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Pair pass through Mayo on ‘Little Run Around Ireland’


Anton McNulty

IF you noticed two ‘ruck-sacked, weather-beaten souls’ running along the west coast in recent days, they are most likely to be Simon Clark and Rachel Winter. The pair are attempting to run around the Irish coast, and they are now on the western leg of their 2,200 mile ‘Just a Little Run Around Ireland’, which started on August 7 in Dublin.
Clark and Winter are running clockwise around the country, and they hope to complete their journey in early March before returning to their home in Findhorn, a seaside village in the Scottish Highlands. They spent the Christmas in Louisburgh before travelling to Achill to continue on their journey around the Mayo coast.
Together they cover 15 to 25 miles per day and are running with no support team, carrying everything they need and often wild-camping in sleeping and bivi bags. They have already clocked up over 1,500 miles.
Clark and Winter are fundraising for a Scottish charity called Ecologia Youth Trust, which works around the world with orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya, Uganda and Russia, helping them to realise their potential and to take an active role in promoting sustainable living. They hope to raise over £10,000 and have raised £3,800 to date.

Vulnerable children
Clark is an architect, who is also keeping up with work en route, while Winter is Ecologia Youth Trust’s former Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator. For him, inspiration for the run came from Rosie Swale Pope’s ‘Just a Little Run Around the World’ and by Ecologia’s work with children and young people facing their own tough challenges.
“The struggle of deteriorating weather and dropping temperatures has been eclipsed by the instantaneous warmth of the Irish people and their desire to help in any way they can. Their generosity means we can help some of the most vulnerable children who are enduring struggles of their own,” he said.
On Achill, Winter and Clark were kindly put up in Óstán Oileán Acla, and they say the hospitality they have received has been ‘truly heart-warming’. They explained that as they’ve made their way around, they have been protected from rain-driven storms and generally given refuge in hotels, holiday homes, hostels, B&Bs, farmer’s cow sheds, stables and the homes of friends and friends of friends.
They are asking for people to keep a look out for ‘two ruck-sacked, weather-beaten souls’, bearing ‘Run Around Ireland’ banners in green on white.
“Please help us to spread the word. Every penny goes a long way in the countries in which Ecologia works, and every donation is always gratefully received.”
To donate, visit Gofundme.com/2-hearts-4-feet-run-around-ireland. The couple’s route and position can be found on a regularly updated map at www.ecologia.org.uk/run-around-ireland/. Updates, videos, and photos are available on Simon Clark’s blog, www.facebook.com/remembersimon or on twitter @2hearts4feet.