A CORK-based charity event taking place along the scenic Sheep’s Head Way is being backed by BBC presenter Graham Norton.
The Irish broadcaster and author has offered his support to all the participants in the 15.5km off-road run and walk, taking place in Ahakista this summer.
Graham has a home in Ahakista village where he spends much of the summer.
First held in 2015, The Sheep’s Head Challenge will begin and finish at the Tin Pub in the tiny West Cork village.
‘My personal Sheep’s Head challenge is normally trying to walk home from the Tin Pub, so I’m in awe of all the runners and walkers taking part in this year’s challenge,’ said Bandon man Graham.
‘It is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the stunning area while raising vital money to improve people’s lives.’
With Pieta House among the beneficiaries of the event, the Sheep’s Head Challenge on June 29th is expected to attract walkers and runners of all abilities.
The mountainous course climbs to 436m and overlooks Dunmanus Bay to the east and Bantry Bay to the west.
A total of 179 walkers and runners completed the inaugural challenge four years ago, and race organiser Declan Whooley hopes to see a similar flood of support for the event.
‘Last time around, some people felt apprehensive beforehand about their ability to get around, but everyone was blown away by the route,’ he said.
‘From locals who weren’t as familiar with the terrain as they might have been, to the first timers in the area, the feedback was incredibly positive. It is also a great opportunity to fundraise for such worthy causes,’ he added.
As well as Pieta House, beneficiaries of the event include Muintir Bhaire Sea Scouts and Muintir Bhaire Foroige club.
‘The demand for our service is forever growing and Pieta house receives roughly 15pc of its funding from the government; the other 85% is made up from the generosity of the public,’ Darran Coyle Garde of Pieta House said.
‘On average it costs €1,000 to go through the service, so for every €1,000 raised that is one person who has been helped.’
Online registration is €20 and on-the-day registration is €25, with a €10 entry fee for participants under the age of 18.
Water stations will be placed at numerous points along the route with light refreshments available at the end of the course.