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Marathon man to swim length of Ireland for late football-mad dad

By Eimear Rabbitt

An Irishman is gearing up for the challenge of a lifetime - a swim that will take him the length of the island in memory of his late father, former Football Association of Ireland (FAI) president Milo Corcoran.

Alan Corcoran will kick off the 500km challenge from the Giant's Causeway, Co Antrim this May and will swim up to six hours a day until he reaches his hometown of Dunmore East in Co Waterford.

Alan is taking on the swim to raise money for the charities who helped his dad before he passed away last summer after a brave cancer battle.

The swim is the equivalent of 10,000 Olympic swimming pools or swimming the English Channel 16 times.

The 26-year-old said he wanted to come up with "something more difficult" having completed 35 marathons in 35 consecutive days in 2012.

"This is where the idea of the swim came from as nobody has swam the full length of the coast before and I hadn't had swimming lessons since I was 11 so I knew it would be tough as hell," Alan told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It's obviously been a very steep learning curve and my body hates me for it, but I'll get there," he said.

Alan is taking on the swim with the hope of raising €50,000 for the Irish Cancer Society and the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin who gave great support to his football-mad father after his stroke in 2011.

"Football was his passion. He was a football man to the core and would watch it all day everyday if he could. He really worked hard to try and improve football in Waterford and Ireland, while working with Waterford United and the FAI," said Alan.

Former president Milo was key to establishing the cross-border Setanta Cup, which he was the chairman of up until his death. He also helped establish and run the Football Village of Hope in Israel which helped build relationships between Israeli and Palestinian children. I've heard nothing but praise for his efforts which makes me very proud of his achievements and inspires me to at least try and live an equally impressive life," Alan added.

Milo passed away last August at the age of 65 and Alan began his training for the gruelling swim the following month.

"It's been an intense few months in all aspects of my life, but I'm glad I committed to this positive charity challenge where I feel I can channel that hurt to try and better myself," he said.

"Last September I was honestly wrecked swimming two lengths of the pool. Last weekend, I completed my longest training session to date which was 400 lengths (10,000m).

"Having done that sort of distance I know having to cover it on a daily basis until I complete the 500km is going to be the most difficult physical challenge I have and probably ever will take on," he said.

Alan, who works as a town planner, said he is not nervous about the challenge as of yet, but is concentrating on his training and trying to secure sponsors as well as a support crew and campervan for the event, which kicks off on May 13.

For more information and to support the charity event, visit www.marathonman.co.

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