A Shannon Airport fire and police officer has spoken of his admiration for his brother on clocking up a staggering 400km cycle, 10km swim and the Dublin City Marathon – all in the space of two days at the weekend.
John McCarthy, a well-known member staff member at Shannon Airport, himself completed a not so insignificant triathlon as he clocked in a 250km cycle from Dublin to Shannon and a 2km swim before heading back to the capital for the marathon the following morning.
But even his heroic endeavours were topped by brother Kieran who, after cycling from Dublin and swimming a 10km in Shannon on Sunday, cycled back to Dublin overnight in an effort to complete his colossal triathlon.
It was all for a good cause and done in the name of Kieran’s daughter and inspiration Aoibheann, who has Cystic Fibrosis, as proceeds from the ‘Team Aoibheann’ fund raising initiative go to TLC4CF (Tipperary Limerick Clare for Cystic Fibrosis) and Clare Crusaders.
The heroic adventure started in Dublin at 6a.m. on Sunday morning as John and Kieran set out on their bikes on the 254km cycle along the old N7 to Shannon, clocking an impressive average speed of 27kph.
Arriving in Shannon just short of nine hours later, the brothers plunged their weary bodies into the local swimming pool – John to ease the stiffness from his legs with a 2km swim ahead of running the Dublin City Marathon the following day but Kieran to take on a 10km swim as his arduous and sleepless adventure was about to continue unabated.
After the pool stint and a hearty meal, it was back onto the bike for Kieran, accompanied this time by his friend Peter Power, as they faced into inclement winds for an incredulous overnight return to Dublin just in time to take on the marathon.
Before that Kieran was to be honoured at 8:30a.m. at the marathon start line as the sole recipient of the Lord Mayor’s medal for his heroic endeavours on behalf of his daughter. However, nature played its trick on Kieran and Peter as the rising weekend winds turned and hit them head on by the time they reached Mountrath, Co Laois shortly after 3a.m.
Two hours later, with the wind and fatigue taking their toll, a hard call was made to abandon the cycle in Kildare or else Kieran faced missing his 8:30a.m. date with the Lord Mayor.
Remarkably, with no sleep for over 24 hours and his body fatigued after 400km on the bike and a 10km swim, the proud father, driven on by the inspiration of his daughter’s own brave battle, went to the tape and somehow summoned enough energy to cross the finish line in 3hours 54minutes.
“He said at the starting line that he was so exhausted he would have to walk the marathon but he flew past me at the 15 mile mark,” said proud but exhausted brother John.
“I almost had to wipe my eyes. The marathon is not just physically punishing but emotionally so. But put 400km on the bike and a 10km swim into your legs and no sleep over the previous 24 hours and you can imagine the state you would be in.
“But, as he says himself, all he has to think about in times like that is of Aoibheann and it pulls him through.”
For John, the challenge of a 250km cycle the day before his first marathon was more than enough. “It was my first marathon, and it will be my last,” he quipped. “But I got sleep on Sunday night, unlike Kieran. I don’t know how he did it all.
“It was a tough 24 hours but Aoibheann is fantastic motivation. She’s so brave and is an example to us all.”
Kieran set himself a fund-raising target of €10,000 through Mycharity.ie donations. Money is still coming in and there’s an opportunity still for people to donate.