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Owen Roes players going the extra mile(s)

AROUND forty Owen Roes players are preparing to run a 5K each in order to raise funds for five local organisations- Strabane Foodbank, Covid wards in Altnagelvin, AWARE NI, Dennet Interchange meals on wheels and speech and language therapy in Altnagelvin.

While getting already fit athletes to run 5,000 metres each doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, the Glenmornan club has added a little twist to the task at hand to make it worthy of you digging deep to donate to their fundraising drive.

Rather than all the players running the distance at one time, the club has decided, particularly with social distancing being in effect, the runs will take place between sunrise and sunset tomorrow with each participant
completing three laps of Moorlough as the club aims to complete 200 kilometres during the sunlight hours.

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The venue is a mile from Owen Roes’ Pairc an Ghleanna pitch and the first runner will begin their lap at 5:46am and runners will continue until 9:07pm that evening.

Club chairperson Sarah Jane Kelly explained: “The plan is for around 40 odd players to take it in turns to do three  laps of the lough which is 5km in length in total.

“One of the major stipulations is that we are ensuring that social distancing is being strictly adhered to. For example there is no baton, or cross over between runners. When runner A finishes, runner B will start a few metres further along the route, and when runners complete their slot, they go home.”

In early March the various coaches of Owen Roes were busy on the training pitch readying the various teams for the Club’s 50th anniversary season.

No doubt all the players and coaches had ambitions to mark the 50th year of the Leckpatrick Club with silverware. However events off the field has cast a shadow on the season for Owen Roes and indeed sporting clubs throughout the country.

Nonetheless the Gaels of Owen Roes are seeking to cast some light on those shadows with their sunrise to sunset challenge which takes place on Saturday.

“I suppose there was a few things that fed in to the idea,” explained club captain, Stephen Kelly. “First up we wanted to do something positive for the community.

“The last month or so has seen the better sides of our communities come to the fore from the fantastic efforts of our health and care workers, to other professions battling on to ensure services continue, to local community groups, including GAA clubs, making sure those that need helped are looked after.

“One of the buzz phrases that we’ve heard is ‘we are all in this together’ and I suppose us players wanted to play our part in that too.

“The second strand is that doing a 5K ensures that we footballers stay in some sort of condition. Most of us are out doing our own work anyway, even with no football on the horizon, but this gives a wee gee up to some of the other lads as well. When you start to talk about 5Ks and times etc that competitive spirit comes to the fore and it gets 
lads up an out. It also gets the craic going.

“That ties in with the third part of the event then and that’s the mental health part. Everyone is experiencing various levels of anxiety and difficulties. This gives us a focal point to concentrate on and keeps the squad tight. We’ve a great team spirit throughout the Club anyway, so this just keeps that going even and helps morale in the 
most challenging of times.”

“Most of the lads would be running the roads, or around the lough 3 or more times a week anyway, so it’s adding a bit of structure to what they are already doing. Our facilities, like others, are closed at present, so the lads have taken to road running etc to try and say in shape.”

County star Cathal McShane is also playing his part in the fundraiser despite being injured at the minute. The North Tyrone man cannot partake in the run but has donated the jersey that he wore in the 2018 All Ireland senior final, and the boots that he wore in that final, to aid the Club’s fund raising initiative with every tenner sponsored 
equating to one entry in to a draw which will take place in the days post the run.

The club hopes to raise over £2000 and anyone keen to donate to the Sunrise to Sunset 200km Run can do so by visiting Go Fund me where they can search for Owen Roes or find more details via the club’s Facebook page.

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