Fire-fighting marathon man turns up the heat

Alex O'Shea completed the Cork City Marathon in full firefightergear. He will now run the length of Ireland. Picture: Darragh Kane

A record-breaking fireman is turning up the heat for his latest challenge — last year he broke a Guinness World Record running the Cork City Marathon in full firefighting gear and now he wants to break another one, by running the entire length of Ireland in less than four days.

Alex O’Shea, from Ballineen, a member of Cork City Fire Brigade’s Blue Watch, will attempt the extraordinary feat in September, running the equivalent of four marathons a day.

“I’m going to drive to Malin Head for 6am and run the duration of a marathon. Then I’ll have a 45- or 50-minute break where I’ll get into the camper van that will be accompanying me, put the feet in a bucket of ice, have someone rubbing the legs and try and get little bits of food,” he said. “Then I’ll do another marathon. I’ll do the whole cycle about four times a day. Then if I’m lucky I’ll get four hours sleep. That will be the routine then for three to four days.”

READ MORE: Rob’s Cork City Marathon blog: Week 8 - Staying positive when fatigue creeps in .

Currently, the record for running the length of Ireland is three days, 15 hours, 36 minutes and 23 seconds — set by British ultra runner Mimi Anderson in 2012.

“I’m confident that I’ll finish it but I’ll be pushing hard to beat the record,” said Alex.

“You can only train yourself so much. I’ll need to run 100 miles a day to be successful — at the moment I’m running 100 miles a week. You don’t really realise the extent of it, or how hard it will be, until you actually do it.”

The 41-year-old father-of-four said he started running when he was a child but only started running competitively a few years ago.

“When I was 15 I trained for my first marathon. But at the time I think you had to be 18 and they refused my entry because I was too young. So I gave up running for a while after that and a few years later I took it back up,” he said. “I started running competitively around four years ago. My times started getting better — I was getting times I thought would be impossible for me.”

Last year, Alex ran the Cork City Marathon in full firefighting gear — complete with steel-toed boots, heavy, fire-retardant pants, jacket, helmet and 3lb visor.

He finished the challenge in 3 hours, 41 minutes and 10 seconds, shaving almost an hour off the previous world record set at the London Marathon earlier that year.

Alex is raising money for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Search for Challenge Alex on Facebook or email challengealex@yahoo.com.

READ MORE: Rob’s Cork City Marathon blog: Week 8 - Staying positive when fatigue creeps in .

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