so meditative and helps clear the mind.”
He is not worried about the potential of suffering injuries, and said the only daunting aspect of the challenge is running two marathons in the space of a week - in Portarlington on July 11, and in Killarney on July 18. His favourite run, he said, is the upcoming Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run on Sunday, May 3, which he regards as “one of the best city runs in the country, now mentioned in the same breath alongside Dublin”. To donate see his ‘my charity’ page online.