Eimear completes mammoth five-day challenge

Eimear completes mammoth five-day challenge

11 September 2019

DESPITE running 52 miles, cycling 80 kilometres, swimming 11kms and rowing 80kms, Loughinisland’s charity hero Eimear Murray was feeling surprisingly pain-free after her five day challenge.

The Gaelic footballer completed her marathon undertaking on Friday, running into the arms of her delighted mother Deirdre, who supported her every step of the way.

Earlier this year Eimear came up with the “crazy idea” of doing five marathon distances in running, cycling, swimming and rowing over five days.

She planned to raise more than £1,000 each for two charities close to her heart — Daisy Lodge in Newcastle and the fund to support little Katie Rose McKeown from Armagh with her fight against cancer.

Eimear started with a running marathon on September 2, and on Friday did another one, starting out at 5am and finishing just before 10.30am.

Club member Jenny McLeigh joined Eimear on her last six miles.

The 23 year-old admitted it was an emotional moment when she clocked up her final last steps.

“I was an emotional wreck at the end as was my mum. It was a long week for the both of us,” said Eimear.

“Afterwards I just needed to stretch, have an ice bath and sleep. My nanny bought me a new pair of pyjamas so that was lovely and helped me relax.”

The nursing student, who had never ran a marathon before last week, said her most gruelling challenge was swimming.

“Swimming was the toughest day for me as there was just no getting away from it and it was quite repetitive as I did 440 lengths of the 25 metre pool in Bangor,” said Eimear.

“There was nothing to distract you like there was with the running, rowing and cycling. I could have gotten out to have a break but I didn’t want to get dry and changed so I would take a break of several minutes and having a banana or cereal bar.

“I was just going back and forth all the time and my body was feeling so tired. I remembered how bad I felt when at 220 lengths, then I realised that I had it all to do again but knew I had to keep going.”

Eimear’s club, Loughinisland GAC, where she plays left back for its senior ladies side, held a fundraising reception in her honour on Friday.

She was surprised that she was feeling fit enough to attend it and also to party into the small hours of Saturday. 

Speaking to the Recorder on Monday, Eimear said: “I am feeling surprisingly quite well, despite nursing a few blisters. I genuinely thought I would hit the wall somewhere in the last marathon. 

“But as I knew there were points along the route, I knew when I could take a break after going up a hill, and this seemed to help me get though it easier that running the same route on Monday.”

Eimear said she did all of her challenges in four to five hours. 

“During the cycling on Tuesday, I took a short break in Ardglass after doing 40kms and then I got back on the bike to do the 40kms back again,” she said.

“The rowing challenge at Brennan’s on the Thursday was my most enjoyable. It was just under five hours but the time just flew in for me as there were loads of people around me.”

While allowing herself a well-earned break from training and the gym for a week or so, Eimear hopes to keep up her fitness for next season.