Dungiven man Seamus Harkin had his fair share of running when he played soccer for Dungiven Celtic, but after breaking his leg a few years ago his skills on the field were never quite the same.
Anxious to stay fit, he decided to put the miles in running on the road, which suited him, and is just as well seeing as he has signed up for the Belfast marathon in May to raise funds for Naíscoil Neachtain in Dungiven.
The 33-year-old’s son attends the nursery, as did his other children, and he is chairman of the committee. He says all the parents undertake various fund raising activities throughout the year and the marathon is the big one for him in 2012.
A month into his training, and a regular sight on the Foreglen and Glenshane Roads with his high visibility vest, and Seamus says so far it’s going well.
“I did 12 miles last Sunday, out to the Foreglen and back, and it felt really good and I’ll be doing 16 miles this Sunday,” he said. “Running really clears the head. It’s great to get out after work and after a run I always feel better!”
One of the best things to come out of the charity challenge for Seamus is losing half a stone in weight.
“I’ve started to really think about what I’m eating. Before, on a Friday night I’d of had a chippy, but I don’t now because I know I’m running the next day. Instead of going into the shop and buying crisps or chocolate, I’m buying fruit for the first time in my life!”
Seamus wants to raise as much money as possible to go towards Naíscoil Neachtain and help the children get as good an education as they possibly can. If he could raise around £2,000 he would be chuffed, but says he will be happy with whatever people can afford.
“It doesn’t matter what it is or when, but Dungiven is always very good and supportive.”
As for how long it will take him to complete the 26.2 miles, Seamus says he’s eyeing 4 hours 15 minutes, but admits as long as he crosses the finish line on May 7th in one piece and hands over a cheque to the Naíscoil he”ll be happy. He’s also hoping to have some of the children from the nursery cheer him on as he completes the marathon.
To sponsor Seamus for Naíscoil Neachtain, which has also organised a charity one-day golf tournament on Match 3 at the Roe Park Resort in Limavady, call 028 77740472.