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Niall runs 100km for autistic son

Thursday, 23rd February, 2012 12:30pm

Story by Tom Kelly
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Niall runs 100km for autistic son

Niall, who works with Irish Autism Action in Mullingar, looking fresh after a 40km run last month.

Niall Murphy is a man who doesn't do things by half.

Inspired by Gerry Duffy and Ken Whitelaw's 32 marathons in 32 days in 2010, which raised €500,000 for his organisation, the Mullingar-based charity Autism Action, Niall decided to go down the ultra route as well, and on April 1 will run 100km non stop. The objective is to raise €100,000.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner on Monday, less than 24 hours after he had completed an 80km run, Niall revealed that he has been preparing for his run to end all runs for well over a year and racked up over 3,652 miles in 2011 - over Christmas week while most of us were watching our waistlines expand before our eyes, he ran a gruelling 106 miles in six days.

"I ran a couple of marathons in 2004 and 2005 and then gave them up. I have a passion and it's not running. I'm doing this purely to raise funds for Autism Action, which has done so much to help my son Ryan.

(Eleven-year-old Ryan was diagnosed with autism 10 years ago and has been attending Saplings School in Mullingar for the last six years).

"I am doing 10km laps and, for me, each lap is related to a year of the journey we have went on with Ryan since his diagnosis. When I'm feeling the pain, I will see his face in my mind and this will spur me on."

Niall's plan is to get 100 people to sign up to become team captains who each recruit 10 people to run or walk 10km.

The captains and their 10 recruits have to raise at least €100, which includes a registration fee of €20. While it may seem ambitious, more than 700 people have already signed up, and with six weeks to go Niall is hopeful they will reach the magic figure.

Niall, who is "quietly confident" that he will be able to complete his challenge (in his home village of Rhode), says that he has been bowled over by the response from the public. If you would like to play your part, call Niall on 087 2305566 or email him: niall@autismireland.ie.

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