Niall’s 147-mile trek in memory of mum

Niall’s 147-mile trek in memory of mum

10 July 2019

A DRUMANESS man set off on Monday to run 147 miles in one go to the Knock shrine in memory of his mother who died from cancer.

Niall Cochrane is hoping to raise £10,000 for Marie Curie in recognition of the care given to his mother, Roisin, who died last November at the age of 62.

The 31 year-old marketing manager and father-of-one said that running the equivalent of five and a half marathons was his own kind of pilgrimage to the Co Mayo shrine — a place which was very special to his mother.

“I’ve decided to take on this challenge as my mum was a remarkable person and will always be my hero. It will be the furthest I’ve ever ran in one go,” he said.

“I know it will be difficult as it’s also the most personal run that I’ve ever done in memory of the person I love and admire most.”

Niall and his family — father Patrick and sisters Lisa and Sarah — had less than a year to be with Mrs Cochrane after her diagnosis. 

He explained: “When mum was diagnosed it hit us all very hard. She always had health issues, so was never out of the doctors and getting regular check-ups. When the diagnosis came, it wasn’t easy. She was given a year to live and when she took a bad turn last October, she just never recovered.

“Marie Curie helped us so much during this difficult time. They came into our lives during mum’s last few weeks and the nurses helped enormously. We had nurses that came to our home during both the day and night and they made us feel safe. “They provided reassurance that we knew she was getting the best care available and gave the family a break from full time care.”

He said that his mother bore her illness well and as positively as possible, always being more concerned about her family than herself.

He added: “I think the family were more upset than she was. She was trying to stay strong for us, as she always did. Mum also had her faith, which helped her enormously.

“She had spent the last few months planning for everyone else, buying Christmas presents for the grandchildren and making sure the family would be okay. That was mum, always thinking about others.”

Niall’s mother is buried at St Patrick’s Church graveyard in Ballynahinch — from where he began his run at 4am on Monday. He was expecting to make to Knock late last night.

“Mum had always wanted to go to Knock and when she got sick, my sisters and my dad brought her,” Niall explained. “She was so happy, so it seems like a fitting place to cross the finish line. I’m trying to do something good out of something that was so bad.” 

Niall admits it is a big undertaking, but he’s confident of completing it successfully. He will be supported along the way by his father and sisters.

“I have been running since 2009 and normally take part in about 12 marathons a year. The furthest I have run before was 65 miles in an ultra marathon.

“I plan to just keep going and I’ll stop to rest when I need to. Some of the family think I’m mad, but I need to do a big challenge for Mum — just one marathon isn’t enough.”

He added: “Until you see the work that Marie Curie do first-hand, you don’t appreciate how important it is. It’s a horrible time, but the support makes it manageable.

“Mum always wanted to stay at home and Marie Curie nurses enabled that. I want to say thank you to Marie Curie for everything they did for my mum.”

He will be supported along the way by his father and sisters.

To donate to Niall’s charity initiative, please visit