Army Trio Race the Planet for Motor Neurone Disease

Three Army Engineering officers have so far raised €6,866.84 for their chosen charity the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) as they prepare to compete in a 250km, seven day endurance race in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. Lt’s Adrian Quinn (26) (Leixlip, Co Kildare), Eoghan Carton (26) (Ardclough, Co Kildare) and John Murphy (28) (Portmagee, Co. Kerry) will be competing as the “Skellig’s Chocolate Race Team”. The trio, based in the Curragh, chose the IMNDA as John’s Uncle Sean O’Sé passed away from Motor Neurone Disease in December 2009. Sean’s wife Eileen and two daughters Orla and Aíne all work as part of the Skellig’s Chocolate business based in St Finan’s Bay, Co. Kerry. Business owner Colm Healy was happy to help part fund the team’s efforts in undertaking this tough challenge for such a worthy cause that resonates with his hard working staff.

The Skellig’s Chocolate Race Team will be undertaking the grueling seven day ultra-marathon as an opportunity to raise awareness and much needed funds for the charity. Each day will see the competitors travel the equivalent of a 40km marathon over the hilly, rocky and beautifully remote terrain of the Nepal Himalayan Mountain range.

Over 250 competitors from more than 35 different countries will be taking part, including some of the best ultra-runners from around the world. Each competitor must remain self-sufficient for the duration of the event carrying all food, clothing and sleeping systems required to complete the race. This kit will weigh around 15kg at the start of the race and drop down to about 9kg at the end, as the food is eaten over the seven days. The three man Irish team will consume, on average 2,500 to 3,000 calories of dehydrated expedition meals while simultaneously losing over a kilo in weight per day due to loss of fluid alone. They must also contend with the intensely dry Nepalese midday heat and bitter night time cold while remaining conscious of the effect of the increased altitude on their bodies. Adding to this will be the painfully tired and cramping muscles, heat rash and terrible foot blisters that would put the average walker off going for a leisurely stroll. More information can be found at www.4deserts.com/beyond/nepal/

The team are taking two weeks out of their annual leave to compete in the race and have fully paid for all their own race costs, flights and food. They are adamant that every single cent raised during their fundraising efforts will go to the charity and NOT towards any of the race expenses. If people would like to donate they can do so by searching for RacingThePlanet: Nepal 2011 on www.mycharity.ie or by following the team on their Skelligs Chocolate Race Team Facebook page.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurological condition that leaves people unable to do the everyday things the rest of us take for granted. Walking, talking and swallowing may become virtually impossible. MND strikes people across all ages and there is currently no known cure.

The IMNDA is dedicated to providing care for people with MND, their carers and families such as specialised equipment on loan, home visiting by our MND Nurse Specialist and financial assistance towards home help. The IMNDA is a small organisation and relies heavily on fundraising for over 75% of its income to continue providing vital services to the entire country.

For more information or to arrange an interview with John, Eoghan or Adrian before they depart for Nepal please contact Gemma Watts on 1800 403 403 or email.

Notes to Editor:

To date there is no known cause, treatment or cure for Motor Neurone Disease. There is no medication available to prevent, halt, reverse or cure the disease. Life expectancy is variable from three to five years (or occasionally longer) depending on the activity of the disease and the particular muscle groups affected.

Although answers have not yet been found, research funded by MND associations around the world is expanding rapidly. Approximately one in 50,000 will develop MND in any one year, with over 300 patients in Ireland at any one time.

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association was founded in 1985 by a small group of friends, relatives and carers of Motor Neurone Disease and functions mainly as a support organisation for people who have MND, their families, friends and carers.

A number of people who are MND Patients are also available for selected media interviews. For more information about MND and the work of the association please visit www.imnda.ie