Marty Chipper embarked on the arduous task of running around Lough Neagh to raise money for PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide).
Marty, a self-employed bricklayer who lives in Aghagallon, completed the ‘Lap of the Lough’ challenge last Friday, with his cousin Barry McCarroll, who is an art teacher from Belfast.
Marty told the Mail how the run came about.
He said: “I had done a 52-mile run for PIPS last year.
“A few friends of mine have taken their lives. It was the families left behind which inspired me to do it.“
Marty and Barry left Aghagallon Hall at 6pm before making their way to the lough.
The run was 90 miles long, taking Marty and Barry a whopping 18 hours, 50 minutes to complete.
Marty explained: “ We finished in less than the 21 hours originally anticipated.
“We prepared by training in a few half marathons,” Marty said.
“We then competed in the Belfast marathon and then the 52 mile Mourne Way Marathon Ultra Marathon.“
The duo were briefly joined at the start of the run by Dermot Winters, Chairman of Newry City Runners and others from Bootsy Newry City Runners and Newry Triathlon Club. The next day, at around 2pm, they were also joined by runners from Dungannon who showed support.
Was there any point the two felt they couldn’t finish the run? “No, never.“, Marty said, “That doesn’t come into it.”
Though motivated and undeterred, there naturally were low points.
“We were both sick at times, we couldn’t keep our food down.“ Marty explained: “Seeing the sunrise was a high point. The darkness can suck the life out of you.“
Marty is unsure exactly how much has been raised to date, but it’s around £1,000.
Those who wish to contribute still can do so; collection boxes have been in the towns ‘Cookery Nook’ cafe and in Centrepoint, both of which will be collected this weekend.
Asked what he had planned for the future, Marty said: ”I have a few things in mind. We have to keep going bigger. There will definitely be something in the pipeline.”
PIPS are available for free professional counselling, free complimentary therapies, workshops, presentations, conferences and seminars as well as group support for anyone bereaved through suicide, one to one support and befriending services.
Anyone seeking to speak to PIPS can contact them through their lifeline at 0808 808 8000 or at 38 310 151.