Last Friday I headed for Inis Mor, which was my 8th time making this trip. I had managed to gain monetary support from many of my business colleagues, friends and contacts.
I had a purpose you see, to support the wonderful work done by all at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, to meet again all the many friends I have made over these years and to run 13 miles across the hills of the main Aran Island.
This year my funding target was set at €650 and with the support of many I actually had lodged €1,150 by the time I was heading for Inverin Airport. The whole event marked the 10th time Aer Arann had generously supported Temple Street and the unimaginable good they do each day.
Ahead of me was a 10 minute flight from Inverin to Inis Mor, a greeting on the island by Angi Mc Nulty the lady behind all of this for the hospital, touch down in the Bed and Breakfast that would look after me for the 2 night stay and seeking out a bicycle to explore the island for the afternoon.
The tranquillity here is amazing and you can really chill out before the mayhem begins.
Come Friday evening its meet and greet all the friends you haven’t seen for 12 months and catch up on how everyone has been doing during the year. Then we headed into the specially constructed marquee for a buffet feast of hot and cold food.
Friday tends to be a night of best behaviour and early to bed given the task in the morning. We all struggle between wanting to party and not doing so given the journey a few hours later so eventually all head to bed at pretty decent hours to get some rest for the task ahead.
Following an early but hearty fried breakfast on Saturday morning we make our way on the buses over to the Airport for the start. Walkers head off about 30 mins before the runners and we all converge at different intervals along the route. There is a huge buzz along the way, lots of support and the long trek through Aran is made a little easier by the knowledge of the support available should you need it.
If you have not been Inis Mor is a spectacular place especially when the sun shines and it always does at this gig. I always try to take in the beauty around me albeit a struggle at certain intervals.
This year a fanfare of music greeted us at the finish in Kilronan the main town on the island and from the moment the medal is placed around your neck to mark your achievement the party starts and it goes on for quite a while.
Stories of trial and tribulation abound, the work and support offered by Temple Street to parents and families of sick children is truly amazing. This is a unique event supporting a unique institution and the reason I return each year.
The party continues until the wee hours with lots of celebration for what has been achieved but a true sense of genuine appreciation for just doing some plain old good stuff.
On Sunday we all wait in the Airport for our transfer to the mainland and head back to all corners of Ireland with a huge feeling of achievement and satisfaction. But a continuing massive appreciation for the power to be able bodied enough to take part in yet another test of endurance.
This experience again makes you feel good to be alive and to be healthy and at the end of the day is what life is all about. Well done to all on Inis Mor. Well done to Aer Arann and Padraig O Ceidigh for supporting this each year and a continued well done to all the amazing people at Temple Street. I hope I get there for many a year to come.
Karl Daly – Metis Ireland Director