Saturday 9th July 2005, 8:25pm - Richard finishes in Record Time
Richard has done it! He ran through County Cork on Friday & Saturday to complete the Head2Head challenge in a record time of 5 days, 14 hours & 15 mins. He broke the existing record from Malin to Mizen by approximately 8 hours.
After a great start to the run on Monday, when he completed 90 miles in just 18 hours to get to Enniskillen, he began paying the price on Tuesday and Wednesday. An ache in his left foot gradually worsened to the point of acute pain. Enforced breaks and icing became the norm.
An emergency stop for medical attention in Longford highlighted the possibility that Richard might not be able to continue. Assessments by both a physiotherapist and doctor brought the same conclusion; Richard had a stress fracture to the first metatarsal of his left foot. This was obviously a serious blow for the completion of the event, never mind an attempt at breaking the record.
But Richard recommenced and began running through the pain. His first compensating injury began when he developed painful tendonitis on his right shin, which frequently forced him to walk, hobble and take rest breaks. However, he managed to reach Athlone (170 miles) after 49 hours.
Day 3 was perhaps the most painful day of all. Tendonitis had now developed in both shins and the impact of the stress fracture was worsening. Jolts of pain meant he sometimes couldn't put weight on his leg. Lots of rest was necessary as he couldn't walk at times.
Nevertheless, Richard reached Limerick, 235 miles into his 365 mile journey on Thursday. The previous day it had seemed he would be forced to retire.
On Thursday night, Richard crossed into Charleville, County Cork. It was the final county on his list. Having run, hopped and walked through ten others on his journey, he was glad that the finishing line was potentially in sight.
Steven Seaton, the editor of Runner's World (UK) flew from England to join him as a support runner and by Saturday morning at 6.10am, 5 days after he started, he was near Dunmanyway and heading toward the peninsula. Richard finally crossed the finish line, Mizen Head, at 8.25pm to the delight of the event sponsors, Paul and Mary Grealish of the King's Head, as well as his wife Caroline and family and supporters.
What is the Head2Head challenge?
This summer, from July 4th to 9th, Richard Donovan – one of Ireland’s most successful ultra runners – will attempt yet another record. Richard intends treading the well worn and much loved path that is Malin Head to Mizen Head - with a twist! He plans on running this 600km+ trek in 5 days - averaging up to 135km a day from the most northerly to the most southerly points of Ireland. That’s the equivalent of about 3 full marathons per day.
So why run Malin to Mizen? Richard is attempting to raise funds for Chernobyl Children's Project International. CCPI was established in 1991 by Irishwoman Adi Roche. It has since delivered substantial medical and humanitarian aid to the Chernobyl-effected regions and the Charity has also managed to bring 13,000 children to Ireland for rest and recuperation. One thousand children will be brought to Ireland this summer from the heart of radiation zones because the negative health impacts of radiation worsen in hot weather.
Richard would also like 20% of all funds raised to go to abandoned and orphaned children in Russia via the World Race Trust. He has just returned from the Vladivostok region where he encountered some of these less fortunate kids during a charity relay run across the country.
This run is a mammoth physical challenge and you can help Richard in his quest to raise money for the Chernobyl Children’s Project International, and for some abandoned kids in Russia. Please donate today.
The current Irish record for Malin Head to Mizen Head is held by John Dowling at 5 days 22 hours and 30 seconds. It is technically more difficult than running the opposite direction because prevailing winds blow from the southwest.
Richard Donovan can be contacted at: email@example.com.