Cork fire fighter “The Running Fireman” Alex O’Shea completed his 32 Marathon, 32 Counties in 16 days Challenge yesterday evening, 16 September, in Cork. All proceeds of this challenge will go towards supporting the life-changing work of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Alex 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. From here the route headed out to Ballincollig Regional Park to run loops, before the final 2.7 miles to the finish at the headquarters of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind on Model Farm Road.
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.”
Patrick Burke, Chairman of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind commented: “We are so grateful to Alex and proud of his phenomenal achievement. His strength of character and sheer resilience are an inspiration to us all. Through Alex’s mental and physical strength, he has helped raise much-needed funds to help us change lives and shared our story with many people across the country.”
Congratulations to Alex & Ollie on a fantastic achievement from all of us at Runireland.com