BELLEEK businessman, Terry Hughes, is taking it a bit easier this week after completing his marathon charity challenge of running from Donegal to Dublin in just five days.
The big-hearted proprietor of TJ Hughes Service Station on the Donegal-Fermanagh border says he is “seriously glad” to have successfully ran a marathon a day.
The 37-year-old Omagh native set off last Wednesday and concluded his huge 130 mile challenge by running the Dublin Marathon on Sunday. His aim was to raise €10,000 (£9,000) for the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation but he is already £3,000 over target with donations still coming in.
The charity provides much needed nursing care and direct funding to families of children from birth to four years old with severe neurological development issues throughout Ireland, enabling them to take a break from the daily marathon of caring for their sick child.
Running the five marathons in five days was a huge physical challenge for Terry. His route took him to Florencecourt, then onto Cavan, Kells and Dunboyne before finishing up in Dublin.
Terry told the Herald that one thing he learned from the challenge is that the mind is definitely tougher than the body.
“I think the hardest part was right at the start, that’s when all the doubts were there. It was the third day that I really started to believe in myself. My crew of Andy and Stephen who drove the five marathons with me kept my head up and the craic going – they’d pull up beside me and make me laugh which kept my spirits up.”
“Every morning I felt stiff and it took me about four miles to get going and loosen up. On the day of the Dublin Marathon, I actually felt great! At times when doing the marathon I felt I had to hold myself back I was keen to run faster. At heartbreak hill, the 20 mile mark, a lot of people started to walk, so I skipped around the cones, took a spring in my step and my stride opened up! The enormity of it all hit me at the last mile. When I crossed the finish line, I was walking on air,” he added.
Terry was glad to get back home on Sunday night to his wife Theresa and three children. He is also grateful to all those who supported him throughout – his friends, supporters and staff in the shop who helped with fundraising and kept him going every step of the way.
“I’m delighted that me doing this crazy challenge has resulted in over €13,000 being raised for the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, which will make such a big difference to so many families,” he added.
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