JILL McCann may be an avid marathon runner – but even she admits that her latest athletic challenge for charity will be the toughest one yet!
This April, to raise money for the ‘Enda Dolan Foundation’ and ‘Autism NI’, the Omagh mother is on a mission to see how many laps she can run around the track at Youth Sport Omagh in one 48-hour period… Without taking a break!
An event like this, the 41-year-old says, is the ‘first of its kind’ in the North, and understandably she is feeling both ‘nervous’ and ‘excited’ ahead of the feat.
“It will certainly be an experience!” Jill laughed.
“I can imagine it will be challenging, particularly mentally, which is why I’m feeling mixed emotions. I’ve also never run a track before, so it’s something different for me.
“The run is also for causes close to me too,” Jill added.
“Obviously the Enda Dolan Foundation are a fantastic charity, and my little girl, Caoimhe is autistic so I wanted to raise money for an autism charity also.”
Jill says she has done ‘many 24-hour races’ before, where she has successfully ate and drank while running, and in March last year, she completed a gruelling 214-mile race from Belfast to Dublin and back again.
“That took me 59 hours to finish,” Jill reflected.
“I stopped for only 15 minutes, and had a quick sleep at the foot of my
“I was able to do 100-plus miles in 24 hours which I was pleased about.”
On the day, Jill is encouraging all local people to lace up their running shoes and ‘join in the craic’ on the Youth Sport Omagh track, or cheer her on from the sidelines.
“I’d love to see a good crowd running with me,” Jill continued.
“However people that don’t run can also come along and donate, and watch from the sidelines – like my Caoimhe.
“She loves coming to all my events – especially as she gets to both cheer me on and eat all the sweets!”
• Jill’s ‘The 48’ event will take place on April 24 to April 26 at Youth Sport Omagh, beginning at 6pm. You are welcome to join her on the track for one hour, three hours, six hours, 12 hours or 24 hours, or cheer her on from the sidelines, and all monies raised will go towards the ‘Enda Dolan Foundation’ and ‘Autism NI’. If you would like to donate to Jilll’s cause online – and help her reach her resolute target of £2,500 – please visit www.justgiving.com/jill-mccann