GLENRAVEL man Alec McQuillan is urging local people to take on the ‘Fun Run Of The Glens’ challenge.
Alec is one of 600 plus people who will be taking part in the exhilarating annual cycling and running event on June 15 to help raise funds for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
Alec formerly played for Ballymena United and, back in the 1970s and 80s, he also played gaelic football at inter-county and provincial level. As well as gaelic football and soccer, he also found time to play rugby for Armoy RFC.
He continues to be involved with the local Con Magees, Glenravel Gaelic Club.
His main outdoor pastime now is golf and he is a member of local Ballymena Golf Club.
While not a regular cyclist, he has taken part in the FROG for many years.
Alec is the chairperson of the Glenravel Community Development Association, which is responsible for the operation of the Glenravel Sports and Community Complex – which hosts the FROG event.
The complex includes sports facilities, a health and fitness suite, a community play group and has become established as the social hub for the local community.
A wide range of fitness and activity classes is provided for the local community with some 18 different classes running every week.
“The complex is approaching its 10th anniversary since first opening, and we’re delighted to host FROG, which is the largest annual event we are involved with,” said Alec.
“Cancer Focus NI is a very special organisation to raise funds for. They do a tremendous amount of work supporting local cancer patients and their families, doing cancer prevention work in the community, funding research at Queen’s University and advocating for better health policies.
“Cancer touches so many of us. My brother, Liam, was diagnosed with cancer back in 2005 and had to have a kidney removed.
“This was a very challenging time for him and the family. I can fully appreciate the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on a family.
“Thankfully, he has recovered well and has been participating in FROG for the past 10 years and fully intends to take part in FROG again this year,” he added.
“FROG has grown tremendously since it began 14 years ago and now attracts over 600 cyclists. We are also building up the number of runners taking part, which is an exciting development.
“A lot of preparation goes into organising FROG and the event runs like clockwork.
“Organiser Paul McToal and his team deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the work they have put in over the past 14 years. The event has now become established as a firm date in the cycling calendar for many cyclists and cycling clubs.
“While we are well supported by other cycling clubs from right across Northern Ireland, we’d love even more people to join in.
“The glens is a fantastic route, so much scenery to enjoy, and there’s a real feel-good factor and tremendous buzz.
“The weather has also been very kind to us over the years. What better way to get fresh air, exercise, meet people and help an extremely worthy cause?”
Entrants can choose the FROG cycle, either a 25mile, 50mile or 65 mile route, or FROG legs, a 10km or 10 mile run – there’s something for everyone.
Participants who raise a minimum amount for Cancer Focus NI will receive a special commemorative top. Lunch and refreshments are also provided on the day to keep everyone refuelled.
Cancer Focus NI is the leading local cancer charity committed to tackling cancer by supporting cancer research, providing services for cancer patients and their families and by advising people how to reduce their risk of the disease.
Every penny raised will go towards supporting Cancer Focus NI’s work in the community which includes family support, counselling, a free NurseLine on 0800 783 3339, a bra-fitting service for women who’ve had breast surgery, art therapy, creative writing and other therapeutic and complementary services.
The charity also operates Keeping Well vans that bring health checks and advice into the heart of communities and it also funds major research into breast cancer at Queen’s University Belfast.
Further details about the event and to sign up, visit www.cancerfocusni.org/events/