One million steps in 24 hours, for Pieta House and for Sarah
"Its for our 'one in a million', because that's what Sarah is to us"
A group of childhood friends, scattered around the world, will unite to walk one million steps in 24 hours this Saturday in memory of a friend they lost to suicide three years ago, and to raise vital funds for Pieta House.
Team SJB, the initials of Sarah Jane Branagan who sadly passed away in May 2017, have chosen their target for one simple reason: they want to honour someone who is one in a million.
The 15 friends will be aiming to complete the challenge in Dublin, Meath, Kildare Toronto, San Diego,Vancouver, Sydney and Beijing, and five of the group have pledged a mammoth 100,000 steps, or 80 kilometres, the equivalent of almost two marathons.
Speaking to JOE, one of Sarah's friends Brian Malone gave us an insight into how big a challenge they face; "80 kilometres a day is just madness! With some of us starting at 4 o'clock in the morning just so you can get to bed later on that night!"
Sean Marry, also a member of Team SJB, also told JOE that they know just how difficult it's going to be; "We've seen that it's possible, just very, very, very tough! We took the inspiration that this is a genuine challenge, it's going to be really tough on us."
The added challenge for the group, particularly those in Ireland, will be restrictions on movement and the need to follow the current public health advice. Brian admits that's a challenge; "The whole added thing of the radius... when we planned this it was a 2km radius, it's now been increased to 5, so we have to follow that.
"There's now the whole mental issue, we're going to be doing a certain amount of laps, I think I worked out it's about 8 and a half to 9 laps of the biggest loop I can do around Skerries... you can only do that so much!", Brian added.
As part of their fundraising drive for Pieta House, Team SJB are also encouraging people to take part and pledge steps where they can to help them reach that target of one million. Their message on that is simple; "One of our main call-outs is to join us on the day, to do your steps, send it to us and everyone has just been so on board with getting out that day and getting the steps in, which is brilliant to see", Sean explains.
"It's such a great feeling of pride seeing the community back you up like that. It just shows... we definitely felt that community togetherness unfortunately when Sarah left us back in 2017, and it's kind of that same feeling of people rallying around together all over again."
If you want to have your steps included this Saturday 23 May, send a picture of your total to @onemillionstepsforsarah on Instagram or email your steps to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also donate to Team SJB and Pieta House on their JustGiving page.