Running For Reachout

This is an interview I did with Oliver Clare, a friend of mine, who is attempting to run every marathon in Ireland this year in a bid to raise awareness about Mental Health issues in Ireland. Oliver is a graduate of ‘Economics, Politics and Law’ from Dublin City University and is currently studying to be a qualified accountant! All accountants are boring old farts,” I hear you say! Think again friends, think again!

Oliver Clare; Not your average accountant!

Tell me a little about your “Running for Reachout” challenge and what is involved. 

The “Running for Reach Out” challenge is an idea which some might say is slightly barmy … basically I’m going to attempt to run and finish every marathon being held in Ireland this year. This is in aid of a very worthy cause indeed. Reachout.com is a service which is run by the Inspire Ireland Foundation, a non-profit charity organization doing great work in the area of youth mental health.

When I was originally discussing the idea with the guys at the Reach Out offices, we thought this might mean 13 marathons. Then that was revised up to 18. Now the most recent ‘guesstimate’ is somewhere in the early 20s. Originally the itinerary ran from the Connemarathon on April 1st to the Dublin Marathon on October 29th. Now it goes from the start of the West of Ireland series on Saturday to Clonakilty next December – a good stretch of the legs you might say! If I can’t run a particular marathon due to injury or a timetabling clash (for instance the Carlow-Kilkenny marathon is taking place at the exact same time/date as the cow-costume themed Donegal Mooathon (editors not: Ollie gets to run a marathon dressed like a cow, anyone waat to be his hind legs?!), and there’s no way I’m missing that!, then I’ll do a solo run of the course I miss at a later date.

As for what else is involved, it boils down to training for five days a week, fundraising, blogging and social media, dieting, massages, ice baths, and incessantly badgering my friends to give me tips on all of the above (with the obvious exception of the ice baths, which tend to be to be relatively straightforward…)

Why are you running for Reach Out?

I feel it is very important to highlight the challenges that young people in Ireland face. Mental health is something that is often not spoken about at all, or when it is, there is still a strong stigma attached to it. Mental health issues affect everyone at some stage in their lives; I feel it is vital that there is support out there for young people, specifically so that they do not go through their 20s and 30s carrying this burden. As soon as these issues present themselves, they should be treated head on – ReachOut.com is a service dedicated to providing quality assured mental health information for young people and highlights inspiring real life stories by young people to help other young people get through tough times.

Have you ever run a marathon before? If not, why now?

Ask me again a week from now! I’ve never exactly been a couch-potato; I’ve been a bit of gym rat since I was 18 and have been playing Gaelic football with Lannleire GFC in Co. Louth a lot longer than that. But this is completely different to anything I’ve ever done before; the sum total of my experience in long-distance running is comprised of the Bohermeen half-marathon from last week, a 26.2 mile practice run back in December (standard full marathon length) and a hell of a lot of training in between. I still wasn’t quite ready for the full run back in December and I still have ‘fond’ memories of walking sideways down the stairs for three days afterwards!! I even devoted a whole post to that particular experience! But now I feel a lot better prepared; my first ‘official’ marathon will be part of the West of Ireland series and will take place next Saturday in Galway.

You setup a blog to promote and share your year of marathons, how is that going? 

It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Those of us who are working in the accountancy profession aren’t exactly renowned for our creative writing skills, but I’m trying hard to buck that trend. I spent a large chunk of the last few weeks setting up the Facebook, Flickr and Twitter pages, and I haven’t exactly figured out the ins and outs of the blogosphere yet but I am genuinely buzzed about it. For the most part, my blog is a fairly light-hearted look at the training and all that goes with it. At this stage, I’m really starting to enjoy my writing. Last week for instance, I had a very weird encounter with a massage therapist and afterwards the first thing that popped into my head was ‘Well at least I have plenty of material for a new blog post!” I guess that’s how you know you’re becoming a blogger! Also, I’m really just a big geek and there are enough nuts and bolts in the back-ends of these pages to keep me busy for ages!

You ran your first half-marathon at the weekend, how did you find it? 

The actual run itself wasn’t that bad, but for two days afterwards I didn’t want to do anything but sleep and eat everything in sight; I had carb-cravings like you wouldn’t believe! Towards the end of the run, my legs were starting to get a bit heavy but it was nowhere near as hard as the 26 mile run marathon back in December. Except for two brief stops for water, I managed to finish without walk breaks and ended up with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 34 seconds. I was happy enough with that!

How can people support your challenge? 

People can show their support in any number of ways. The target amount I’m trying to raise is €5,000 and for anyone who’d like to donate, there’s a mycharity.ie page where they can do so online. I also carry a ReachOut sponsorship card around with me in case anyone just feels like giving me money! If people would like to get involved in other ways, following and sharing my stuff is always helpful!

Think this sounds like a great cause and a great challenge? Go check out, follow, like or share Oliver’s blog here! Support this great guy, support this great cause! 🙂


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