Clondalkin Marathon Man Mark set for toughest run yet

by Padraig Conlon
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A Clondalkin man is facing his toughest challenge yet in order to raise much-needed funds for a little girl.

Local long-distance running legend Mark Conlon from Bawnogue is set to run the 104-mile Belfast to Dublin ultra-marathon later this month in aid of nine-year-old Freya Doyle from Donaghmede.

Freya Doyle

Freya was born with Ohtahara Syndrome, a very rare form of epilepsy which prevents her from walking, talking, feeding or going to the toilet on her own. Her family are currently trying to raise funds in order to convert their home to cater for Freya’s needs as she urgently requires a bedroom and wetroom downstairs.

They are hoping to raise €40,000 so they can improve little Freya’s quality of life with the refurbishments to their family home.

Mark, who is a vastly experienced marathon runner with over 200 under his belt so far, explained to Dublin Gazette why he’s running for Freya on March 27.

“At six weeks old Freya was having 200-300 seizures a day, her parents Ciara and Greg were told her life expectancy at best could be only two years,” Mark said.

“Freya is fully dependant on others for her daily needs and requires daily medication to keep her seizures at bay. Despite this Freya is now aged 9 and is a happy little girl despite her disabilities.

“Their home is no longer suitable for her complex needs and for her to stay safe and comfortable she now needs to be hoisted as she has gotten too heavy for her parents to carry.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to carry Freya upstairs for washing and near impossible and dangerous getting her out of the bath.

“So I am raising as much funds as I possibly can to have structural work done to their family home.

“The €40,000 target is very achievable so I’m appealing to businesses in the Clondalkin area who would like to help the family reach their target to please donate.

“I’m looking for €250 from each sponsor that wants their logo on my running top or anyone that can help in any way at all.

“I think this will be my toughest ever challenge as I’ve never done over 100 miles before, its going to be very hard but it’ll be worth it if I can raise funds for little princess Freya.

“If any of the Dublin Gazette readers would like to help they can go to make a donation.”

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