Eager walkers set off even earlier than planned at Mountmellick’s Darkness into Light 5k walk last Saturday. An estimated 650 walkers and runners took to the Mountmellick streets in aid of Pieta House, who provide free suicide counselling at crisis centres around Ireland.
In their eagerness to get going after 4am, walkers headed out the gate, before organisers even had a chance to cut a starting ribbon. Speeches prepared by Pieta House’s Siobhan Galvin, sponsors Electric Ireland, and organisers Susan and John Nelson were left unsaid, as hundreds of yellow t-shirted participants followed each other down the dark Acragar road.
“That was disappointing. There was a delay as cars had to be parked. We were just about to announce it, but we didn’t pick up the microphone in time, It was frustrating, but we will learn for next year,” said John.
Mountmellick was one of twenty nationwide locations for the DIL walk, with an estimated 30,000 people walking nationwide. It takes place at dawn to symbolise the journey from the darkness of depression into light.
While final figures are yet to be totted up, twice as many participants took part in the Mountmellick walk this year. Last year €9,000 was raised there for the charity.
“We were hoping for those numbers, so we were happy about that, people came from all over Laois and Offaly, it was brilliant,” said John.
He thanked the committee, volunteers, Civil Defence, Gardaí, Mountmellick GAA, SuperValu and 4Aces for their support of the walk.