It was 3am this morning and the ladies met at St. Mary’s Hall. All 7 gals had gone to bed last night and set the alarms in synchronization for 2.30am! The meeting time was 3am and the all important run was scheduled for 4.15am in Letterkenny.
As one lady (recently married!) slept in, it was just a tad after 3 when the two car loads left the village bound for the Darkness Into Light Letterkenny 2015 run.
Now in it’s 7th year, the Darkness Into Light 5k commences at 4.15am and crosses the line just as the dawn is breaking. Raising money and awareness for Pieta House and also towards the establishment of a Pieta House in Donegal very soon.
Pieta House is the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide opened over nine ears ago with Lucan, Co. Dublin the centre of operations. In the intervening years they have seen and helped almost 17,000 people in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm and opened up seven subsequent centres. Donegal will have it’s own centre in the coming months.
Suicide has become rife in Ireland in recent years, and we all know someone who has been affected. So as we drove to Letterkenny last night, we were all aware that a very special encounter awaited us.
Just before 4am, the 7 said ladies had parked up and made their way among the 2.000+ participants. Shortly after 4.15am the run commenced. As we treked along the athletic park, and then onto the road, nothing could have prepared us for the serenity and peaceful atmosphere that awaited us in Letterkenny park. As we stretched those calves up the hospital hill (as we called it), there were moans and groans from us all; but as we entered the park and saw the candlelit pathway and the ever inspirational sign that simply said ‘HOPE’ there was pure silence, as runners and walkers just thought….everyone seemed to just take a few moments and dwell on what we were all a part of. To say it was a special experience would be an understatement.
Then it was back onto the road and all heads, legs and other parts, down High road and hitting main street as the moon was descending. The sky really was spectacular at this hour and everyone noticed.
Everyone also noticed the enticing smell of bread baking and hunger pangs could be heard throughout the town centre.
The oranges we received as we sauntered along main street were very much welcomed. And then there were the guards! Our brave ladies asked to be arrested just to get the lift back in the squad car. But alas, the gardai this morning noticed the devilish sparkle in these eyes and simply said, ‘not far to go’, and on we ran.
As we turned that final corner and saw the finish line, it was an absolute honour to cross it in line with the other 6 gals. The 7 Muff ladies sailed over the line in unison.
And for one lady, having just started running less than 2 weeks ago, this was certainly an achievement. Hats off to you girl.
Mia and her gals enjoyed refreshments in Letterkenny community centre after and the drive home was memorable thanks to the amazing sunrise just after 5.30am. So by 6am the said gals were all safely home and no doubt in bed or chillaxing for the remainder of the morn.
This was one very special experience and definitely one of the most poignant runs I’ve ever experienced. And I’m quite sure we shall be doing it all over again next year.