Donegal is one of 10 venues that will host this year’s Pieta 100 Charity Cycle on the 25th September. The cycle, which is supported by Aviva, includes a 100 km and a 50 km route around Donegal that will start from The Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.
Rugby stars David Wallace and Jenny Murphy (pictured here at the launch), cyclist Martyn Irvine, rugby analyst Brent Pope and Today FM presenter Paula MacSweeney were in the Aviva Stadium this week to launch the nationwide Pieta 100 charity cycle.
After a successful debut last year, the Pieta 100 has expanded from three locations to 10 in 2016. It’s a fitting number as Pieta House – the centre for the prevention of suicide and self-harm - marks its 10-year anniversary this year. Almost 1,500 people took part a year ago and raised nearly €100,000, funds that help to keep Pieta’s life-saving counselling services free.
Sunday September 25 is the date for people saddle up for the 100k or 50k events in Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny/Carlow, Limerick, Tipperary/Offaly or Waterford.
Earlier this year, Pieta House was chosen by employees at Aviva Ireland as their charity partner over the next two years. The primary objective of the partnership is to make Pieta 100 a 32-county event that will become over time as successful in raising funds for their work as Darkness Into Light.
Aviva Ireland CEO Hugh Hessing said: “There is a real commitment in our company to the work Pieta does in preventing suicide and self-harm and promoting awareness of the issue. We want to use our partnership to make the Pieta 100 the best fundraising event it can be. That’s the legacy we want to give to Pieta House and the communities which they support.”
Pieta House CEO Brian Higgins says there are many reasons why the Pieta 100 should appeal to people; “It’s an exciting thing to be involved in. We wanted to build on the momentum of support that we have amassed from Darkness Into Light,” he said. “The Pieta 100 is open to individuals and teams, but everyone is in this together – it’s not a race”
“It’s about starting and finishing a journey in a time that suits you and that’s a reflection of how our work at Pieta House is done. It’s about engaging with people and sitting alongside them on a journey and that journey can take as long as it needs to for that person. We want to travel alongside them and support them.
“In the same way that someone out on a cycle can put a supportive hand on your back to help push you up a hill, that’s really the job of Pieta House too.
“There’s a personal achievement that comes out of it, there’s the achievement of meeting new people and having a good day’s craic. There’s also the achievement of having raised money to keep our services free for anyone who needs them.”
This year will also see the TM Cycle in Dublin taking place under the Pieta 100 banner after eight successful years. The TM Cycle was established by the Mulligan family in memory ofTomás Mulligan, the popular Dublin gaelic footballer who died by suicide in 2007.
“We want to put our full support behind the Pieta 100,” said Tom Mulligan senior. “It’s a fun family event to celebrate the life of a loved one and then raising funds for Pieta House is a real bonus on top of that. We want to help Pieta House achieve its goal of getting suicide rates as close to zero as we can.”
Kieran O’Brien, National Events Co-ordinator at Pieta House, said there was an “unbelievable amount of support” for last year’s cycles.
“FUN DAY OUT”
“It’s a fun day out and it is fantastic to see so many people coming out to support Pieta House. It’s also great to hear people telling you that they took up training in the weeks leading up to the cycle. It’s coming to the end of the season for most of cyclists now, so I’d say for most of those who take part it’s a fun sportive,” he said.
“Last year we had three venues and 1,430 cyclists, so it would be wonderful this year if we could get closer to 5,000 taking part.”