The 20-4-20 challenge is a group of 30 people trying to do 20,000 km and raise €20,000 for Suicide or Survive.
Mental Health and crippling anxiety issues have been a part of my life for a long time, this culminated five years ago in me being metres away from a suicide attempt. After this close call I knew my life had to change further and I realised as part of my recovery the importance of physical fitness and how much happier I am when I am active. I combined this with volunteering and fundraising for organisations such as First Fortnight, Pieta House and became a See Change ambassador.
Through this work I heard about Suicide or Survive, and I discovered Jumpers for Goalposts (J4G).
I got in contact with Keith from J4G and drove up from Galway for a game in Shankill. Straight away I knew this was something simple but important and that it could help the Mental and Physical Health of others by getting them out and getting connected with like-minded individuals (lads who missed the banter of playing ball for fun).There was twenty to thirty lads running around having a laugh, slagging each other and it was like we all were best friends. I then started a J4G group in Galway and at Christmas we had a charity game and raised money for SOS and food donations for the homeless charity Cope. It was through this I found out about the 20-4-20 challenge.
I wanted to help others and that is why I got involved with 20-4-20. It is a very intriguing challenge, physically and mentally because you must stay focused on your 1000 km target and at the same time you are trying to raise the €1000. The fund raising especially in these times is hard, but it will provide more people with Wellness Workshops, WRAP as well as the online resources. The work that SOS do is fantastic, all the facilitators do Trojan work that I know has helped to change and save lives. I was fortunate enough to attend a Wellness Workshop last year and found it to be interesting, full of simple but effective ideas to help your Mental Health on a day to day basis and it was a lot of fun. During the day I found myself thinking about how much it would have helped me before and during my illness.
From my experience I know Mental Health affects everyone and not just the person with the illness. The services and courses that SOS provide help for everyone including families and workplaces and that is important as we all come together to help each other. People are still afraid to speak about mental health and suicide yet most of us know that talking really helps. During the challenge I have found people willing to talk about their personal challenges with their Mental Health and about losing friends and family to suicide. A reason that I took on the challenge is a colleague lost his wife at Christmas to suicide and I have family members also attempt suicide and while promoting the challenge I discovered recently that a friend of mine had lost her Dad when she was young. The money we are raising will help save other people’s lives and that is what keeps me going on days when I am tired or looking for motivation.
The 20-4-20 challenge has been personally beneficial during the last few months. It has given me a focus and a goal during a difficult time and pushed me physically and mentally, but it also has helped me to slow down. There are times when I am walking or cycling that I switch off the headphones and immerse myself in the forest, the sea, the sunset or the sounds of nature and you realise that it’s good to pause, listen, breathe and take it all in. It is not just about pushing the limits of your body – sometimes you just need to stop.
The 20-4-20 team are an amazing group who come from lots of different backgrounds all around the country and our goal is to make our targets and have fun while doing it. The videos and encouragement have been great when you feel yourself stumbling and everyone is available to offer advice or help when you need it. Due to the lock-down and the storms of February we have not been able to meet up, but I know everyone is looking forward to finally getting together. It is an honour to be part of such a great team.
Note to Self
Keep Calm. Keep Going. Keep Human. Keep Pushing. Keep Yearning. Keep Perfecting. Keep looking out the window. Keep Focus. Keep Free” -Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet
– Eamonn Moloney ( To support the 20-4-20 challenge and Eamonn’s efforts please click here)