An athlete who successfully took on the challenge of running an astonishing 100-mile ultra-marathon in 24 hours around a Co Meath village says ‘the amazing support of the community’ got him through.
Chris Dunne, 35, from Duleek who had been in training for the 'Belfast 2 Dublin' ultra-marathon that was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, determined that his hard work would not go to waste, he ran the equivalent of four Dublin City Marathons in one day completing a 2.7-mile loop 37 times around the small village.
The marathon mad gym owner is no stranger to pushing himself to the limit having completed ten marathons last year alone including a 100km ultra marathon in Donadea Forrest in Kildare. The Duleek man also appeared on the RTE show Ireland’s Fittest Family in 2018.
"When I found out the Belfast to Dublin marathon wasn't going ahead I just decided that I wasn't going to let it stop me and I'd run around the block instead," he said.
"I took off from outside my home at 8am Friday morning and I got to the finish line just after 8am Saturday morning.
“I’ve ran marathons before, 50k and 100k events but this was by far the toughest sporting event I have ever faced.
“Obviously the distance was far greater than the other runs but it wasn't actually an event like a proper race with other competitors it was just me outside running around the block fighting with my head.
“I had amazing support from the people of Duleek so the day itself seemed to fly by. My 16-year-old daughter Abbie and my mother Dolores ran 21km with me through the toughest part of the night. It's something I'll never forget.
“The support I got all the way through was amazing. We had to be careful and ensure only a few runners were with me at any time so as to maintain a social distance.
Chris described what was going through his mind during the gruelling run.
“My body was aching but I wasn’t injured and I was tired but I was still standing so had I not finished, it would have just been my mind that would have beaten me.
“I use my kids as a way to push through because they are watching they want you to succeed.
Chris is already setting his sights on his next test but not before a little recovery time.
"I burned a few calories on the way around alright so after a few hours sleep I celebrated after with a pizza.
“I'm quite sore at the moment but no injuries thankfully and ready to look to the next challenge whatever that may be.
“I'm sure I can come up with another outrageous event to get me excited.”