By Emma Connolly
HIKING to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free standing mountain, is a big enough challenge for most people.
But two West Cork-based men are pushing themselves even further – and are planning to also run the world’s highest half marathon route, from the summit back down to the national park below.
Southern Star managing director Sean Mahon and computer engineer in UCC, Killian Walsh, are embarking on a six-day hike and climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, with an altitude of 19,340ft, this August.
They’ve organised the trip through the Pat Falvey Adventure Travel company and it was the acclaimed Cork born adventurer and mountaineer who came up with the idea for the two to take on the half marathon element.
So while the rest of the group will take two days to descend, Sean and Killian will aim to cover the 13 miles in just a few hours.
Sean, who turns 48 this month, is citing a ‘mid-life crisis’ as his motivation! He’s also raising funds for Bantry Hospice and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
‘My fantastic sister Victoria has suffered from multiple sclerosis from her mid twenties and I’ve never heard her once complain about her condition, even though it causes her discomfort and difficulty with some everyday tasks, as well as worry for the future – I’m lucky to have my health and to be able to give Kilimanjaro a ‘lash’ as they say, so I’d like to try and raise some funds too for MS research and support for sufferers as well as Bantry Hospice who do amazing work locally,’ he said.
Clonakilty-based Killian, son of the late Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh, is an experienced runner and cyclist who said he felt the ‘mountains calling’ him and is taking it on as a ‘personal challenge.’
High altitude, along with the potential for injury while running on steep terrain are their main challenges, but with support from Pat they’re up for the challenge.
•To support Sean’s fundraising see www.gofundme.com/seankilichallenge19