Clondalkin man running the city marathon to help the homeless
By Maurice Garvey
FORMER soldier Mark Conlon will wear a tracksuit and sleeping bag in the Dublin Marathon in an effort to drum up awareness of the need for homeless services in Clondalkin.
Bawnogue resident Mark (33), ran 20 marathons in 20 weeks last year to raise funds for Pieta House.
On Sunday, October 30, he will don a tracksuit, sleeping bag and monkey hat, for the 26-mile SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon, in aid of the Simon Community.
“With winter coming, I just want to make more people aware of homeless people out there, and if they see someone on the street, to maybe give them a cup of tea or coffee,” said Mark.
“I felt we didn’t do enough in the army to help the homeless. When I came back from overseas, I would often go into Temple Bar, and donate €20 to a homeless person.”
Whilst Mark acknowledges homelessness is a national crisis, he feels more needs to be done closer to home in order to address the problem.
He continued: “I think personally, we need a place in Clondalkin for the homeless, for drugs, for women and children. We need separate shelters and proper counselling. People who are homeless are afraid to go into shelters, with drugs and alcohol being taken in full view. They are not safe.
“The sleeping bag will carry different messages from the homeless community, and I will donate my medal to the Simon Community, where hopefully it will inspire others.”