On behalf of SOSAD and Mental Health Ireland
Stephen Lynch, 28, from Duleek, Co Meath, will set off on 14th August on a Head-to-Head run from the most Northerly point, Malin Head, Donegal, to the most Southerly point in Ireland, Mizen Head, Cork. Roughly a point-to-point run of 550km (dependent on the exact route of the runner) and equivalent to 13 marathons, this will be a mental health challenge as much as a physical one.
This route has been run on many occasions before, with the current record being set by ultra runner, Lifford-Strabane AC athlete and Chef, Ed McGroarty at 3 days, 2 hours and 53 minutes with 70 hours sleep, taking the Mizen to Malin route and covering a recorded 545 km. Most of the records held are recorded over the same northerly direction route, and Stephen aims to set a new record by being the youngest athlete to cover the trek in a southerly direction with the goal to finish in 5 days and 13 hours, which would also make him the 4th fastest male runner.
Stephen, who works full time as a Recruitment Consultant, says exercise has always been an important pastime to him. However, he only started running seriously in September 2021 due to the strict COVID restrictions at that time. Prior to this, Stephen’s running experience consisted of a couple of 10km charity runs.
Since then, he has been training and preparing for this extraordinary feat by running his first marathon in Melbourne in December 2021, followed by the Bondi to Manly Ultra 80 km Race in Sydney last November. On both these occasions he also raised money for his chosen charities (€1470 for MHI and €2108 for SOSAD respectively).
He points out that “things have not always been plain sailing” explaining that he was overweight as a child and recalls finishing last in a school sports day race. Partly because of this, Stephen is now a big advocate of mental health. He goes on to say, “Mental health is a massive issue in today’s world. I’ve witnessed first-hand the effects it can have on individuals, their families, and the local community. I really feel that running, just exercise in general, has provided me with a great way to deal with any difficult situations or problems I’ve had in my life”. He adds “for a very long time now I’ve protected my mental health by doing exercise and looking after myself as best as possible.”
So, Stephen is taking this running challenge, not only as a personal challenge, but to show people the amazing feats that can be accomplished by simply putting one foot in front of the other, with the goal to raise at least €10,000 each for his two chosen charities: SOSAD Ireland and Mental Health Ireland.
You can follow his journey on his IG account: @stevensrun