'Live like Lynch would': Craig's legacy lives on as heartwarming challenge comes to a close

The Craig Lynch For Life Challenge has been a huge success.

‘YOU NEED TO live your life just like Craig would… just like Lynch would.’

That’s a phrase that’s been thrown around plenty in the town of Shercock, the county of Cavan and much further afield over the past 12 months or so.

‘Feel the fear and do it anyway,’ another. As is, ‘Just race’ and more recently, ‘Just move.’

craig Craig Lynch died in a car accident last September. Source: Shercock AC.

Today marks the final day of the Craig Lynch For Life Challenge, a memorial event for the late Irish athlete and a fundraiser for his club, Shercock Athletic Club.

One year on from his tragic passing, the Lynch family and his fiancée Amy set out to honour Craig’s memory and celebrate his life for each of the 30 days of September, in what should have been his 30th year.

#FindYour30 was the challenge put to each participant, promoting daily exercise with most opting to engage in 30 minutes of walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga, dancing, gym work, a home workout, or whatever else, every single day.

Progress was tracked and updates offered in a Facebook group which now boasts over 2.9k members across the world, as people’s memories of Craig, and photos, videos and stories from his life and colourful athletics career are regularly shared.

Some really incredible things were done across the local community and beyond, as a life taken too soon was honoured and fondly remembered and an amazing legacy lived on.

People living with immeasurable loss came together to turn a terrible situation into something positive, with a still-heartbroken community showing huge strength and spirit.

Shercock AC’s track was buzzing with activity, groups of people ‘finding their 30′ each and every hour of the day; morning, noon and night. The nearby Greaghlone Lake became a hub of activity, groups of people braving the cold at sunrise to start their day with a dip.

Those who were lucky enough to have their lives touched by Craig set personal goals and smashed them, many coming up with hugely impressive challenges of their own. One of such was an old athletics colleague in Shane McCormack – the mastermind behind Phil Healy’s phenomenal success and Tipperary’s speed coach for their 2019 All-Ireland senior hurling final success — who cycled from Wexford to Shercock on Tuesday, after a strict training regime.

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400m races were ran off, along with 10km relays as everyone came together to #JustRace, a concept Craig lived by and a nod to the 2016 Irish Indoor 60m champion’s competitive philosophy, or #JustMove in the spirit of the challenge.

As it launched, the Lynch family invited every participant to donate €30 to the fundraiser, with funds going towards the construction of a new indoor facility at Shercock AC. (Over €36,000 had been raised through the GoFund Me page at the time of writing.)

The track was like a second home for Craig through his 29 years, so this comes as a fitting tribute to his memory: helping the club that helped him so much.

“Craig will always be linked with Shercock Athletic Club,” as his former coach, John McGeever, told The42 for an in-depth tribute piece last year.

“Everyone will remember Craig and have that memory of Craig as a juvenile training up on the football pitch. Before we ever got to the track, I remember him up there. All the years on the track, when it was a cinder track and then when it was a tartan track, he was always there.

“He is part of the culture, the heritage, the memory and the story of everybody who knew him growing up.

“He’s a reference point too. I know that there are plenty of young, talented athletes coming through that didn’t know him as anything more than a photo on a page, but I think his memory will live on for a very long time in Shercock.”

That, it undoubtedly will, and it certainly has through the Craig Lynch For Life challenge. 

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Emma Duffy

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