TOMMORROW (1 April) Kildare and Ireland legend Jamie Heaslip will begin a virtual, actual marathon and run 26 miles and 385yds (42.2km) over the entire month of April in aid of the homeless charity Focus Ireland.
The Next Step virtual marathon is encouraging the public to get active and raise vital funds for the charity, and Focus Ireland is asking the public to walk, jog or run the 42.2km distance of a marathon throughout the month of April. Participants track their progress digitally over the 30 days of April whilst fundraising for Focus Ireland.
“I am delighted to team up with Focus Ireland for ‘The Next Step’ which offers a great opportunity to get active in the spring sunshine whilst also raising vital funds for a worthy cause,” said the Newbridge College old boy Heaslip. “Participants have complete flexibility over how they complete the marathon, by choosing to complete it in four hours, four days, or four weeks and whether they wish to walk, jog or run the 42.2km distance,” said ambassador Jamie.
This is the second year of The Next Step and last year the charity raised €60,000 through 350 participants.
Since 2014, there has been a 165% increase in child homelessness and there are currently 970 families experiencing homelessness in Ireland, of which 2,327 are children.
In total, there are currently 8,313 people experiencing homelessness in Ireland.
In 2020, Focus Ireland helped over 1,100 households to secure a home and also prevented nearly 400 households (194 of them families) from losing their homes and entering homelessness.
The charity is working hard to support these families and relies heavily on public donations to ensure it can carry out its work.
To sign up, log onto thenextstep.focusireland.ie/register and get your own personal fundraising page where your friends, family and colleagues can donate. You can also track your fitness progress on your page or connect your page to Strava.
Once you finish the marathon, you will get a digital certificate of completion for all your hard work helping to fight homelessness.