Meet the Dromore man running through every county in Ireland for AWARE
Shane McMahon (32) from Dromore in Co Tyrone is celebrating his 32nd birthday by running through the 32 counties of Ireland raising money for AWARE and Aware in the South of Ireland.
Shane was aware of a number of suicides in the area where he lives and decided that he wanted to do something for a mental health charity and chose AWARE. The Tyrone man hopes that by doing this, he will get more people talking about mental health, and hopefully encourage people to seek help if they feel they are suffering.
Shane played GAA for Dromore but unfortunately, that came to an immediate halt after he suffered from a serious brain injury which left him with severe brain swelling and hemorrhage. Shane was left in a very serious state which meant he had to learn to walk and talk again, something the active GAA player found hard to cope with.
After he made a recovery, Shane spent a lot of his time travelling around countries like Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, and whilst he enjoyed it a lot, he admits that it gave him a lot of time to reflect on things and when he began feeling lost he wanted to return home. When he came back home, Shane felt he needed a purpose and wanted to do something positive for charity.
The plan to run around Ireland wasn’t a random one, it’s been around three years in the making starting with his first marathon in Connemara in April 2017. Shane then continued with running and completed five marathons in 2017, then in June 2018 he ran a 69 mile race, a 24-hour race in July and a 214 mile race across Scotland in August.
Shane started the run on Monday 3 July and said,
“When I started the run I was both nervous and excited, I have spent about three years of preparing for it. The plan is to run through every county in Ireland, whether it’s a village or town, I want to step foot on it. So far, I am averaging about one marathon a day and I will do this until I complete it.
“The support I have received from people is incredible. I am running with a buggy and I set up a tent overnight which I sleep in before start my running the next day. I have been getting a few strange looks from passers-by but hopefully the publicity will help explain what I am doing and more importantly why I am doing it.
“I feel that people don’t talk about mental health and suicide enough and I think that if enough people knew about the work that charities like AWARE do then fewer people will see suicide as an option and will instead get the help they need to recover from mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.”