Maire’s Marathon Experience

Maire Gilmartin is 26-year-old Londoner with strong links to Portmagee, Co. Kerry, where her parents are from and where her extended family live. During lockdown she applied to the lottery for a place in the London Marathon and secured her spot!

“I was so surprised after receiving the email saying I’d got a place in the event but also terrified as it meant that I suddenly had to get training. Having never run more than 5km before this point, the leap to 26.2 miles seemed very daunting. However, it was a fantastic day and certainly one I will never forget – despite the painful last few miles!”

Challenging Herself for Crann

Maire wasn’t just challenging herself to her first marathon, she was also taking up the challenge to raise funds for Crann’s Fully Accessible Playground & Leisure Area.

The Crann Centre supports Maire’s cousin Hannah, who has Cerebral Palsy, and who is an active member of Crann’s Breaking Barriers Theatre Group, so her decision to support Crann was an easy one.

“Hannah has been attending the Crann Centre for the last couple of years and we have often chatted about the various activities she takes part in at the centre, particularly the theatre group. Once Hannah mentioned that the Crann Centre was developing the new Playground and Leisure Area, we decided that this was the perfect cause to focus the fundraising towards.”

Picture of Maire Gilmartin, a woman in her 20s, with her London Marathon medal and sign reading "Come on Mars!"

Once she started fundraising, Maire found that generosity is contagious. Friends and family in the UK and Ireland alike donated generously to her JustGiving page, and locals and businesses in Kerry donated through collection buckets. She ended up extending her initial target of £1,500 (approx. €1,770) twice!

“The support and generosity shown by friends, family, colleagues and even strangers has been incredible, with a grand total of over €5k being raised. I cannot thank everyone enough for their kind donations – particularly the Portmagee and Valentia communities for raising almost €1,000 in the collection buckets! Every donation helped motivate me to get out and train, particularly on a very wet and windy run around Valentia Island whilst I was there on my “Summer” holidays!”

Maire is pictured during her marathon run. She's smiling and gives the camera a thumbs up as she runs past. She wears shorts and a red shirt with the number 8860 on it.
The first step can be the hardest

She found the challenge of fundraising a little intimidating at first, “This was my first time fundraising for an event on this scale and so was a bit unsure how to get it all started. However, the support and guidance provided by the team at the Crann Centre has been outstanding and ensured the whole process was smooth and highly enjoyable.

They assisted with setting up my JustGiving page and frequently shared posts on social media to raise awareness and reach out to their online communities.

It has been an absolute pleasure to fundraise with the team and I would encourage anyone who is considering fundraising for the Crann to reach out to Orla and Shirley for some ideas and for their ongoing support along the way.

I’m proud to have helped contribute to the development of the Playground & Leisure Area, and both myself and Hannah are again extremely grateful for all the support shown throughout the last few months – thank you very much!”

Thank You Maire!

We’re incredibly grateful to Maire for running the London Marathon to fundraise for our Fully Accessible Playground & Leisure Area. The money she has raised will make a true difference in the lives of families with neuro-physical disabilities. Thank you so much to Maire and all of her supporters!

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Inspired by Maire?

You don’t need to run a marathon to make an impact. Whether you’re a casual exercise enthusiast, or your skills lie in baking, however you fundraise, you’ll know you’re helping create a world where families with disabilities can play, grow and learn together.

See how you can fundraise in your community, or contact Crann’s Fundraising Team today for support and information on starting your own fundraiser.

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