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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Fair play

These two people are running the ENTIRE Wild Atlantic Way for charity

All 2,500km of it.
YOU HAVE TO just keep going forward.

That’s the advice of Lillian Deegan, a long-distance runner in the middle of one of her biggest challenges to date. She and Tom Reynolds are currently running the entire Wild Atlantic Way.

Driving the 2,500km route would be a daunting enough task, but the duo are going above and beyond that.

They hope to raise €10,000 for suicide prevention charity Pieta House and Billy’s World Ireland, a charity looking to build a recreation facility for children with disabilities.

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Lillian and Tom have both run marathons and ultra races before, and a few months ago set their sights on a new challenge.

They started in Derry just over a week ago, and are aiming to complete the route in 30 days altogether.

Lillian had a setback early on, injuring her quad on the second day after a particularly difficult downhill stretch in the Mamore Gap in very bad weather.

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“I love the descent, but it was lashing rain and I mean really. My calves were shot.”

Lillian told she feared the run was over for her almost as soon as it began but, after some rest and a deep tissue massage in Letterkenny, she was back on track and catching up to Tom.

Lillian said she and Tom knew they were unlikely to complete the whole route together as they both need to go at their own pace.

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“We both knew there were going to be days where one of us would be doing better than the other.”

Both have taken time off work to complete the challenge, which she hopes they can finish.

I hope we can both finish it, the risk and likelihood of injury is high. You have to just keep going forward.

A crew of people are following them on the route, making sure they stay safe and have everything they need.

Lillian said people have been very supportive of their efforts, with the communities they’ve passed through so far being very welcoming. Some people haved offered up beds and other help along the way.

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She told us they chose Pieta House and Billy’s World as the charities they would fundraise for because they both do such great work.

Everyone knows someone who has been touched by suicide, there’s never enough funding for that one.

Lillian ran the New York Marathon in 2014 with the founder of Billy’s World to raise money for the charity, which supports the families of children with disabilities and special needs.

You can donate to their fundraiser here. Their progress can be tracked here.

Suicide helplines:
  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email - (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: This Mayo man has walked over 1000km around Ireland barefoot – and he’s not finished yet

Read: ‘I couldn’t just sit and wait for a cure’: How this man is raising funds to research his rare condition

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