On Bank Holiday Monday, August 1, a group led by Castlebar DJ Johnny Oosten completed the first-ever Greenway walk covering a distance of 43 kilometres in nine-and-a-half hours.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Oosten said, despite concerns aired about the two-mile section where pedestrians must walk along the busy N59, the day was very enjoyable. “Some had blisters, all had sore limbs but nevertheless everyone was proud.” The group set out from Achill at 7am and after an arduous but fulfilling walk finished in Westport at 4pm. This challenge was in the pipeline for some weeks and 32 participants took part and completed the route.
Walkers included Cllr Brendan Mulroy, Matt Loughrey of Croagh Patrick 365 fame and Eunice Moran who was last year’s winner of TG4’s talent competition Glor Tire. Other participants included more than half-a-dozen girls from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Castlebar, who climbed Kilimanjaro recently and raised €16,700 for five Mayo charities.
Oosten said that weather conditions were ideal. However, he admitted most were surprised by the difficulty of the walk. “I’ve climbed the Reek seven days in a row, but give me the Reek any time ahead of that again. We only stopped twice for 15 minutes a time, in Mulranny and in Newport, so it was a very long trek.”
Oosten said there was families and young kids enjoying the sunshine and cheering them on. Mayo flags were being swung in tribute to the previous days memorable exploits in Croke Park. The Castlebar DJ had a special word of thanks for Vincent McHale from Parke, Castlebar, who manned the fluid stops at five locations along the route.
Oosten said he would like to thank all who came out to support them during the challenge. He said they have now decided to make the walk an annual event, and it is scheduled to take place on the August Bank Holiday Monday again next year.
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