Shannon Airport staff got on their bikes at the weekend to undertake a gruelling 175km charity cycle challenge for charities doing sterling work in the Mid-West region.
The cyclists braved the worst of May weather as driving wind and rain throughout the ten hours cycle added to the challenging, undulating circuit as they raised €14,000 for the Neonatal Unit at the Regional Maternity Hospital, the Samaritans and the Clare branch of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Ireland.
The group set off at 8a.m., from King John’s Castle in Limerick on Saturday for a route that took them all the way to the Cliffs of Moher before concluding at the Airport.
The first leg of the journey took in Bunratty, Sixmilebridge, Kilmurry, Quin, Doora and Corofin, where they took their first 15 minute stop at around 10.30am.
From there the cyclists, which included 12 non-airport staff, had not alone to battle the tough conditions but also the most challenging part of the route. They took on stiff climbs through the Burren National Park, not least the Corofin to Ballyvaughan leg as well as back to Lisdoonvarna, including the famous Corkscrew Hill.
The wet and windy weather did not deter the cyclists as, after a second break at the Cliffs of Moher, they finished out the mammoth cycle in good spirits as the final leg took them through Liscannor, Lahinch, Ennistymon, Inagh, Ennis, Clarecastle and Newmarket-on-Fergus before finishing at the airport at around 6p.m.
Speaking after the cycle, Shannon Airport’s Operations Director Niall Maloney, from Corbally, said that the effort was more than worth it. “It was a tough cycle for all involved, not least a number of people who are new enough to the sport so they deserve great credit as we had a very tough route and very challenging weather.
“We raised around €14,000 for three fantastic charities and that was €4,000 beyond the target we set. The Samaritans are the airport staff’s chosen charity for 2014, while MS Ireland and the Neonatal unit in Limerick have impacted positively on the lives of colleagues and family members here over the years.”
Among those cycling was Shannon Airport Search Unit member Mike Linnane, who was diagnosed with MS nine years ago and took on the cycle to raise awareness and funds to support the incredible work done by MS Ireland.
“MS Ireland does wonderful work and I wanted to show that there is life after being diagnosed with MS. The important thing is to stay positive, take each day as it comes and live each day to the full,” said Mike.
Shannon Airport Chairman Rose Hynes said that huge credit is due to the Shannon Airport staff and others for undertaking the cycle. “Shannon Airport staff gives tremendous support to charity each year and Saturday’s cycle was another great example of that. It was a huge undertaking by them and is raising much needed funds for three charities that do incredible work for people throughout our region and beyond.”