An inventive and challenging charity running event by Martinique-born runner Wilfrid Palcy is coming to Dublin, as the athlete looks to complete a half marathon every other day for 120 days all over Europe, raising money along the way.
Palcy is dropping in on 60 different European cities, including Dublin and Cork, to run in the company of locals. For each event, the runner produces a run map, and takes off at a pace to suit those who will join him, while locals are able to nominate a charity for any donations given in relation to the run. It is free to take part with Wilfrid.
The 1260km feat follows on from Palcy’s 2016 challenge, which saw him run a half-marathon every week around the world for the entire year, with stops in five continents and dozens of countries ranging from Kazakhstan and Japan to Switzerland and Jamaica. He starts and finishes this year’s challenge with his home city of Paris.
“I started to run seriously in 2010 for my first marathon in Paris, and I got hooked,” he tells us. “My first half marathon was in 2002 in Paris, but I did almost nothing in between.”
“It’s been a roller coaster so far. I sometimes have lots of interest, with many runners happy to run with me. For example, around 20 people in Madrid, Thessaloniki and Malta. Sometimes I am desperately alone, like in Kosice in Slovakia. Weekends work better than week days for sure.”
“Physically I’m alright. Although every week I have a new pain coming and leaving. Last week my left achilles heel seem to be inflamed and I was in pain for 48 hours. I used a cream to heal the pain hoping I wouldn’t get too injured while running despite the problem. Surprisingly when the pain disappeared it was replaced by the same problem on my right achilles heel.”
“This type of traveling is extremely difficult. I thought I was well traveled however I had been challenged in various occasions, in particular while using trains in Bulgaria and Romania. For instance, once at 5am I showed up at Bucharest train station hoping to buy a train ticket that I had seen online, however the website wasn’t up to date and the next train was 4 hours later.”
The event is a personal challenge, but also has goals in terms of charitable help and connection with people around Europe.
“Last summer I saw a map of European capital of culture on Wikipedia. I thought it would be a good idea to connect those dots and to explore more of these cities. It took me 6 months to organise everything and to structure my professional and personal life around it,” he says.
“I hope to inspire many people to go for their dreams and passions. As a corporate coach I also wants to entertain my customers by telling them unique true stories about self accomplishment. Lastly, I hope that all charities – Pieta House in Ireland – will be successful in their important goals.”
“One run stands out. At the beginning on just race number six of sixty, I got a severe cold. One that put me in bed. I was so sick that ran only 10kms and went back to bed. On others runs I added more kilometers to get those 11 missing kms back. I’m on track now, but back then I almost quit.”
The Dublin edition of the 1000km challenge is race number 55 of 60, and will take place on the evening of June 19th, departing from near the southern end of North Bull Island, heading for the city centre, and then back. Anyone is welcome to join in. Contact Will on the Dublin leg of this challenge through his Facebook page, Running1000plus.