Cathal’s marathon effort for charity

Signing up to a marathon isn’t a decision to be made lightly, but for Dungiven man Cathal Grieve the thought of running 26.2 miles isn’t that big of a deal.

After walking away from an accident in the Foreglen virtually injury-free at the start of the year, the soon-to-be 25-year-old says he decided there and then he’d better do something before his time was up!

The frankly spoken Dungiven man admits (prior to his training started) he was not a runner. In fact, he is quite serious when he says the most athletic thing he has probably ever done is fishing.

As for his general health, he used to smoke 15 to 20 cigarettes a day. His motto is, however, “if you’re going to do something there is no point in doing it in half measures”.

Being a man of his word, Cathal says the nicotine fix has gone with ease, and it’s on with the trainers.

So why a marathon?

“Between some personal things and the accident I decided I’d better do something before my time was up,” he joked. “About three weeks ago I saw a Children in Crossfire leaflet and I decided I’d run the New York City marathon. The last time I ran was probably at school, but I’ve started the training and it’s going well. The first few days were tough, but I’m fine now.”

When the news spread Cathal was taking on the Big Apple run on November 4, the reaction was: “‘Are you wise?’ Most people just laughed, but I think if you are going to do something you may as well do it right. My family have been great, and are totally supportive. To be honest, it doesn’t daunt me at all and the more people say you can’t do something the more determined I am!”

In preparation for the marathon Cathal is clocking up plenty of miles on the hilly roads around Dungiven.

“If you can run around there you can run around New York,” he says. “For now I’ve no time in mind for the marathon. I’ll just run at my own speed, but I’m sure nearer the time I will have a goal.”

To run the marathon, Cathal must raise £3,800, although he is setting a goal of £4,000. To get the ball rolling he has put in £200 of his own money and hopes to raise the remainder through charity nights locally, including entertainment nights using local DJs.

He knows times are tough, but is hoping the generous people around Dungiven and Limavady will help him reach his goal.

“Every little helps,” he says. “I will be leaving sponsor forms in all the shops around the Dungiven area this week and I will be holding a few nights in Dungiven town and other areas over the coming months,” he says. “The money I raise will be going towards disabled children and children with cancer in Tanzania, Ethiopia and The Gambia. As they don’t get the same health care as us they need every bit of help they can get. Hopefully you can help.”

To donate, go online to

If you would like to help Cathal fundraise, or have ideas as to how he can raise money e-mail him at