Time to lace up for Mena’s charity run

Smiles and waves for the camera as a sea of walkers set off for Menas fun run/walkin Dungiven last year. INLV3012-154KDR (file pi)
Smiles and waves for the camera as a sea of walkers set off for Menas fun run/walkin Dungiven last year. INLV3012-154KDR (file pi)

When a charity fun run and walk took place in Dungiven last year in memory of the town’s much loved Mena Boyle, the community turned out in force to show their support.

Mena, who was 52 when she sadly passed away after illness, had played a key role in regenerating traditional music and culture in Dungiven over the past decade and was widely known for her passion for music and culture, and contributing to her local community. Such attributes were often commented on by friends and acquaintances, while her dedication to her volunteer work “went well beyond what anyone could have asked of her”.

Blessed with good weather, runners, walkers and cyclists faced a tough course around the town last year, but enjoyed a hearty reception upon their return; in aid of Foyle Hospice and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

This year, organiser Sean Hasson of Hasson’s Tyre’s - where Mena used to work - hopes the crowd will be just as big. The route has changed, but Sean says it’s open to everyone of all ages and fitness levels. It’s also special as it goes past where Mena was brought up and where she loved to walk for charity.

Mena’s sister, Geraldine Hendry said the family was overwhelmed so many people turned out last year.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw all these people who had come out and, as the years go on, Marie Curie and Foyle Hospice are needed more, and that’s the sad thing about it. I just hope we get a big crowd this year too, and good weather and we, as a family, would like to thank Sean Hasson for all his efforts because he puts in a powerful amount of work into what he’s doing,” said Geraldine.

This year, instead of the 10k course, it’s ‘Mena’s 5 mile Hillfoot’ run, and 3k junior run/3k walk. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, July 17th, starting at 7.30pm. Registration is from 6.30pm from St Canice’s GAC Dungiven. All donations will go to Marie Curie Cancer Care and Foyle Hospice.

“This year’s event will have a different route, which will start at St Canice’s GAC club on the Garvagh road, taking runners out the Curragh road towards Benbradagh mountain, across the hillfoot down past Mena’s own hometown land of ‘Tergol’, where she was brought up and raised as a child,” says Sean.

“The route will also take us down the foot of Benbradagh mountain where Mena and a group of helpers would climb to the top of the mountain to raise money for Niall Mellon Trust charity.”

The run ends back at St Canice’s GAC.

“This year will also have a 3k junior run/3k walk event, starting straight away after the seniors. The route for the 3k junior runners/walkers will take them out the Curragh Road and down the Hass Lane and back to the GAC club,” says Sean, who hopes the event will be a good community event. Last year runners from Derry and beyond competed, but it also drew a strong home crowd of runners and walkers.

“We encourage everyone to join in and bring children and buggies and get the whole family involved. Registration can be done on the night at St Canice’s GAC or prior to the race at Hasson Tyres,” said Sean. Sponsor sheets from Hasson tyres; Carol Quigg or Geraldine Hendry (Murphy). Refreshments afterwards of tea and sandwiches. For more, contact Sean Hasson on 02877742499/07808718145 or at hasson.tyres@hotmail.co.uk