SHORTLY after 6.45 am on Sunday morning last, Sebastian Helka, a member of the local Youghal-based South Coast Triathlon Club, took off on his journey of 26.2 miles around the streets of Youghal.
Sebastian is an amateur sprint and Olympic distance triathlete who decided this year to follow the dream of running a marathon. He made this decision to remain consistent in his training as well as to raise much-needed funds for the Emer Casey Foundation.
This wonderful foundation was established in 2006, in memory of Emer Casey. It is supporting the DISCOVARY research consortium which is directly engaged in addressing the pathogenesis of the most silent and deadliest of all cancers affecting women - ovarian and uterine cancer. The foundation’s three main goals are to raise funds for research on ovarian cancer, to help improve patients’ care and to raise awareness of this deadly disease.
The marathon consisted of a loop around the precious town of Youghal, which he did 11 times, starting and finishing his race in Green Park, just outside the Walter Raleigh Hotel.
It was a beautiful morning for a marathon and members of the local Youghal Athletic Club along with coach Martin Drake joined and helped Sebastian to help break his Marathon target of three hours.
There was great support along the course which certainly helped Sebastian. A fantastic athlete, Sebastian showed his class throughout the 26.2-mile journey and when he stopped the clock at the Marathon distance, he was delighted with the end result - a magnificent 2 hours and 46 minutes.
Not bad for his first time, eh?
Shortly after he crossed his winning line, he said: "I feel really tired after that but it was great fun. I had great support, great help, loads of fabulous runners and so many people cheering for me."
"I was training hard for the Cork City Marathon but that was cancelled so I decided to run my virtual marathon for the Emer Casey Foundation. I have great memories of running the Emer Casey Memorial race here in Youghal, my first ever race."
Huge credit must go to Sebastian and everyone who helped out in any shape or form. A day to remember on the beautiful streets of Youghal.
At the time of writing over €1,200 has been raised. You can still donate on https://www.gofundme.com/f/marathon-youghal-for-emer-casey-foundation.