Forty-six-year-old John Bolton is a kayaking instructor and has been a keen kayaker for the last decade. Next month he and his business partner Diane Cooper (30) will take on the gruelling challenge of kayaking around Ireland to help raise funds for hospices in both Offaly and neighbouring Laois.
Portarlington natives John and Diane are behind True Fitness, with branches in Tullamore, Portarlington and Portlaoise. Speaking to the Offaly Independent John said he expects the trip that will see the two cover approximately 1,000 miles to take up to 40 days after they begin on June 22 next.
“It’s something that we’ve been considering for a while,” John explained. “Like everything, there’s no really good time to do it, so last October we just said we’d go for it.”
In the run-up to the challenge John and Diane are training eight time a week. Even at that, failure is possible, John warned.
“It’s a really tough challenge to do,” he said. “It’s 1,000 miles in very inhospitable seas, particularly the Atlantic.”
John and Diane plan to start their circuit of Ireland in either Dublin or Cork, depending on wind direction on June 22.
“We’re going to try get the wind on our back for a few days at the start if possible,” John explained.
The duo are planning on paddling 50km each day. Thirty successful days at that rate would complete the challenge, but John said it’s likely about ten days will be written off by inhospitable water.
“You do need a certain amount of luck,” he added, explaining that what he hopes doesn’t happen is inhospitable water for weeks at a time. “Then we’d be in trouble,” he said.
Though tough to take on, John said both he and Diane are up for the challenge. “We’re both that kind of person,” he said. “We want to see how far we can push ourselves.”
So far the project has raised approximately €3,500 for both Offaly Hospice and Laois Hospice. It’s hoped the event will raise a lot more, but John said he’s decided not to set a target to avoid worrying on his part.
John has done some work for hospice over the years, and he says he’s delighted to be able to help once more with this challenge.
“I know charities have taken a bit of a battering over the last while, but it’s a very worthy charity,” he said. “It touches all families.”
Anyone interested in donating to the cause can do so by picking up sponsorship cards from True Fitness, calling into True Fitness at The Tanyard in Tullamore, or sending a cheque to True Fitness, Unit 10, Portarlington Business Park, Canal Road, Portarlington, Co Laois.
Readers can also see www.truefitness.ie, visit True Fitness on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call John on 086 1055051.