Car­ry­ing on for a good cause

Helen O’Cal­laghan on a one mother’s marathon chal­lenge

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Parenting -

New­bridge-based Aoife Cur­ran will run the VHI min­i­marathon on Mon­day in aid of CMRF Crum­lin, wear­ing full com­bat gear and with 30lbs — the weight of her three-yearold — on her back.

A mem­ber of the Ir­ish Defence Forces, mum of one Aoife wanted to chal­lenge her­self to do some­thing more than sim­ply run in the mini-marathon. “So I said to Shane, my hus­band, we’d weigh Oliver and I’d carry his weight on my back.”

Aoife’s choice of char­ity is be­cause “the first name for med­i­cal care that al­ways comes to mind is Crum­lin”. She brought Oliver to the hos­pi­tal when he was just three months old. “It’s hor­ri­ble when your child’s sick. You try to stay pos­i­tive but it’s ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause it’s out of your con­trol. With Oliver, it was noth­ing too se­ri­ous, thank­fully. He had trou­ble with his oe­soph­a­gus. I was try­ing to feed him and he was find­ing it hard to drink and cry­ing. We brought him in as a pre­cau­tion.

“The staff were amaz­ing. He hadn’t yet got all his vac­ci­na­tions, so they put him in iso­la­tion. They ex­plained that be­cause he’d been pre­ma­ture, he was just a lit­tle be­hind in his de­vel­op­ment. Be­cause I was a first-time mum and they saw I was ner­vous, they re­as­sured me I was do­ing a great job. They even rang a few days later to see that he’d set­tled.”

Shane, also in the Defence Forces, pre­pared a mini-marathon train­ing pro­gramme for Aoife.

“He’s help­ing me with a few ex­er­cises, with weights. I started off with a low weight on my back and he built me up to 30lbs. As re­cov­ery, he’s help­ing me do dif­fer­ent stretches and foam rolling,” says Aoife, 32, who trains five days a week. “Mon­days, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days I do vary­ing dis­tance runs. Wed­nes­days I go out on the Cur­ragh Plains with the pack on my back. Tues­days and Thurs­days, I do weights.”

Aoife will do the run with older sis­ter Vanessa, who’s par­tic­i­pat­ing for the same char­ity. “This is Vanessa’s first big chal­lenge since los­ing six stone in weight, so the two of us will be sup­port­ing each other.”

And Oliver – who has helped Aoife’s train­ing with pleas for piggy backs – will be cheer­ing from the side­lines, along with dad Shane.

For Aoife, the whole ef­fort is for chil­dren who need help. “If I can strug­gle for an hour and a half to get even one di­ag­no­sis for a sick child, I’ll be do­ing ok.” Aoife hopes to raise €500 for CMRF Crum­lin –

READY TO GO: Aoife Cur­ran is run­ning the VHI mini-marathon with the equiv­a­lent of son Oliver’s weight on her back.

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