Just in time for Father’s Day, Time Out Kids meets Diarmuid OMalley, who, along with fellow runner Neil Munro, is in training for the Arctic Xtreme marathon to raise awareness and a whopping $50,000 for the Cristina Noble Children’s Foundation’s work with kids in Vietnam
What do your wife and kids think of it?
My wife Claire is thankfully very supportive to the cause. I coach the Arabian Knights Rugby club’s under-sixes, which included our eldest Hugh last year and daughter Ava this year. The club has a deep association with CNCF so all the kids, including our own thankfully, are fully aware of the plight of the kids in Vietnam, so our kids think it’s a great idea that dad’s run is going to make such a big difference to these kids’ lives.
What about your training?
We will be preparing for the marathon by gradually building the mileage up on a weekly basis. Training during the summer can be challenging with the heat so getting out early in the morning is key before the sun comes up.
Do your kids help you train?
Our three kids are very sporty so running after them and driving them to and from sports activities keeps my wife and I fit. The kids sometimes cycle with me when I’m going on some of my smaller training runs, they love trying to beat their Dad on their bikes!
And how do you find the time with three kids?
Like anything worth doing you have to make time. Thankfully I’m a real morning person, so all my runs are done early morning and usually finished by the time the kids wake, as I don’t really want my training to encroach too much into valuable family time.
Has fatherhood changed your perspective?
Fatherhood had definitely changed my outlook, and providing for our children is of the utmost importance to me and my wife. Explaining to the kids that there are so many people all over the world that don’t have any of the things that we take for granted each and every day, from simple things like clothes, food and having a roof over our heads. Most of these street kids in Vietnam have no parents, very little food and really struggle to survive, so helping these kids to be given a better opportunity in life is a hugely motivating thing for both Neil and I.
Why did you connect with this particular charity?
I was first introduced to CNCF by Christina Noble’s book Bridge Across My Sorrows many years ago. It was recommended to me by both, my mother and my mother-in-law, so I suppose I had to read it then! Christina’s challenging life and the amount of work she and the foundation have done and continue to do is just staggering. When we decided to run the marathon in the Arctic we were both determined to try and raise a considerable amount of money and that is why we both agreed that $50,000 was the figure we were keen to achieve. This will effectively run the Sun Shine School for some time.
The generosity of people locally and internationally has being nothing short of staggering. So many people have made donations to our justgiving/arcticxtreme site and lots of others such as Voglia, the Armani Hotel, St Regis, Saadiyat Island, Shangri La, Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi, The Westin, Dubai, Fibber Mc Gees, Dubai Irish Golf Society, Virgin Airlines, Dubai Autodrome, Meydan Hotel, Arabian Knights RFC, Lavazza, Emirates Golf Club, and Intercoil have come up with other exciting ways to help raise some badly needed funds.
Will you be taking any special family mementoes with you when you go to the Arctic in Autumn?
I’ll be taking some pictures of the kids and my wife for tough moments on the run. I’ll also be taking our most common O’Malley catch phrase (which will be required I’m sure) to ‘dig in and keep moving’.