Marathon man Mark takes on ultra challenge

By Maurice Garvey

LONG-distance runner Mark Conlon is taking on his latest challenge – an ultra marathon from Belfast to Dublin to help a young girl with a debilitating illness.

Clondalkin resident Mark Conlon, who has completed multiple marathon feats for charities over the years, will tackle the 104-mile route on March 27, to help raise funds for Donaghmede girl Freya Doyle (9).

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Freya Doyle and (right) Mark Conlon, who will be running an ultra marathon

“At six weeks old, Freya was having 200-300 seizures a day,” said Mark.

“Her parents Ciara and Greg were told her life expectancy at best could be only two years.


A diagnosis of Ohtahara Syndrome shattered their world. Freya cannot walk, talk, feed herself, and is incontinent. She is fully dependent on others and requires daily medication to keep her seizures at bay.

Despite this Freya is now nine years old and is a happy little girl.”

Mark told The Echo he is trying to raise €40,000, for renovations to Freya’s family home, which is “no longer suitable for Freya’s complex needs.”

“She now needs to be hoisted and has got heavy for her parents. She desperately needs a downstairs bedroom, wetroom, and space to move her wheelchair from room to room.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to carry Freya upstairs for washing, and near impossible and dangerous getting her out of the bath.”

Mark said the family have a council grant for half of the money required for the renovation project, but need public help for the other half.

“I’m looking for sponsors and local businesses from Clondalkin and Ballyfermot to get on board,” said Mark.

Over €15,000 of the €40,000 goal has been achieved so far on Freya’s GoFundMe page.

To donate, visit Go Fund Me.

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