Cork man Kevin Donovan is nearing the halfway point in his ambitious challenge to complete a race in each of Ireland’s 32 counties in 2017, all in aid of two charities – the Cork Deaf Association and the Irish Deaf Society.
Kevin, who grew up in Castlelyons, began his challenge on January 1st with the Bandon 5 Mile race and completed his 14th race, the TQ10km in Antrim, last Sunday.
Next up for Kevin is a trip to Offaly for the Edenderry 10 Mile race on Monday, before two races in two days the following weekend in Longford and Armagh.
The final race, Run with Catherina 5km in Cavan, is pencilled in for October 1st.
This week Kevin told The Avondhu of his enjoyment taking part in the respective races and the ongoing logistical difficulties in running all around the country.
“I’ve actually enjoyed doing the races, it’s amazing when you have one race after the other that they don’t be long coming around. It was a challenge in itself to organise all 32 and see how one could fit them into the year, but to be honest I’m really thrilled with how it’s going so far. The organising is the challenging part of it, really.
“I enjoy the races but it’s the organising of stuff like where will I stay, how long will it take to get to the race, do I need to travel there the day before or anything like that, so it’s takes an awful lot of organising to get everything lined up!”
Recovery wise, Kevin said limiting the amount of exercise he does between races is key, particularly when there are multiple races in a short space of time.
“What I try to focus on where possible is recovery itself because from what I’ve learned, your muscles improve a lot if you’ve had sufficient recovery time, so I wouldn’t do a lot of runs between the races if they’re one after the other. I’d also go for a chirotherapy session, it just speeds up the recovery and you feel a lot better with yourself. I try to go for the odd sports massage as well, just to make sure the muscles are in good order,” he said.
Kevin added that the support he has been receiving from race organisers and fellow race participants, along with members of the public, has been hugely positive and encouraging.
The idea to take on such an ambitious challenge came about last year, and Kevin explained his reasons for supporting two deaf charities in the process.
“The challenge in the first place came about because I usually look out for what three or four races I’ll go for in a year. Then I saw that a few people last year were doing their version of the 32 county challenge so I said I’ll check it out myself and as it’s such a big challenge I decided to do it for a charity.
“The reason why I selected the Cork Deaf Association and the Irish Deaf Society is because when I was young I had a Specific Speech Disorder, this when I was about our or five years old. It took a while for my parents to find the right palce for the right amount of help. I ended up in a school for the deaf in Douglas and the principal and staff were great in that they got my speech going and they really helped me out during my primary school days.
“As well, I got along very well with my deaf friends so I felt my doing this for these two charities is giving something back after the help I received. You don’t hear much of the deaf community so it’s also about bringing up the awareness as well,” Kevin said.