'Believe in yourself and anything is possible'

From barely being able to run down the street to conquering marathons, Margaret Coyle’s story is one of resilience and hope.

The big-hearted Glencar woman has had her fair share of challenges, but her outlook on life was transformed when she took up running over 6 years ago.

Known for her charity endeavours, Margaret has put her best foot forward in various running challenges and raffles (even abseiling) to raise thousands of euro for causes close to her heart and her community.

In her own words, Margaret shares her journey:

(Advisory: Blog contains references to suicidal feelings)

Looking back I could hardly run out of your road, I was so overweight, depressed and a smoker.

I decided to join the Letterkenny Couch to 5k and little did I think how my life would turn around for the best.

Since taking up running with Run for Fun, I’ve gone from 5k to several 10k, half marathons to a full marathon.

I’m planning on my second marathon this October by tackling Dublin in October, not only has running changed my life, but I’ve been off the cigarettes now nearly 7 years and lost over 4.5 stone in weight.

I never thought I would see the day coming that I could say I’ve stopped smoking.

This running bug has brought so much into my life with the amazing friends I’ve met along the way who have been a massive support to me and still are.

Mental health was something I never really understood. I always heard about people suffering from it, but back in 2020 I soon realised what it meant to suffer. I lost my brother Jimmy in a tragic accident and felt that fateful day my heart and stomach were ripped out of me.

The loneliness and emptiness was unbearable that the thought of ending my life did cross my mind, I didn’t want to carry on anymore. But the support of amazing friends who pulled me through and my love of running is what saved me. I am glad to be able to tell my side of the story today.

I was often asked ‘I don’t know how you coped’. My reply was my passion for running and getting a job in the hospital gave me the strength I needed.

I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to receive the call I got that morning about my brother, but every day I see so many people suffering and it really does give you the wake-up call in life you need, I’m just so grateful for all I have.

Margaret Coyle

Every morning I wake up I’m grateful to be alive, life certainly can go by in the blink of an eye and there is always someone suffering day by day.

My passion for running and fundraising is what keeps me going and, looking back, my journey wasn’t easy but we all go through our own sad journeys in life.

But for me, I’m just so grateful to be surrounded with the best of friends anyone could ask for. My amazing sister Ellen was always there through it all and always advising and supporting me.

The main thing for me was reaching out and asking for help. I know that’s not always easy for so many people. It does take strength and courage to speak out.

Finally a good friend once told me everything happens for a reason and I strongly believe that to be so true.

Last Christmas Margaret was Mrs Claus for Tom Giblin’s Nativity Fundraiser

My motto in life now is to enjoy every moment, do what makes you happy and be thankful for all you have because there is always someone worse off than yourself.

I hope my story will help someone who needs the help and I’m never too far away to help anyone. Just get in touch with me.

Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Connecting for Life Donegal.