Go on a virtual run with Ciara to help Children’s Grief Centre

Ciara McCullough in training for her run in aid of the Children’s Grief Centre

A DETERMINED  is organising Ireland’s first inter-county virtual running challenge for this January and February to raise money for the Limerick Children’s Grief Centre.

Gerry Donohoe, who has over 15 years experience with large scale running events, has co-developed an app called Your Virtual Race that will help Tipperary runner Ciara McCullough raise €150,000 for the Children’s Grief Centre.

28-year-old Ciara is going to undertake an enormous task. She plans to run close to 1000 kilometres across Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

And she is asking runners throughout Ireland to join her over an eight week period, starting today, January 7, by running virtually with her.

Her challenge will begin in Derry and finish approximately two months later in Kinsale. She hopes to run an average of 30 kilometres each day.

People of all running levels can register on RunwithCiara.com or  YourVirtualRace.com to run with Ciara and choose the county they want to run with.

The cost is €25 and thousands of people throughout the country and the Irish diaspora are expected to Run with Ciara.

The idea is that each person will go out running during the same eight weeks as Ciara and as they run in real-time their distance will be added to the live leader board within their county.

Ciara,  from Ballinahinch, knows grief only too well having lost her father when she was a young child and recognises that if the Children’s Grief Centre was in existence when she was going through such a dark period, that she would have most certainly availed of its services.

“Losing my Dad at a very young age, I cannot help but think how different my life would have been if there was somewhere like the Children’s Grief Centre, a place that allows you to speak about grief,” she said.

Ciara, who has had mental health struggles in the past, isn’t a serious runner by any means, but she runs regularly to keep herself on top of her physical and mental health and it’s literally been a lifesaver for her.

“In October 2018, I was stuck in a rut as I had fallen into a negative mindset and my inner chatter overpowered me again. I was so overwhelmed with all my emotions that that I became paralysed and couldn’t do anything to make the situation better.”

Ciara had three suicide attempts between the ages of 19 and 22.

“One of the most amazing pieces of information I learnt is that even though I think I am worthless or feel not good enough, I still have the choice to act.

“So, I decided to run. I ran every day, even though I felt like crap. I ran to escape my mind. Every day I felt a little more at ease and with every step, I gained a little more clarity,” she said.

To register, go to runwithciara.com where the option to register a school is also available.

Anyone who can’t run but would like to donate can do so on the https://beyonddefeat.ie/donate/ website.