Former Irish international Lisa Jacob, along with triathlete Nikki Dorey, will be the first all-female duo to cycle the gruelling ultra-distance 2,150km non stop “Race Around Ireland” (www.racearoundireland.com).
The pair will alternate cycling three hours on and three hours off for 132 hours, or 5.5 days straight, starting on Sunday, August 28.
Both girls are strongly passionate about mental health, so they are also fundraising €100,000 for one of Ireland’s leading mental health charities Suicide or Survive.Also very prevalent, especially with the recent referendum on marriage equality, is the closely related association between mental health and LGBT equality, especially in the youth demographic.
The duo are in a long term relationship and have a personal understanding of the mental health issues associated with the LGBT community.
The event and the girls uniquely hit the themes of, ultra-distance racing, cycling, high performance athletes / professionals, mental health, charity, LGBT, and fantastic adult role models for younger people.
Speaking about the race Caroline McGuigan, founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive, is full of praise for what they are doing.
“What Nikki and Lisa are doing is truly inspirational. They have dedicated months of their lives to training, night and day, rain or shine. What they are now embarking on is a true testimony to their incredible generosity and determination to make Ireland a better place.
“They have inspired us enormously with their courage and I know they will inspire countless others. The funds they are raising are so important as we continue to work together to address the tremendous pain and suffering associated with mental health and suicide in Ireland. We encourage everyone to get behind these heroes.”
Jacob hails from Enniscorthy, Wexford. She grew up there and went to school in Kilkenny College as a boarder. Sport was a big part of her life from early on, and while success came in many sports, hockey won out as the main sport towards the end of her school years.
At 19 years old and in college in UCD studying Psychology, she received a call up to the Irish squad, here she became a pillar of the team for over 10 years, gaining 139 caps for her country.
Sporting success continued after her hockey career, with a call up to the Irish Rugby 7s team where she was a contracted player for a year. She now coaches hockey with Genesis and is living with her girlfriend Dorey, and is working as an executive coach at The Performance Hub, delivering high performance workshops, motivational talks, and one-to-one coaching.
“I have always had 2016 as a milestone year in my mind. As an elite athlete, I operated in Olympic cycles, and probably felt I had the energy to be competitive until 2016.
“In the last year my priorities changed, and qualifying for Rio was no longer what I really wanted. I wanted more time with the important people in my life, more focus on my career, and more control of my own schedule.
“Why the Race Around Ireland? It scared me, which meant I should probably do it. I guess mostly it’s a self-exploration. How will I react when things are hard? What will I learn about myself and others that will serve me well for the rest of my life? Where will this amazing journey take me? What difference can I make to people along the way? “
People can find out more and donate online at www.cyclearoundireland.ie