When it comes to going that extra mile for charity these three parents from Northern Ireland have proved to be an inspiration.
Mother of two Heather Clatworthy this week became the first person since 1929 to swim across the 13-mile stretch between Stroove beach on County Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula and Portstewart in County Londonderry.
Heather was expected to take 8 to 10 hours to complete the swim but did it in 4 hours 15 minutes.
An inquisitive pod of dolphins joined her on part of her challenge, jumping alongside as she powered on toward Portstewart, her childhood home.
“Two hours in I just didn’t think I was going to do it,” she said. “I just felt so ill, I was getting really beaten by the waves. They weren’t that big but it was very choppy. I am just so pleased I did it.”
She was hugged by her husband Ian as she walked on to the rocky shore at Portstewart. Crowds of well-wishers cheered and clapped, among them her proud children Lily, five, and Basil, two.
Heather is raising money for Portrush RNLI and a fund she has established to promote outdoor recreation in Portstewart.
Meanwhile a 38-year-old father of three from Armagh is on course to break a world record by running 60 ultra marathons in 60 days for charity.
Stevey McGeown set himself the task of running 64km every day and if all continues according to plan by this Saturday (July 30) he’ll have run a staggering 3,780km.
He started out from Armagh on June 1 and having run via Newry, Belfast, Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Limerick, Mizen Head, Cork and Dublin he’ll finish up back at Navan Fort. More amazing still he’s is completing each run in an average of six and a half hours.
He’s no stranger to endurance running have completed the audacious challenge of 100 Marathons In 100 Days with my good friend Larry Maguire last year in 2015 in aid of the Laura Maguire Foundation.
Stevey is happily married to his wife Catherine and together they have three children – Ben, Katie and Harry. The purpose of this new epic adventure is to inspire the people of Ireland, the United Kingdom and beyond to new heights of possibilities within their own health, well-being and potential as they witness Stevey going beyond what many consider to be impossible.
Stevey is hoping to raise £275,000 for the Keith Duffy Foundation which will help Fighting Blindness, Buddy Bench Ireland and Paddy Wallace Fund For Autism with the proceeds.
And there’s further inspiration from 54-year-old Penny McCanny from Antrim who has walked a marathon a day for six days in memory of her son who died from a suspected drugs overdose.
Penny has walked more than 26 miles across all of Northern Ireland’s six counties, finishing just a day ahead of the third anniversary of her son Aidan’s passing on July 27 2013.
She told Belfast Live: “I did this walk because I want to remember all the wonderful things about Aidan. He is more than just someone who died from a drug overdose. That aspect of his life is difficult to escape, but he was a very intelligent, compassionate and funny person.”
As well as keeping the memory of her son alive Penny says she also wants to open up the debate about drugs and their criminalisation, arguing that much of their danger comes from the fact they are illegal.
As part of the walk, Penny is also helping raise money for people in Nepal along with her friend Margaret Madden from Madden’s Bar in Antrim.