Shane Finn's epic marathon effort fuelled by helping hand from Ford

Running 24 marathons in 24 days would take its toll on the fittest super-human.
But as Shane Finn neared the end of that remarkable feat of endurance last month, he had a reality check.

EPIC RUN: Shane Finn before embarking on 24 marathons in 24 days, pictured with former athletics star Derval O'Rourke.

He was feeling “sore and achey” on the Cork leg of his mega-marathon when he had an encounter that put his plight into perspective.

“A little girl called Siobhan from Ballincollig came to meet me,” said Shane. “She has spina bifida and hydrocephalus. When you meet people like her, your pains go away pretty quickly.”

I met 25-year-old Shane, from Dingle, as he neared the end of his epic endurance trek from Donegal to his home town. He ran 26.2 miles a day, a total 628.8 miles, in 24 days.

He set out to raise €100,00 for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) and ended up exceeding that by €25,000. He was inspired to fund-raise for SBHI because his cousin, Mary, 33, lives with the condition.

Ford was vehicle partner for the charity effort, carrying his entourage of seven, including a film crew, in a Ford Tourneo Custom minibus.

I caught up with Shane in the South County Bar after his run from Youghal to Cobh. He was having dinner with family and friends in the company of former All Black and Munster rugby legend, Doug Howlett, who was there to lend support.

Apart from his physical strength, where does Shane get the mental power to run?

“I do it for moments I just witnessed with Siobhan,” he said.

“I get to meet a lot of kids with the condition and their parents. They’re the real driving force for me.

“Through SBHI, we are making life-changing impacts on people. I met a ten-year-old boy in Naas who can hardly walk. All he wanted was a piggy-back. I gave him one. His mother was bawling crying when she saw how happy her son was.

“You have children, and adults as well, with the condition. They have no reason to be happy or hopeful.

“The fact I can go around the country and deliver hope and a smile to someone’s face makes it worthwhile.

“The people I’m doing it for can’t even use their legs. I’m just grateful that I can wake up in the morning, put my feet on the floor and do marathons.”

The money Shane raised will go towards wheelchairs and making modifications in the homes of people with spina bifida.

Shane, who has his own business in Dingle, WK Fitness, added: “A big thanks to Ford for providing a support vehicle, an event like this really depends on having world class support.”

Ciarán McMahon, Chairman and Managing Director of Ford Ireland, said: “We were delighted to support Shane in his quest, we hope our support vehicle really helped him to ‘Go Further’ in every sense. It is a very worthy cause.”