We’ve been following the journey of the Maher family as they competed in Ireland’s Fittest Family over the last number of months.
They had a great start to the competition and made it all the way to the final where a series of unfortunate events saw them lose out on the final stage after a gallant performance.
We loved following them along the way.
The race to win €15,000 is over and unfortunately for the Mahers from Laois, they were not victorious in the final.
The Killeshin family took on three others in the final of Ireland’s Fittest Family in Croke Park in the final episode of this year’s series.
Nicholas, Fionn, Maeve and Cara had to take part in a series of challenges which began with an event on the top of the Cusack Stand.
Running around on top of the stadium, the Mahers had to move 17 drums from one side of it to the other in a time trial event.
In a really close race in driving rain, their time of 3 minutes and 43 seconds left them last behind the Dinans (3.17), McSharrys (3.25) and Hogans (3.42).
Up next was an obstacle course type relay-race called ‘Fast and Furious’ – out on the pitch in Croke Park.
The Mahers led all the way with Fionn, Nicholas and Maeve building up a big lead but it all went wrong for Cara on the balance beam.
Their lead evaporated and once again the Mahers finished last meaning that they had to face the eliminator against the Hogans.
For this, called ‘ramp run’, both families had to run 600 metres up the Cusack Stand and then carry a log the rest of the way on the top floor.
At the start of that race, Cara was elbowed into the eye by one of the members of the Hogan family accidentally.
This resulted in her collapsing at the end of the race and being hospitalized – later being diagnosed with concussion.
Also, because the race was run in wet conditions, during the first quarter of the race Maeve slipped and fell heavily, never really recovering.
So, the Hogans proved too strong and that meant the end of the road for the Laois family.
In the end, the McSharrys from Sligo were crowned champions.
In Round 1 seven weeks ago, the families were split into three heats of five with the first three qualifying for the next round and the bottom two heading for the eliminator.
The Mahers were running away with the race initially until Meave ran into some difficulty but they got it back together and came home in second place to safely qualify to the next stage.
Then in Round 2, they took on ‘Quick Sand’ against coach Anna Geary’s two other families – the McArdles from Down and the Ui Bhraonains from Carlow.
The challenge saw the families climb the 20 metre sand dune in Strandhill, Co Sligo while also carrying two large life buoys behind them.
The Mahers finished in the quickest time and went straight through to the next stage of the competition – avoiding the eliminator.
The quarter final was a grueling experience for the Mahers too.
They were on the Hell & Back course where the bottom two families after two events would end up in a eliminator.
And after the Swamp Trek and Devil’s Creek, the Maher’s ended up in the eliminator against the Mandiangus from Dublin.
This was a race which began on bales of hay and then consisted of a 360 metre run, ice baths, a series of walls, cargo net and then back up the hay bales where they started.
But the Mandiangus got stuck on one of the early walls and the Mahers streaked ahead and won comfortably to book their place in the semi final.
In that semi final, the Mahers once again ended up an eliminator but they got to the final by seeing off the Murphys from Wexford.
They have given us incredible entertainment over the last month and they should be very proud of their efforts!