Thursday 2nd July 2020: With the increase in numbers of cyclists in Ireland since Covid-19 hit, organisers of The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle have launched a #FinishLineFantasy challenge in an effort to further encourage cycling amongst the Irish population, and to encourage participants to recreate their own finish on Saturday July 4th 2020, marking the original date of the 2020 cycle.
The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle organisers have not one, but two prizes for the winners of the challenge. The grand prize is a brand-new road bike sponsored by O’Sullivan Cycles, Killarney to the value of €1,000 as well as entry for the 2021 event, a jersey and a neck buff for The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2021 (#ROKCC2021). The runner up will also receive entry to #ROKCC2021, a jersey and a neck buff.
To enter, participants are asked to take a photo of their recreated ‘finish line’ with family or friends, share it on Saturday 4th July 2020 on their social media channels, and tag the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle with the hashtag #FinishLineFantasy. They are also encouraging creativity and humorous photos while of course adhering to social distancing guidelines. Winners will be announced Tuesday, 7th July 2020.
While the actual fundraising cycle event is not taking place this year, the idea is to encourage participants to get some practice in before what promises to be the cycle event of the year on Saturday 3rd July 2021.
The volunteer-led charity cycle has raised over €17 million for more than 160 charities since it began 37 years ago, and in more recent years, over €1 million per annum. Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of this year’s event, they are unable to fundraise in the same capacity for their carefully chosen charities. This has had a knock-on effect for charities including St Francis Special School and the Kerry branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.
Fiona Carroll, Special Needs Assistant at St Francis Special School, aiming to raise funds for a dedicated school bus for the children said: “As we all re-emerge back into the ‘new normal’ and the additional stress that this may bring, we can only imagine what it feels like for children with extra needs and with that, it is even more essential now to have our own school bus. The Ring Of Kerry Charity Cycle and the ‘Cycle For Us We Need A Bus campaign’ have never meant more to us than they do now.”
Chairperson of Down Syndrome Kerry, Kevin Griffin also said they would be losing out on funds for vital member services this year: “As we receive no state funding, we rely on the spirit of generosity that is generated from events such as the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle.
Funds received in the past from the cycle have enabled us to provide and maintain vital services such as Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy, and have also helped us to invest in research and development projects such as training and employability for our adults affected by Down Syndrome.”
Both charities have said they are hopeful for the future as they remain charity partners ahead of next year’s event.
Chairperson of the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle Committee, Bridget McGuire said that “We are extremely disappointed that we couldn’t hold this year’s event due to Covid-19. We would like to thank once again those who registered this year, all of our amazing volunteers and our charities for their ongoing support.
We really hope that people get on board with our #FinishLineFantasy Challenge (while of course, keeping it local and in small groups adhering to social distancing) as it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends, go for a cycle, have a bit of fun and who knows, win some impressive prizes.” Ms McGuire said.
“We are already looking forward to next year’s event and to welcoming old friends back and perhaps seeing some new faces at the start line. We are encouraging people to save Saturday 3rd July 2021 for the cycle.” she concluded.
The charity cycle is one of the largest of its kind in the country, with thousands taking to the winding roads and hills of Kerry on one of the most picturesque but challenging 170km cycle routes in Ireland. Each year, the committee selects a number of charities and the 2020 nominated charities (below) will now be the beneficiaries for 2021.
The main beneficiary charities for 2021 are:
- Ard Chúram Day Care Centre, Listowel – A daycare service that operates from Monday to Saturday and caters for older people in a purpose-built centre in Greenville, Listowel.
- Banna Rescue – A voluntary inshore and land rescue unit covering one of the busiest and best beaches in the country.
- Breakthrough Cancer Research – An Irish medical research charity focused on raising vital funds for cancer supports and services.
- Cúnamh Iveragh – A respite home for adults with special needs in South Kerry.
- Down Syndrome Ireland (Kerry branch) – Helping people with Down Syndrome to make their own futures as bright and independent as possible by providing them with education, support and friendship every step of the way.
- St Francis Special School – Providing educational programmes in Beaufort for students with moderate/severe/profound general disabilities.
Follow The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle on Facebook or Instagram @RingofKerryCharityCycle
or Twitter @ringokerrycycle #ROKCC2021 #FinishLineFantasy