Mallusk Harriers chairman, Neil Campbell, reflects on the epic challenge that was 24in24 2019, and pays tribute to those who made it possible.

For the 15 runners who undertook this year’s 24 this was the best job of all – we got to do something we love anyway. But now I’ve had a chance to digest all that happened on the day, I’d like to thank everyone involved in making it so memorable.

The main aim was, of course, to raise vital funds for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. We’ve achieved that and will continue to do so. Once again we have been blown away by the generosity of runners at each and every parkrun. It was amazing to have so many turn up to run with us, cheer us on, or, most importantly, donate their hard earned cash. Thank you all so very much.

I want to thank everyone who was involved in any way for helping with everything and anything that was needed in the planning stage and on the day. I won’t name everyone as there are so many and I don’t want to miss anyone out. You know who you are and so do we – thank you. However, there are some people I do need to mention because without them this event would either not have happened or been as easy on the runners as it was. Laura and Leeanne took the lead on this year’s event, working on it for months before the big day. They worked throughout the 24 hours, with no rest or a sneaky snooze – they just survived on caffeine. Even now, as the runners enjoy their well-earned recovery time, they still haven’t finished – the loose ends to tie up are many! They also had an amazing team to support them: Karen McKee, Suzanne Brennan, Ian Simpson, Alan Ladd and Paul Skillen. With this core group of organisers anything is possible. What they pulled off was epic and we thank them all.

We’re also indebted to our drivers Stephen and David. They were fantastic and undertook their own ultra challenge by manning the bus between them for the whole duration of the event….thanks guys. Our nurses and trainee comedians Mairead, Sarah, Pamela, Fidelma and Marie must be mentioned too for all their assistance, humour and very strange conversations.  Then there was our social media guru Kevin who kept the waiting public updated on the day with videos and pictures throughout the journey….not an easy task.

All our amazing volunteers on the bus and in their cars were always happy to help and never too far away with some lollies, chips, coffees, pizzas and everything else, which were always very much appreciated. As I said at the start, the runners themselves were doing something they love. Then they hated it, then loved it again and maybe a few more times in between. Some even ended up running their furthest distance ever.

Finally, I’d like to thank all our amazing sponsors and contributors. Decathlon, Briggs Equipment, KBS IT and Office Solutions, EA Davies Insurance, The Hungry Vegan, Ashers Bakery, Cryo Fitness Hub, Print NI, and Pizzarella. We really appreciate everything you guys have done for us. Now we’re looking forward to counting all the money raised and passing it on to the NI Children’s Hospice. Hopefully it can help someone less fortunate than ourselves.