Meet the men running 100 marathons in Ireland in 100 days 5 years ago

Meet the men running 100 marathons in Ireland in 100 days

Two men. 100 days. 2,620 miles. All for a great cause.

Naturally, the first question to ask Larry Maguire, a man running 100 marathons in Ireland in 100 days was: "Are you mad?"

"I think I am," Larry replied. "It's day seven now and I'm already going a bit off the rails."

Day seven was 28 May. By the time you're reading this, Larry will have gone well past day 20 and will still have over 75 marathons to run in consecutive days before his monumental mission comes to an end, some time towards the end of this summer.

When it's completed, he'll have run 2,620 miles in total, a distance that would nearly take him from Dublin to New York as the crow flies. Or, for another perspective, it's about 10,550 laps of a GAA pitch.

The next time you complain about sore feet, think of how Larry's must be feeling and remind yourself that maybe you're not so badly off after all.

Larry, as you might suspect, is not just embarking on this epic quest for the good of his health.

He's doing it to raise greater awareness of child welfare issues in Ireland, to promote emotional and physical wellbeing in children and to raise funds for children’s charities Rainbows and Cash for Kids.

Crowd of children, sitting together happily

He'll be doing all of that through the Laura Maguire Foundation, named after Larry's sister, who passed away as a child when Larry was very young.

Now that he has kids of his own, Larry has a greater understanding of the profound impact Laura's loss had on his family at the time.

He's hoping his journey will help children affected by the loss of a family member and to improve the quality of life of disabled and disadvantaged children.

Reflecting on the effect of Laura's death now, Larry says: "I was only a small fella when she died so I've no cognitive memory as such, but her death had a huge impact on the family for years.

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"It's still very prominent and very painful for my parents and my older sister Deirdre. She was Deirdre's older sister and they were like two peas in a pod.

"It had a huge impact and growing up, I knew the story of Laura, but as I began to have my own kids and got older myself it began to take up more of my mind.

"I felt that, having had children myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to lose a child and this was huge and really significant for the family and for my parents."

So, why marathons and why 100 of them in 100 days? Not surprisingly, the idea was spawned where many great, ridiculous and downright preposterous ideas have started over the years; propped up on a high stool in front of a bar.

pullingpints

"I thought I'm going to do something outrageous to mark her memory because I believe that all souls enter this world for a purpose," Larry says.

"If we can use her short life as a catalyst and to make an impact, well then let's do it."

"That was really where it came from originally and it has developed over the last five years."

Larry isn't the only one mad enough to take on such a task; he's been joined by his friend Steven McGeown and the invitation to join them is an open one.

For most of the 100 days, Larry and Steven will be pounding the same route through the Phoenix Park but they will be taking it across the country as well.

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They've already been in Newry, Derry and Armagh, they'll be in Portumna in Galway this Saturday (June 13) and will be in Moville in Donegal for the whole weekend on June 20th and 21st.

By the time they've finished, they hope to have completed marathons in Kildare, Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Longford, Mayo and Westmeath amongst other places.

If you want to get out and join them (there are options to sign up for 10Ks, half marathons and full marathons) or just to lend some support, you can check their schedule here and on Facebook.

And the lads will need the support too. After all, training for and running one marathon is something that takes a lot of time and effort.

But how do you go about training for 100 of them?

"Lots of people have asked that and I really don't have an answer," Larry says.

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"My answer is generally, "I'll tell you when I have it done."

"From my own perspective, I've been in the gym for the last year and a half, I've been out on the road and taking on marathons whenever I could. A lot of it is down to mental strength as much as physical, it doesn't vary much from day to day to be honest.

"You have the pain in your legs, your muscles are telling you to stop but it's a level of difficulty that you need to become accustomed to. Process it mentally, get through the day, rest and then start again the next day. It really is mind over matter."

Far from expecting it to get tougher and tougher as it goes along, Larry actually expects to get stronger the longer the journey goes on, despite the obvious toll running over 26 miles every day for 100 days - without a break - is bound to take.

"You have to prepare and you have to eat well and you have to have a period of conditioning and I think we've both done enough to get us this far," Larry adds.

"We don't expect our bodies to deteriorate physically, we expect them to get stronger."

"You can't anticipate what's going to come tomorrow or the next day. You can be ready, but best laid plans are laid aside and you just have to be ready for whatever pops up and deal with it.

"The plan is no plan if you like. I have to do a bit of planning but I'm more focused on being prepared for what might come up as opposed to working to a particular plan if that makes sense?"

The mental challenge is the greatest one, but Larry isn't shying away from that. He's had bad days already, he'll have more along the way and Steven is the same.

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They'll lean on each other to get over those days, as well as a large support network made up of friends, family and supporters.

Besides, neither Larry nor Steven will lose sight of the bigger picture.

They have a target figure in mind that they'd like to raise that Larry doesn't wish to disclose but as he says himself, "anything we raise is going to help kids and that's the target, if you like."

So, as soon as the marathons are over, Larry is going to put the feet up, right?

"I've already got another goal on the horizon so once this is over there'll be something else to occupy my time."

Back to our first question again. "Are you mad?"

For more on Larry's 'marathon' journey, check out the 100marathons100days.ie website and Facebook page.