Donegal 'gears' up for first Pieta 100 Cycle Challenge

"It's about starting and finishing a journey in a time that suits you"

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Donegal 'gears' up for first Pieta 100 Cycle Challenge

The route is set and entries are streaming in for the annual charity cycle that raises much-needed funds for Pieta House.

Taking place on Sunday, September 10th to align with World Suicide Prevention Day the event will be in six key locations across Ireland.

Following the opening of the charity’s new Letterkenny centre, local cyclists will be able to take on the 50km or 100km challenge for the first time this year.

Since 2015, over 2,800 participants have saddled up to take on the Pieta 100 Cycle challenge, riding 50 or 100km to help raise vital funds for the life-saving services of Pieta House.

This year, every kilometre cycled will also be added to the International Association of Suicide Prevention’s “Cycle Around The Globe” to raise awareness of the problem of suicide. This year’s event will take place in six locations across Ireland: Cork, Dublin/Kildare, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary/Offaly, and, for the first time, Donegal.

The charity cycle comes as Pieta House announces it is to add two more therapists to its core staff in the Letterkenny centre to cope with growing demand for its services in the county, and funds raised by the cycle will help the charity keep these services free of charge for all who need them.

The centre provides free therapy for people in suicidal crisis, those who are self-harmong, and people who have been bereaved by suicide.

Those signing up for the Donegal challenge will take in some of the breathtaking scenery on the Wild Atlantic Way, leaving from Letterkenny IT and heading toward Ramelton and Rathmullan before going up beautiful Knockalla and into Fanad, then taking in Picturesque Ballymastocker Bay, which has been voted one of the world’s most scenic beaches.

The route will then come up through Kerrykeel on the banks of beautiful Mulroy Bay into Milford, before weaving through the village of Kilmacrennan and back into Letterkenny via Trentagh and Glenswilly.

Pieta House CEO Brian Higgins is no stranger to cycling long distances, having celebrated Pieta House’s 10th anniversary by travelling 1,000km on a rickshaw, as well as doing the Ring of Kerry cycle in the past. He explains that the Pieta 100 is a unique, welcoming event which is open to individuals and teams of all abilities.

"One of the key things is how the team spirit outshines the competitive spirit," he said, "It’s about starting and finishing a journey in a time that suits you. That’s actually a reflection of how our work at Pieta House is done. It’s about engaging with people and sitting alongside them on a journey which can take as long as it needs to for that person. We will travel alongside them, supporting them.”

He added, "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."

Pieta House is encouraging would-be challengers to sign up online as soon as possible as places on the cycle are strictly limited, and the CEO stressed the importance of the event for the charity: "I know just how much commitment and effort goes into a big cycle. 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."

For more information and to register for the Pieta 100 Cycle, visit www.pieta100cycle.com, or call Pieta House in Letterkenny on 074 91 26594