The 54321 Challenge Year Number 8 Completed
The 54321 Challenge which started 8 years ago with a team of 5 People over 4 DAYS, completing 3 CYCLES, and climbing 2 MOUNTAINS for 1 Cause – a local charity.
The Challenge had grown in numbers over the years, and this year was to be no different with a large number of participants ready to undertake the challenge. However due to the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and the corresponding lockdown, and health & safety recommendations from the HSA around large groups of people, the 54321 Challenge committee made the tough decision that all 50 participants could not complete this years Challenge. The 54321 Challenges top priority was to ensure the safety of its participants and in the current climate, this extended to their families, neighbours, friends etc. So Instead the decision was made that the Challenge would revert to the original 7 participants undertaking the 4-day challenge, which took place from Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd of August 2020 inclusive.
This was to include the following.
- Day 1 (Thursday 20th) – Cycle the Ring of Kerry.
- Day 2 (Friday 21st) – Climb Carrauntohill.
- Day 3 (Saturday 22nd) – Cycle from Killarney to the foot of Mount Brandon and then climb Mt Brandon
- Day 4 (Sunday 23rd) – Cycle from Dingle to Killarney.
However, Storm Ellen had different ideas on this as it hit on Thursday the 20th August, the participants were faced with the dilemma what do we do with this. A Zoom call was had and the team decided that Day No 1 would now become Day No 4, so all the participants in varying locations cycled 70 km on rollers and spinning bikes. Day No 1/4 done, now onto day 2 and the weather still was not on the teams side to climb Carrauntohill, so another Zoom call later and the decision was taken to cycle the Ring of Kerry 180km on spinning bikes at the Kerry Sports Academy at ITTralee, I can safely say an experience not to be repeated too often give us the open road anyway. Nevertheless, it was all done with smile on face and the attitude of the day are not we so lucky to be able to do this. Day 3 saw us get back on schedule and climbing mount Brandon was on the cards and we did so despite strong winds and the odd heavy shower, the heads were up and the singing voices were on and a massive thanks to our Guide Seamus Begley on the day who knows the mountain like the back of his hand. On Day 4, we got to do Day 2 and climb Carrauntohill and finally the sun cream had to come out as the sun shone down on us, and again many thanks to our guide on the day Donal Cronin.
The 54321 Challenge 2020 raised €34,768.97. This year’s selected charities are Skellig Stars (Group of children and adult athletes with special needs); The Kerry Hospice and Enable Ireland Kerry.
A major contributor to this year’s fundraising efforts were a number of Spinathon Days where this year`s participants, volunteers from the various causes, family and friends took the streets in different locations around the county on spinning bikes. These events took place in Cahirciveen, Killorglin, Listowel, Dingle, Killarney and finally in Tralee. Thanks to everyone who made these Spinathons possible, to all the volunteers, and thanks to all the members of the public who gave their support and generous donations, and finally yet importantly thanks to An Garda Síochána and especially James Foley for his help with the organisation of the Spinathons.
This brings the total raised to date €241,352.00 supporting a number of very deserving Kerry Charities over the years.
On behalf of the Skellig Stars, The Kerry Hospice and Enable Ireland and the 54321 Challenge team we would like to say thank you to all those who have sponsored and supported us along the way. The 54321 Charity Champions Caroline Danaher (Enable Ireland), Catherine Foley (Kerry Hospice) and Mark Murphy (Skelligs Stars) and Carole Moran on behalf of 54321 Challenge Committee came back together again on Saturday 17th October at Ross Castle to present the cheque to this year’s selected charities. The other participants Noreen Sheahan, Martin McCarthy and TJ O Connor were with them in spirit, but in the interest of safety and to reduce numbers celebrated this year success at home.
TJ O Connor added: “If this year has taught us anything, it is to be thankful for what we have, our health is our wealth, and the power of people working together can get us through some of the most difficult situations. We are so glad that we went ahead with the 54321 Challenge 2020 and that the monies raised will provide some comfort to those availing of the services offered by this year causes.”
Stay Safe and Well.
ABOUT THE CHARITIES CHOSEN THIS YEAR
Skellig Stars Special Olympic Club is a group of children and adult athletes with special needs who train on a weekly basis throughout the school year, training for fun and to take part in the Ireland games. The Skellig Stars annually visit all the clubs in Kerry for a fun day. They also host their own fun sports day in Cahirciveen. Skellig Stars provides children and adults of all ages with an important physical outlet through athletics and basketball games. Currently there are approx. 25 athletes ranging in age from 6 to 62 years old.
Skellig Stars are fund-raising to upgrade their facilitates to install an eight lane running track for the athletes to practice and train on. The club currently uses the sports hall in the local secondary school, Colaiste na Sceilge to train indoors. A proper track is important for the athletes to train on as it would allow them to practice on the surface they will compete on.
The Kerry Hospice Foundation
The Kerry Hospice Foundation (KHF) is a voluntary organisation to help provide funding and support for palliative care services in Kerry. The core idea is still as important now as the day, in 1990, when the organisation was founded. The voluntary part of our organisation is very important to us, as well as a source of great pride. No member of KHF is paid for any of their work, time, effort or any costs incurred while helping the charity. The Foundation exists only to deliver on services delivered in Kerry. All money raised in the county is spent locally.
Enable Ireland Kerry
Kerry Intervention & Disability Services is a partnership between the HSE, Enable Ireland, Brothers of Charity, and St. John of Gods. It provides services to children and young people with complex needs.