Overwhelmed is the word former Leitrim Senior football team captain Emlyn Mulligan used to describe the news that his unique 30 Day Knocknarea challenge has raised over €17,700 for two very worthy challenges.
Most of us when we take on the challenge of something to do for November think about not shaving or going without the drink but Emlyn decide to climb the imposing Knocknarea mountain outside Strandhill each and every day for the month of November during Lockdown.
At last count on Monday evening, Emlyn’s efforts is scaling the iconic 375 metre high peak has raised €17,765 for Sligo Cancer Support Centre and Little Blue Heroes and Emlyn has been stunned by the response to his fundraising efforts which initially set the target of €5,000,
“It has been overwhelming,” Emlyn told the Observer early last Sunday morning as he helped put the Leitrim Minors through their paces ahead of next Saturday’s Connacht Minor Championship clash with Galway, adding “Starting out, you set yourself a target but to reach over €17,500 is amazing.
“It has been a great month, I’ve got great satisfaction out of it and on top of that, helping out two great charities has been really rewarding for myself personally.”
The challenge came around in fortuitous circumstances as Lockdown put a halt of a lot of activities and Emlyn wanted to challenge himself: “Just where I’m living, I’m looking at Knocknarea all the time and I always thought of doing something and the challenge I set myself was, would it be possible to do it and then raising some money for the two charities.
“At this time of the year too, there is very little else happening around, the Minor championship had been called off and I suppose it was just something for myself to focus on for the month as well as for my own mental well being as well.”
The challenge itself was something Emlyn enjoyed and, if he is being truthful, misses a bit now that it is over: “There were some days I was questioning myself but thankfully I had a bit of company a lot of the time which made it a lot easier for me going up and down the mountain, having people to talk to along the way.
“I really enjoyed it and something I found fierce rewarding. I was even thinking about this month coming, what will I do every day but having a focus every day, having something to do for my own mental well-being, was absolutely brilliant during the Lockdown.”
Some days, Emlyn ran it with up Knocknarea from the Strandhill side with a few friends, covering the trip in 40 to 45 minutes, other days he walked it, taking about 80 minutes, adding “I was never under any pressure with it, I just had to see how my own body was every day.
“Thankfully, I was lucky enough with the weather and the views going up Knocknarea are gorgeous and breathtaking. Every stage you go up it you have a view over Rosses Point, looking over to Benbulben and for that alone, it is very good for the heart and soul which made it that bit easier.”
Finally, asked if he would do it again, Emlyn laughed “I would do it again, not maybe another year away but listen it is something other people might do and set themselves a target and raise a bit of money but it was definitely something I thoroughly enjoyed.”