Castlewellan mum running 12 marathons in 12 months

Castlewellan mum running 12 marathons in 12 months

17 February 2021

A MURLOUGH AC runner is to take on the daunting challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months in aid of Air Ambulance NI.

Laura Brennan says she is going to take on the huge athletic challenge given that the Air Ambulance provides such a vital service.

The Air Ambulance relies on donations, but has been hard as lockdown restrictions have reduced fund-raising activities.

“We need to sustain this service and we all need to support it in any way we can so they can continue their lifesaving work,” she said.

“Covid-19 has had a massive impact on charity fundraising events and hundreds of events have been cancelled or postponed. I am now going to do my bit and hope to raise some much-needed funding for Air Ambulance NI.”

Laura, from Castlewellan, who has four children aged six, four, two and one, said she has been spurred on to help during these times because she wants to be able to make a difference.

She has been used to taking on such challenges before, but admits this one is probably the biggest of the lot.

“I’ve done similar things in the past, but this time I just wanted to push on a little further. When I saw events like the Belfast and Dublin marathons being cancelled, I had to think a little bit more outside the box.”

Laura has already completed two of her marathons, including one last Thursday on her 35th birthday.

”I probably didn’t fully appreciate how big a challenge it all is,” she admitted. “I started my first marathon on January 16 and completed it in five hours and ten minutes. I hadn’t really trained properly, I was taking part in things with Murlough, but a marathon is a big step-up. It was tough on the legs.

“For February’s challenge the weather conditions were really tough. The wind was just terrible, but I managed that in four hours and 53 minutes.” 

For many the thought of completing these challenges would be tough enough. But to then have to do them in this age of coronavirus-enforced restrictions, and largely alone, would be even tougher.

However, says the solitude helped: “I have to say I preferred being alone on the run. It becomes just you and a mental battle as much as a physical one.

“You can’t go out there thinking about running 26 miles. You break it down into sections, or even down to Newcastle, or Castlewellan or wherever it may be.”

One thing that continues to spur her on is the fact she knows she is supporting the vital work of the Air Ambulance.

”I wanted to help Air Ambulance because when you look at the Newry, Mourne and Down area, it is an area where the call-outs are high. We really do need it here and we need to support the work it does.

“Preparing for this challenge lockdown actually helped. The running and the training have been something to focus on. You do miss the club camaraderie and it is difficult not having races to prepare for.

“I have noticed however though that there has been a massive increase in the numbers out running for the past number of months. With most team sports gone, it has almost been a natural thing for people to gravitate towards. 

“It is also helping people massively in terms of their mental health. It is a positive way for them to deal with the situation they find themselves in.”

During 2020, the Air Ambulance responded to 124 incidents in Newry, Mourne and Down. It costs £2 million per year to run the service and Laura says she wants to do her bit to ensure it is always there for the people of the area.