Q & A With Avril Tuohy
1. Tell us about your involvement with O2e
My involvement with O2e goes back almost to the beginning because Kevin Tuohy, one of the founder members is my brother-in-law. I started by going along and supporting events and helping with various bits of organisation, such as setting up at the gala dinner and helping with the auction. I have a slight disability which means I’m unable to do any sort of sporting endurance event so I try to help wherever possible with organisation, communications and connecting with the charities we support.
2. What has been the most memorable event or challenge you taken part in, or supported, for O2e?
Actually there have been 2 memorable events. In 2015, spurred on by The Fat Controller Mr. Tim Green, I took up the obese to Extraordinary challenge to lose weight along with a bunch of cyclists, my husband John and brother-in-law Kevin. Once we all got going I got very competitive and ended up one of the biggest losers by dropping 20% of my bodyweight.
In 2016, having lost the weight and improved my fitness by regular aquarobics classes I was able to take part in Walk the World. I walked 140 miles in the month of May, exceeding the 100 mile target and was really proud of my achievement.
3. What is it about the O2e ethos that resonates with you?
Obviously the causes are simply amazing and I’m privileged to have spent time volunteering and visiting some of our wonderful charities. But the thing that really resonates is the sheer camaraderie of the people who run the committee and the events. I have met so many people and made so many new, lifelong friends through O2e and I’m very grateful for that. We are like a big extended family – the O2e family!
4. How can people get involved in O2e and why do you think they should?
It’s easy to get involved with O2e, there are so many things you can do to raise funds. Many of our events have been going on year after year and regular participants are finding it harder to get sponsorship now. So this year we have seen people branching out with new ideas like holding barbecues, afternoon tea cake sales and other such events. That’s great for the people who find it difficult to take on a sporting challenge and it means you can engage more directly with your supporters and get them involved too. In addition, I think it’s important to start engaging the younger generation to get involved with the sporting challenges before all our more “mature” members lose their fitness. That’s why many of us have started getting their teenage kids and younger ones to do events. We need to have a good succession plan!
5. Finally, tell us about your next event that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary?
The annual Big Kev’s Bike Ride leaves for France next Wednesday. For the past 4 years I have been involved in the planning and support crew for the event. For the last 2 years I have managed the support crew and this year I have also taken on almost all of the admin and organisation for the ride. It’s a lot of work, (hats off to Kevin Tuohy for doing it almost single-handedly for many years!), but as a project manager I have found the perfect use for my professional skills. I am so looking forward to seeing everyone next week and help keep them fed, watered and, above all, safe.