Archive: January 2010

32 Marathon Challenge: Two Runners to Complete 32 Marathons Across Every County in Ireland in 32 Days - and They're Inviting Others to Join Them!

14 January 2010
Gerry Duffy and Keith Whitelaw put their feet up in anticipation before the big 32 Marathons Challenge.

Could you run over 800 miles in a month and a day? That’s the ambitious challenge facing long distance runners Gerry Duffy and Ken Whitelaw next July and August as they aim to run 32 marathons in 32 consecutive days across the 32 counties of Ireland to raise money for autism charities Autism NI and Irish Autism Action.

Runner Gerry Duffy, who came up with the idea, said: The challenge will be tough but myself and Ken are ready to take it on. This is a great cause and we are determined to succeed and raise as much money as possible for Autism NI and Irish Autism Action. It is an amazing opportunity to run a marathon or a half marathon in your home county so we’re encouraging people to come along and run with us in their local area.

A number of high profile celebrities have come on board to lend their support including Dame Mary Peters, actor and Boyzone member Keith Duffy and singer Brian Kennedy, who have all said they will join Gerry and Ken by running some miles with them along the way. Former Miss Northern Ireland Judith Wilson has also recently signed up to run the Fermanagh leg of the challenge.

Brian Kennedy commented: I think in this day and age most of our lives are touched by autism in some way, we all either know someone or are related to someone. My own case is that my nephew has a version of Asbergers, so even though it’s a milder form it still touches our lives in so many different ways. So to think I’m just going to work up a sweat for 26 miles, it might just make a little difference to someone out there around Ireland, I’m proud to be part of it and look forward to the actual day.

The challenge will come to the 6 counties of Northern Ireland from 22nd July right through until 27th July, giving local people the chance to do their bit for Autism NI. Gerry and Ken want to be joined by 32 different runners each day as they run around Ireland and Northern Ireland. For those that don't feel up to the full 26.2 miles, there'll be a half marathon option each day. A runner who signs up for a full marathon is asked to raise £1,000 whereas a runner tackling the half marathon distance is asked to raise £600.

Arlene Cassidy, Chief Executive Officer for Autism NI said: As Northern Ireland’s Autism Charity we are delighted to be involved in opening up this unique challenge to our six counties in order to raise funds for the fastest rising disability in Northern Ireland.  The numbers of people with Autism have increased 400% in the past five years and over 20,000 individuals are now affected by this hidden disability within Northern Ireland, which now outstrips the total number of individuals with Down’s Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease within our community.  Therefore I hope this event will catch the imagination and enthusiasm of everyone within Northern Ireland so that through their participation in this exciting challenge, they will help Autism NI to continue to provide a Helpline and Advocacy service for those families affected by Autism.

For those interested in registering for the challenge, log on to for more information on the event as well as training plans and tips, FAQ’s and more.

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17 January 2010



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07 January 2010

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