Jon Simmons, Canoeing Ireland National Talent Development Coach and Head Junior Club Coach of Salmon Leap Canoe Club, is currently undertaking a monumental 7×7 challenge to raise funds for the Jigsaw Charity.
The challenge consists of seven marathons of 42km per day for seven days in a kayak to help raise awareness and funds for the charity whose mantra is “Young people’s health in mind”. Jigsaw is a mental health support service for young people in Ireland aged 12-25 years old.
When Ireland entered the current Level 5 lockdown, the restrictions meant Simmons could not coach junior athletes.
As a very passionate coach; he loves seeing young athletes develop and enjoying every aspect that sport brings to their lives, being available 24/7 to talk to and listen to them.
However, not everyone is lucky enough to have a coach or friend that they feel they can always talk to, something which provided the motivation for Simmons to help raise awareness and funds for the Jigsaw Charity.
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A double senior Canoe Marathon World Cup Medallist for Great Britain, Summons moved to Ireland in 2014 to pursue his relationship with Irish international sprint and marathon canoeist fiancée Jenny Egan who he also coaches.
When asked why he decided to come up with seven marathons in seven days in a kayak, he said: “I’m hoping that by doing this challenge I will help raise awareness of mental health. My body and mind will be tested during this time and I will have to keep my head strong, there is no doubt I am going to be tested!
“The reason I chose the charity Jigsaw is that it offers support to young minds, which is essential in ‘normal’ times but is now even more crucial with the current mental stress youngsters are going through during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“As I say to my athletes let’s talk, everyone can spare five minutes to share time with loved ones, even if you think they are ok”.
Simmons stated the challenge on Monday with next Sunday set to be the concluding day.
For anyone who would like to keep up to date with his challenge, you can follow him on his Instagram page @jonsimm0ns which will be updated regularly this week.
If you would like to support this challenge and the Jigsaw Charity, visit the site here.