Shaun Stewart & Lonan O’Farrell are a two man team who will climb Ireland’s 26 High Peaks aiming to beat the fastest known time of 87 Hours & 50 mins on April 20th when they start the challenge at Mweelrea in Co. Mayo!
These two lads are no strangers to challenges like this, they both took part in the 2017 Race last month & finished 2nd & 4th respectively. They met over 4 years ago and last year they raced i the same team at the Itera Expedition Race. Before the Race 2017, they decided that they would like to take part in a challenge to beat the fastest known time by climbing all of Ireland’s 26 Peaks and that is what they will aim to do.
“The conditions will be challenging” says Shaun, who comes from Ards in Creeslough, “but we believe that we can do it in record time. We have a fantastic team on board to help with sponsorship, organising & support crew. Arthur McMahon from Team Donegal Oil along with Rory Kennedy have been instrumental to working out the logistics, navigation and getting everything we need for the challenge prepared in advance. Donegal Road Trekkers Denis Ferry, Leslie O’Donnell and Paul Doherty will crew with us and they are no strangers to taking on challenges like this and we are delighted to have their experience on board. We also are delighted that Colm Dillon from Manor Motors Opel will provide us with a Opel Vivaro which will house everything we need for the journey. Our aim is to complete the challenge in approx 72 hours, and we are hopeful that we can do it”.
Shaun Stewart & Lonan O’Farrell are currently training hard & preparing for the challenge they both want to be mentally & physically fit. They have a GPS tracker set up so the duration of the challenge will be shared on social media so everyone can track their performance online in realtime.
Mount Errigal will be their last mountain to climb & they hope that there will be a huge show of support in Donegal when they reach the top of Mount Errigal to complete the challenge & record their time.
Commenting on the challenge sponsor & supporting crew Arthur McMahon commented “Myself & Rory are delighted to be able to sponsor & crew for Shaun & Lonan and are delighted that they will undertake this challenge under the Team Donegal Oil umbrella. We have worked out a route together as a team along with the three lads & Denis, Lesie & Paul from the Donegal Road Trekkers that we feel will work for the challenge & do it in the record time the lads have set. We will be travelling through all of Ireland & Northern Ireland & already have received huge support from people all over Ireland who have offered their support at each peak along the way. We would like as many people as possible to join us at Mount Errigal on Sunday 22nd when the lads will climb Mount Errigal and end the challenge at the top”.
Lonan & Shaun have decided that they would also like to raise some money for charity and Lonan has chosen a local Galway charity, The Play Therapy Galway, Lakeview School, Galway. Shaun has chosen Crumlin Children’s Hospital as his charity for the upcoming Team Donegal Oil High Peaks (FKT) Challenge.
Shaun’s niece Cara was born with a condition called Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD). This is a rare birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the femur. The disorder may affect one side or both, with the hip being deformed and the leg shortened. At birth Cara’s right leg was approximately 1.5cm shorter than her left leg. As she continues to grow so does the discrepancy between her leg lengths. Currently her limb difference is 7cm and this will continue to increase. Cara wears a shoe that has a raise of 7 cm and she manages great with these. The good news is we hope that Cara will be able to have lengthening surgeries. It is uncertain yet as to how many surgeries Cara will need as each case of PFFD is individualised and there is no set plan of treatment that suits every patient. Lengthening surgery is a slow and painful process and the Limb Reconstruction Unit in Our Ladies Children’s Hospital, Crumlin have the expertise and skills necessary to carry out these procedures. Cara walked at 13 months and loves running and climbing like every other two year old.
When Shaun told his sister Kathleen & her husband Ronan that he was taking part in the High Peak’s FKT Challenge they were delighted that he wanted to raise money for Crumlin Children’s Hospital as they know that this is going to be such a large part of Cara’s future.
Cara will be there to cheer on Shaun, Lonan and the crew as they take on Errigal the highest peak in Donegal as the final peak to climb on their challenge. “We would really appreciate if you would support this great cause because we all know someone who has & will benefit from Crumlin Children’s Hospital.” says Shaun.
If you would like to support or donate to their charities, you can find all the details on the challenge training, updates & their live progress from 20th – 22nd April by following their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/highpeaksfktchallenge.
Shaun Stewart, Rory Kennedy, Denis Ferry, Leslie O’Donnell & Arthur McMahon