World’s largest 50-Mile charity event returns to Westmeath for 2020

Photo shows - Marie Masterson and Eamonn Fitzsimmons at the launch of the Moylagh JFK 50-Mile Challenge at Fore Abbey. Photo: Andres Poveda

Hardy trekkers tackled an eight-mile route around the megalithic mounds of Loughcrew on Sunday morning for the launch of the world’s largest 50-mile walking challenge in support of cancer services.

The Moylagh JFK 50-Mile Challenge, on Saturday June 6 this year, takes in stunning scenery across Counties Westmeath, Meath and Cavan along a Camino-style route.

Now in its ninth year, the event has so far raised more than €750,000 for cancer charities and more than 1,000 people took part in the 2019 edition – 332 of whom made it all the way to the finish line.

The challenge is based on an endurance test handed down by John F Kennedy to the US military to cover 50 miles on foot within 20 hours.

Winner of the Meath Business and Tourism Award last year, the Moylagh JFK 50-Mile Challenge has attracted entrants from every county in Ireland and from abroad.

People can do as much or as little as they like, and every mile makes a difference in the fight against cancer.

All funds raised through the challenge go towards cancer services – 80% to the Irish Cancer Society, and 10% each to the Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Centre (LARCC).

Registration for the 2020 Moylagh JFK 50-Mile Challenge is now open at

Event organiser Gerry McDonnell said: “We would like to thank every walker and runner from all corners of the country who took part last year.

“We are hoping to have big numbers again this year given that we are already ahead of schedule with registrations.

“We are proud of our community of Moylagh and surrounding parishes and townlands who get really involved every year.

“Along the route, people are always out to help out with catering, stewarding, volunteering as drivers and handing out water.”

The event has recently seen a surge in businesses and groups taking part. To cater for this demand, there is now an option for groups to sign up at to do it as a team or relay.

Moylagh JFK 50-Mile Challenge chairman Johnny Guirke said: “We would like to thank all the businesses that took part last year and invite them back again for 2020.

“We would also like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated to the running of the event or sponsored equipment used. Without this, we would not be able to give 100% of the funds to these much-needed cancer services.”

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