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Carrigaline Man Completes 32 Marathon Challenge

Carrigaline Man Completes 32 Marathon Challenge

Carrigaline man Alex O’Shea, ‘The Running Fireman’, on Sunday completed his 32 Marathons, 32 Counties in 16 days challenge and in doing so has raised much needed funds for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

Alex, who is originally from Carrigaline but now living in Ballineen, Co. Cork works as a full-time fire fighter with Cork City Fire Brigade since 2005 Previous to 2005, Alex served in the Irish Naval Service for 11 years and was deployed with the United Nations in Lebanon and served on many of the Irish naval service vessels.

The married father of four completed Marathon No. 31 in the early hours of Sunday morning in Waterford battling wind and rain before travelling to Anglesea Street in Cork to start the last run of this extraordinary challenge.

Alex was joined on his challenge by Tralee native Garda Ollie O’Sullivan who crewed for Alex but who also took on his own personal challenge to run 50km of the 84km a day every day of the challenge.

The final marathon started outside the fire/Garda stations on Anglesea Street where Alex was stationed and where Ollie was stationed many years ago.

Alex completed his first marathon only 4 years ago and became a Guinness World Record holder in the process: Fastest Marathon in Full Fire Gear in 3hrs 41min 10sec. Since then he has competed for Ireland at the 100km World Championships in Spain 2016 and won silver medals in the 50km and 24-hour national championship events in 2017.

Having crossed the finish line Alex reflected on the last 16 days: “When I took on this challenge I knew it could be achieved but it would be very difficult. The smallest injury could derail the attempt but thankfully with Ollie’s help we always remained positive and ahead of any problems. We prepared for a tough physical event and never realised the support, friendships and emotional journey we would go on. We have had people run the longest distance ever with us. We had a man that only ran 2 marathons in his life and this week ran 2 with me.  We have been trusted with stories of loved ones lost to illness and personal connections to the Irish Guide Dogs. We have been very privileged to undertake this journey and will never forget the kindness of others. Special thanks to my family, friends, colleagues and all supporters without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.”

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