Ciara Kelly and Chef Gary O'Hanlon tell us how they're completing a Marathon in a Month for the Irish Cancer Society

We catch up with Ciara, Gary and listener, Julia, to hear all about their progress on the challenge

Do you think you could run a Marathon in a Month? That's exactly what The Irish Cancer Society is asking you to do all this month. 

Marathon in a Month is a campaign to get the people of Ireland moving by completing the distance of a marathon (42km) over the course of the month. No matter what level you’re at, you can take part by walking, jogging or running the distance and tracking your progress online – all while raising vital funds to support people affected by cancer.  

Newstalk’s own Ciara Kelly and celebrity chef Gary O’Hanlon are taking part, along with over 700 participants from around the country. Along with listener, Julia, Ciara and Gary told us how they are getting on:

How many miles have you completed so far?

Ciara: 12km.  

Gary: I'm up to nine miles thus far. I've had a couple of pre-work walks, a post-work one and a cracking walk on the Promenade in Salthill.

Julia: We have covered 30km so far... The kids have done 10km with me and I’ve done the rest 5km at a time with some jogging and some walking. I have triplet 9-year olds, one of whom, Leo, has cerebral palsy so he has a hand bike he goes on because he can’t walk unaided.

How are you finding it so far? Any tips?

Ciara: I love having a very good reason to go out for walk. The hardest bit is making time to do it during a busy day but it's so rewarding when you do! Walk where it’s picturesque, listen to music, bring the dog or a pal... It’s like a little bit of time during the day for yourself and it does you and other people good!

Gary: I'm doing ok. I'd gone off the exercise track in recent months due to starting a new job so this was the ideal challenge for me to get back into it. I'm off to Rosslare for a few days next week and I'm already looking forward to some strolls on Rosslare Strand.

Diet is another thing. Eat proper portions, drink loads of water and my biggest tip is to keep munchies out of the house. That's what really works for me. If they're not there, I can't eat them.

Julia: My top tip is to go very early in the morning. I get up at 6:30am as my husband leaves at 7:30am so I have it done and dusted for the day. if I go on my own I have a playlist of my favourite songs to listen to. I also think it’s good to workout early as it’s not as hot out, especially if you’re running!

I love to exercise (even though I’m a good solid size 14) and I also like to eat! It makes me feel good for the whole day and it’s time out for me as a busy Mum! I also work as a vocal coach and a choral director so I work a lot of late nights and do a lot of concerts so it’s great for me as ‘thinking time’ to plan my lessons and choir rehearsals.

My kids love that I’m doing it and they love to be part of it too! They are getting such excitement out of checking the Fitbit every night.

Do you have any words of encouragement for someone thinking of taking part?

Ciara: Do get involved, it’s a great cause and a fantastic organisation. The Irish Cancer Society have been there for so many people who never thought they’d need them but were so glad to have them when they did!

Gary: I keep saying it – do NOT underestimate the power of walking. I went so long avoiding exercise as I couldn't run long distances like I used to so I ended up doing nothing. Operation Transformation got me up and walking from day one and the weight fell off me. I absolutely loved every second of it and it was all down to walking and light resistance training.

Julia: For anyone thinking about getting involved, do it!!! It’s good for you, makes you feel happy, and it’s for a great cause.  All you need is a comfy pair of trainers and a positive attitude. I only started running recently using the Couch to 5k app and now, some weeks I’ll run 5k six times a week! It’s good for your mental health and with my triplets and work and juggling all of the kids' activities, Leo’s therapies and physio sessions, I need the time out. Just go for it. You only regret the exercise you didn't do!! 


Tempted to take part? For more information or to register to participate in Marathon in a Month visit www.cancer.ie/marathoninamonth. Tune in to Lunchtime Live every weekday from 12-2pm to hear more about Ciara, Gary and Julia's progress.