Elish Kelly has sent us details of a fundraising initiative that she is organising to support Br. Colm O’Connell with his work in Kenya, especially at this time of COVID-19.

 

Many members and other local club runners will know Elish from races in the west and nationally. She’s originally from Co Roscommon where she ran with the local Moore AC in younger days and later joined Raheny Shamrock AC.

She has competed successfully over road and cross country.

Among her many running career successes: Elish was first woman home in Fields of Athenry 10k in 2012 in 35:45 having retained her Balla 10k title the previous July in 37:09. She won senior silver in 2013 National 10k in 35:37 and silver o35 National masters cross country in Dunboyne 2014.

Elish says:

“On the 15 August, I am undertaking a 15-hour dawn-to-dusk cycle to raise funds to support the work that is being carried out by Br. Colm. I am hoping that other people will support this fundraiser by undertaking anything from 15 minutes to 15 hours of cycling between the 15 August and the 15 September (more on this below).

 

I know that I do not need to tell you who Br. Colm is. Most know him as trainer to the 800m World Record holder David Rudisha, but Br. Colm is more than an exceptional coach and his support extends beyond the world champions that he has trained.

He works with ‘all’ athletes, taking them through from rural schools to senior level. The majority of his athletes, if not all, come from very humble backgrounds: the same applies to the non-athletes that Br. Colm provides support to.

 

The reason for this fundraising initiative relates to COVID-19 and the impact that it is having on the athletes and other people that Br. Colm helps. For those of us lucky enough to be involved in sport, whether competitively or for fun, most of us do so knowing that, regardless of how we get on, we don’t have to think about where our next meal will come from. As you likely know, this is not the case for the majority of Kenyan athletes: running is their main way of making a living (to put food on the table, a roof over their head, etc.). However, because of COVID-19 there have been no races within or outside of Kenya over the past 4 months for the athletes to complete in.

While World Athletics have announced a new calendar for track and field events that is due to begin in August, it could be 2021 before road racing will recommence, which is bread and butter for most Kenyan athletes.

 

At present, the timeframe for when road racing will resume is still uncertain. Given this, not only are many Kenyan athletes presently without any source of income to fund basic living needs, their future income stream is also very uncertain. On top of this, as bad as COVID-19 is for the individuals that Br. Colm provides support to, because of global warming, Kenya has experienced particular heavy rains, flooding and landslides this year, along with an invasion of locusts, so food security is now a major concern for Kenyans.

 

There is further information on the fundraising initiative at this Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/brcolm/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 

I hope that if this cause appeals to you would you please consider supporting it, and spreading word about it among Mayo AC and other clubs?

 

There are two ways that one can support this fundraiser.

One is to participate in the cycling event between the 15 August and 15 September (anything from 15 minutes to 15 hours) and ask family/friends to support so that you can help to raise funds to assist Br. Colm in his work. Further information on this event can be found at this link:

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1977566629040389/?event_time_id=1977566632373722

 

If people cannot participate in the cycling event, but the cause appeals to them then they can, if they have the ability, make a donation at this Go Fund Me page link:

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-br-colm-o039connell-with-his-work-in-kenya

 

I’m aware that many Irish charities are currently seeking the public’s assistance for their work because COVID-19 has not just heightened the demand for many of these charities’ services, it has also impacted their regular fundraising means.

The current situation in Kenya is very grave though, because of COVID-19, the severe weather conditions that the country has experienced this year and the locust invasion.

On account of this, and just feeling very lucky to be able to play sport and not rely on it for a living, I am willing to step outside of my comfort zone to see if this cause is also of interest to other people”

Elish