The self-expression and leadership program project of Annette Cullen was featured this spring on Dublin People, a site run by one of the largest newspaper publishers in Ireland. Cullen’s project involved her running a marathon to raise at least 10,000 euros for the hospice facility that took care of her sick mother. Cullen put together a team of eight people to make this happen.
Into the West
A Northside woman is heading up an international posse that will be braving the elements of the West of Ireland to take part in a gruelling marathon in aid of the St Francis Hospice in Raheny.
Swords woman Annette Cullen and eight friends from as far as Australia and Scotland will take to the starting line for the Connemara International Festival on April 6.
In August last year, Annette was a member of the NY32 team that ran the New York Half Marathon in order to raise funds for the Special Olympics.
Bitten by the running bug, Annette has now decided to go the full distance in Connemara, in the hope of raising at least e10,000 for the Hospice that cared for her sick mother.
Annette, who is participating in Landmark’s Education Self Expression and Leadership Programme, chose St Francis Hospice, Raheny, as her project as a way of saying thank you for the wonderful care they took of her mum and her family before she died seven years ago.
“The staff and services offered by St Francis Hospice made this difficult time more bearable,” Annette told Northside People.
“The Hospice staff are really fantastic. They are like angels. They don’t just look after the patient, they do absolutely everything they can to help the family as well.”
Annette will be taking on the full distance of the Connemara marathon with friends Emma Fowler and Roy Williams, while her other pals Elaine O’Toole, Barra McCabe, Tanya McNamie, Olivia Mone, Adele McConkey and Janice McConkey will complete half the course.
In preparation for the marathon, Annette has taken to running up Howth Head on certain weekends, as well as various runs through the Pheonix Park.
“We downloaded an 18-week plan from the internet, which has been a great help in terms of giving us advice on what we should be eating and how much training we need to put in, in preparation for the marathon,” Annette stated.
Her training, which started last October, involves running four days a week, reaching distances of up to 20 miles.
“We are also getting up at the crack of dawn to get runs in before work and even have to overcome the mental battle of putting the running shoes on and getting out there when you would rather sit and watch the TV,” Annette said.
“But there is nothing more breathtaking than the sun coming up over the Dublin Mountains while running past a herd of deer grazing quietly in the Phoenix Park.
“There are days when the training goes well and others when I can be quite stiff and sore.