‘The finish line is only the start’

Loop The Lakes starts from Killeshandra Leaguers’ GFC pitch on Saturday, September 4, at 12 noon.

When participants line up to take part in what will be the tenth ‘Loop The Lakes’ in Killeshandra later this week, they’ll do so with the memory of loved ones who have sadly lost their lives through suicide over that period.

“Every community in Ireland has felt the loss,” explains Ciaran Burns, a member of the Loop The Lakes organising committee, which starts from Killeshandra Leaguers’ GFC pitch on Saturday, September 4, at 12 noon.

After last year’s seven event fell through due to Covid restrictions, the traditional registration fee is being waived this year. However, eager to still support the amazing work done by their two chosen charities - SOSAD Cavan and Pieta House - organisers are asking everyone to buy a ticket for a chance at winning one of three fabulous prizes kindly sponsored by local businesses.

First prize for the Loop the Lakes 10th Anniversary Draw raffle is a family holiday with CABU cabins or €1,000 cash; second is a shopping spree voucher for €300, sponsored by Cillian O’Reilly of Cavan Sports Clinic; while third prize is a ‘Family Day Adventure’ with Cavan Adventure Centre.

Along with being able to enter the draw online, paper tickets will be available on the day of walk or run along one of Cavan’s most scenic looped walks in the heart of the lakelands region.

The path will take participants through Killeshandra town and towards Killykeen, before directing them back into the town through forestry paths. Road runners or trail/trekking shoes can be used.

Ciaran remembers back to when locals were first inspired to act a decade ago, after the community mourned the tragic death of Leaguers’ treasurer Cathal O’Rourke.

He is astonished at how much the event has grown over those years, to become one of the largest annual walks or runs in the county.

Ciaran also reiterates the important message behind the event: “It has gone from a community event to a county event, and one that people have really taken to, because of the unique setting it takes place, but also the reason why it’s taking place as well. It’s important to remember the finish line is only the start.”

For 2021, with restrictions easing, Ciaran says organisers are planning to stagger the start times of participants, between 11.30am and 12 noon to remain within current public health guidelines and better facilitate social distancing.

While not the same as before, when there was live music played and plenty of festivities for participants to enjoy, Ciaran assures there will be fun enroute for runners and walkers. “It will be different, but one thing that won’t have changed is the fun aspect. We’ll have ice-cream and takeaway fruit and things like that as well. They won’t go home hungry anyway.”