OF all the competitors taking part in tomorrow’s Strabane Lifford half marathon, one man with the biggest task is arguably Kevin Donovan.
Hailing from Midleton, County Cork, the 23-year-old is taking on the mammoth challenge of running 32 races in every county in Ireland in aid of the Cork Deaf Association (CDA) and Irish Deaf Society (IDS).
Speaking to the Chronicle Kevin explained how his challenge came about. “I have been running for two years now. My father passed away in July 2014, he used to do a lot of running so I decided I wanted to give it ago.
“I like to set myself various challenges. I started looking at various races and came across a 32 county challenge in which you have one year to do a race in each of the 32 counties.
“I also decided that this would be an opportunity to raise money for charity. When I was young it was discovered I had Specific Speech Disorder. This meant I found it hard to speak the words even though there was no problem with my brain. The decision was made for me to attend Our Lady’s School for the Hearing Impaired in Douglas, and that changed my life.
“It was the staff that got me talking and made the gradual process of improving my English. Even though I was never deaf, I made many great friends during my time there. Thanks to them I could go onto mainstream school and onto college where I got my Honours Degree in Chemistry in Cork Institute of Technology.
“For me personally, I feel the Irish Deaf Society are working very hard to make the Irish Sign Language (ISL) recognised by the State. I also feel there are many charities around us that do not always get the recognition they deserve for the great work they do in the community. I chose Cork Deaf Association as they provide a great service for adults, providing courses in sign language and because I have dealt with them personally”.
Looking forward to Sunday Kevin added, “I hope by doing this challenge I will encourage people to know, that if you keep on trying, you will succeed”.
If you wish to make a donation to Kevin’s cause visit www.idonate.ie/kevin32challenge