Donegal cyclists complete Mizen Head to Malin Head in less than 24 hours

Four Donegal men, two from Inishowen, have cycled the iconic Mizen Head to Malin Head route in a phenomenal 22 hours and 37 minutes.

The incredible feat was undertaken on Saturday and Sunday last and completed by Robert Kavanagh, Patrick Mornin, (both from Letterkenny) and Cathal Wilson and Chris Doherty(Shivey), both from Buncrana.

They left Mizen Head at 10.50am on Saturday morning and arrived in Malin Head to many cheers and applause from family and friends at 9.27am on Sunday morning, after completing a route of 584 kms.

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Speaking to the Journal, Robert told how he and Cathal had cycled Mizen Head to Malin Head in 2017 for charity and the other two men decided they’d like to ‘give it a go - for a bit of madness, if nothing else!” So, all four decided they’d take it on.

Cathal Wilson, Chris Shivey, Patrick Mornin and Robert Kavanagh at Malin Head.

They were supported on the route by Wesley Moor, Leslie O’Donnell, Gabriel Duffy, Michael Graham and Rory Duignan and Patrick told how they ‘could not have completed it without them.’

The cycle was essentially non-stop, apart from 15 minute breaks every 90km. The men cycled in unseasonable weather, with heavy rain and lower than usual temperatures.

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“The first three breaks went pretty much to schedule,’ admitted Robert, ‘but with the second three, the wheels had come of a bit and, due the bad weather, we had to change out clothes etc. But we are really, really happy with our time. When myself and Cathal did it previously, we completed it in 22 hours and 50 and were trying to break that. We completed it in 22 hours and 37 and we were really happy with that - especially when the weather was against us.”

Robert explained how each of the men had completed substantial training before they embarked on the challenge and had taken part in other long-cycle events.

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The men with their support team.

“We’ve all done longer events solo over the last number of years, so we were all well-prepared, experience wise.”

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Robert described how the ‘best part’ of the entire cycle was cycling the last section at Malin Head and seeing family and friends there cheering them on.

“It was a great feeling to know that you completed it.”

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The worst part, he added, was cycling through the night in the early hours of the morning, ‘when everyone else was in their bed with the duvet pulled around them!’

He paid tribute to their support crew, who, he said, were with them the whole way.

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“I suppose it’s a cliche, but there’s no question about it, we wouldn’t have completed it without them. The four lads were driving all night. We wanted to do the challenge but they gave up their time to help us. They got us sorted with meals, they had chairs for us to sit down on the break and they even dressed us when we were soaked through and had pins and needles and couldn’t even zip up our tops. We owe them a huge thanks. What they did for us was beyond the call of duty.” He added how they also received great support from their families and friends, who were sending them messages to boost and cheered them on as they entered Malin Head. Each of the men is now able to say that they’ve completed the route - this is Robert’s fifth time doing it - and he told how cycling itself is a great way of ‘clearing your head.’ He encouraged everyone to take up some exercise- although maybe don’t think about taking on Mizen Head to Malin Head just yet.“We did the cycle before for Jigsaw Donegal, which supports mental health and cycling- any form of exercise- is great for getting out there and clearing your head, I’m not telling people to go out and cycle Mizen Head to Malin Head, but any form of exercise is positive.”