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Paul to trek across the deserts and glaciers

Chris Gallagher of Sports Massage Therapy Omagh and Nial Hollywood of Hollywood Fitness hold aloft Paul Kelly who will take part in the 250km Fire & Ice Challenge. They are pictured with Ivan Gilmour, vice chair of Care For Cancer, Paul’s chosen charity.

A CLANABOGAN man is getting ready to take on perhaps the toughest multi-terrain foot race in the world… all in the name of Care For Cancer.

The extraordinarily difficult ‘Fire and Ice’ challenge will see Paul Kelly trek through the ever-changing Icelandic terrain with just six days to complete the perilous 155.3 mile course.

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Aside from scrambling over sand dunes and painstakingly making his way through deserts of charcoal black sands, Paul will also be faced with running past steaming lava fields, grassy valleys and even crossing a glacial river.

And while Paul’s family were shocked at the revelation that he was taking on this challenge, the Clanabogan man said he simply had to do something for Care For Cancer after losing his aunt in January last year.

“My family have been touched by cancer so many times over the years,” said Paul. “It has affected my grandparents, my aunts, and my nephew and friends.

“They have all showed us amazing strength, as they fought and continued to fight their own personal battles. After the sad loss of my aunt in 2017, I wanted to do something to raise funds for Care For Cancer in Omagh as they do so much for our community.

“So one night, sitting surfing the internet, I came across the Fire and Ice event, and I signed up for it.”

The challenge will take place from Monday, August 27 to Saturday, September 1 and throughout, Paul will endeavour to remain completely self-reliant.

“I’ll be carrying everything I need – from food to water and clothing, and I’ll be camping at night,” he explained. “That means, I’ll need to be mentally strong, as well as putting in a lot of training for the event.

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“But it is all worth it, as the money raised will go to Care For Cancer. They are a charity that offers so much support to our community in Omagh and the surrounding areas.

“They provide transport for patients to hospital appointments, complimentary therapies, a bra-fitting service for women who have had breast cancer and many other services.”

For Paul, all of this would not be possible without his excellent support network. He has expressed his thanks to sponsors and thanked everyone who has given him such great support.

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