Mark Conlon

A Clondalkin man is running 1,000km around Ireland to raise money and awareness for the homeless in Ireland.

Mark Conlon and his friend Noel Ward have already raised €1,300 on their Just Giving page and they hope to raise €30,000 by the time the challenge is finished.

Speaking to The Gazette on Monday, Mark said: “We’re doing 50km a day for 22 days in aid of the Simon Community.

“We started off in Dublin City on Friday, we got a garda escort out of the city.

“We met the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Simon Community were there. Dublin Bus put on a bus for us.”

Mark is an experienced runner with over 100 long distance marathons under his belt and over 10 years’ experience serving in the Irish Army.

Noel is also an experienced ultra-marathon runner who has competed in over 100 marathons ranging from 26 miles to 100 miles in distance and in all terrains.

They have made good progress so far and were hoping to reach Cork by Wednesday.

“We are past Kilkenny now,” said Mark.

“We’ve run all the way up the canal, up past Sallins, up to Athy. We stopped in Athy overnight and then we continued on from there.”

They then plan to run from Cork to Galway before heading to Belfast and back to Dublin.

Mark said that it has been hard going so far, with the two men having to run in the dark for part of the way.

“Last night we didn’t finish up until probably 6.30pm and it was dark,” he said.

“We were running through the mountains on trial last night because it’s safer than the road and then we’ll continue up the road from where we finished up last night.”

In spite of the challenges, Mark said that he is relishing the run in the knowledge that it is all for a good cause.

“I’ve bad blisters now on my feet and the limbs are sore, everything you can think off but it’s worth it,” he said.

“I’ve great passion for this.”

To follow Mark and Noel’s progress please visit their Facebook page Mark & Noel’s Ultra Marathon for the Homeless or visit their Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-Noelsultramarathon?newPage=True

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