Lourdes to Knock

  • Three Mayo men were among a group of five cyclists who completed a five day 2,000 km ultra cycling challenge from Lourdes to Knock over the weekend.

    Alan Heaney from Swinford, Jonathon Verry from Crossmolina and Gary Bigley from Kiltimagh were joined by Maurice Dore from Mullingar and Gerry Powll from Armagh on the challenge, in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland's regional resource centre in Swinford and mental health charity Pieta House.

    The five men spoke to Midwest News last Monday, ahead of the start of their challenge early on Tuesday morning when they set off from Lourdes, cycling through France, crossing the English channel by ferry, cycling through England and Wales, crossing the Irish Sea by ferry and cycling west to Knock in just 5 days.

    Alan Heaney says it was a tough mental and physical challenge, with a lack of sleep and cycling against the four weather seasons the toughest parts of the challenge.

    The five men were welcomed home by hundreds of supporters on Saturday evening at a homecoming party in Swinford.



  • Three Mayo men will undertake a 2,000 km ultra-cycling challenge this week from Lourdes to Knock.

    Alan Heaney from Swinford, Gary Bigley from Kiltimagh, Jonathon Verry from Crossmolina and Maurice Dore from Co Westmeath  will cycle over 400km per day during the challenge.

    The team will start the challenge from Lourdes tomorrow, making their way up through France, crossing the English Channel by ferry, cycling across England & Wales, ferry across the Irish Sea and cycling West to Knock where they hope to arrive on Saturday evening.

    The men are raising funds Down Syndrome West, based in Swinford, and the suicide prevention charity Pieta House.

    Alan Heaney told Midwest News that they've already had to deal with a jeep breaking down, and bicycles getting damaged in transit, before they start the challenge tomorrow morning.

    The group's initial fundraising target was €20,000 and Alan says they've now revised this upwards, due to level of support they're received from the public already.