No f*cking marathons.

As some of you might already know, I signed up for The May 50k in April. Given the quarantine situation I decided that this would be a good incentive to keep me active, spread awareness about MS, fundraise for MS and challenge myself. Over the next few blog posts I will be speaking about my journey and experience throughout the May 50k.

What made me decide to do the 50k?

I vividly remember when I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I said in jest that I had no intentions to do, and I quote, “any fucking marathons”. Does this count? Exercise and I have had a turbulent relationship – I’m not exactly a super athlete and my diagnosis was not going to change that! I knew that I needed to become more active and try to keep my symptoms at bay.

              Seven and a half years along with 1 month of quarantine later and there I was setting up my fundraising page (click here if you fancy donating 😉).   I found myself yearning for a challenge. I was longing for a reason to ensure my wellbeing was a priority during the global lockdown. There it was. Not only would I be confronting my beliefs with regard my ability, I acknowledged that I was curious in testing how far I could push my body.

              As someone with MS it can be disheartening at times to see other people achieving their goals while you are a mere spectator. I longed to be able to walk that 5k without obstacles – but, upon hindsight it was fear.  The fear of going for a walk while strolling  because you were slightly off balance that day, or having to watch your feet to make sure that they were  following instructions sent from your brain, being apprehensive about walking too fast  for fear your temperature increased and your vision would blur or become doubled or perhaps you would feel faint. It was never a case of not physically being able to do it but, how the public would view me as giving 40% when I was in fact giving 100%.           

                   And so, as I was preaching to my students about the benefits of exercise and fresh air I decided “fuck it” let’s have a look at this 50k challenge. I whipped out my calculator and saw that if I walked 1.6km every day in the month of May I would reach that target.  I had already been walking 3km/4km every second day or so since March – surely 50km in 31 days was attainable?

              I completed the registration process and shared my fundraising page on social media. That was it. There was no turning back now.  Before I knew it, the money was pouring in. I had reached my target within a few days and it was still climbing! All the well wishes I received were so encouraging. People were, and still are, so generous with their donations. I was, and still am, astounded. I won’t lie, it made me feel under pressure to reach that 50k! However, I think that it also gave me the boost of confidence and encouragement that I needed. I didn’t want to let anyone down, especially myself.

Everyday I repeat the words “I can go the distance”. Say it often enough and you’ll believe it. Do it often enough and it will become true.

Honorable mentions: My brother, Martin, who also signed up to run 100km (show off!) and my sister, Lorna, who comes walking with me.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mairead Downey
    May 18, 2020 @ 18:54:02

    So very proud of this young woman she has never let multiple sclerosis
    Defeat her . Even on her worst days Karolyn knows what
    Her body is telling her Rest Girl a few hours in bed and tomorrow is going to be a better day. Karolyn is the most courageous young woman
    I know. Thank you Martin and lorna for always been at her side
    Encouraging her every step. An extremely lucky mother to have reared ye.


  2. Anne Donnelly
    May 18, 2020 @ 20:20:21

    Well done Karolyn 👏 you are doing amazingly. With the support of a fantastic family you can do this. Big shout out to Martin & Lorna. Keep her lit folks 🙌 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️


  3. Margaret
    May 18, 2020 @ 22:29:20

    Well done Karolyn. You did it in great time, it’s only 18th. Fair play to you .
    Margaret Phelan


  4. Sinead Savage
    May 19, 2020 @ 19:10:56

    Congratulations karolyn well done keep it up. U have great family support.


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