MARATHON MAN Tooreen’s Cathal Freeman raised funds for the Irish Cancer Society and the HSE’s Personal Protective Equipment fund last Sunday
‘DISBELIEF’ is how Mayo senior hurler Cathal Freeman sums up raising more than €55,000 by running a marathon around his back garden in Limerick last Sunday.
The Tooreen man completed 1,400 laps of a small patch of grass just outside his student accommodation at the University of Limerick — whilst soloing a sliotar — to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society and the HSE’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) fund.
Freeman’s marathon challenge garnered huge media attention over the course of the day, being streamed live on Mayo GAA TV as well as featuring on the RTÉ News.
As of last night, the total amount raised was an incredible €55,000 and counting.
“Disbelief would be the first thing and incredible grateful to everyone that tweeted and retweeted, promoted it, donated and got involved with me on the day,” he said.
“The people on the ground were a huge help to me and the lads at Mayo GAA TV [Ciaran O’Hara and Paul Cunnane], there’s too many people to name.
“To think a daft idea conducted whilst sitting on my desk ended up with over 2,000 people donating over €55,000 at the moment is hard to believe. The live stream and the commentary really helped to get people dig deep into their pockets and give to two exceptional causes.”
In total, the 29 year-old completed his 42km journey over a period of approximately seven hours. On commentary, there was (literally) an All Star line-up, with legendary Kilkenny hurler Tommy Walsh and Limerick footballer Donal O’Sullivan featuring, as well as our own Mike Finnerty, Davitts footballer Liam Kearns and Eastern Gaels manager Patrick Finnegan among the various contributors.
There were also a number of clothing items belonging to Freeman auctioned off on the day, and he plans to keep the donation lines open ‘for as long as people are willing to give’.
“I was probably lucky that I didn’t have much experience in that kind of thing and there was a fair amount of organising to do in the last 48 hours, which kept my mind off it,” he laughed. “The night before I was a bit restless but it was ok.
“There were a few stages through it that were difficult, and the people on the ground here were saying I was moaning and groaning at different stages, but listening in to the commentary really helped.
“Hearing the bit of craic, the stories, how many people were watching and hearing how much was being raised helped hugely to keep me going and to get me over the finish line.
“I wasn’t aware either that basically the clothes on my back were being auctioned off as I was running and I haven’t even had a chance to find out where we stand on that. But between the jersey, hat, sliotar and ball, we’ll get them out to whoever was good enough to donate!”