30 Sept 2022

"Will we change it to a marathon a day instead?' Aye, why not?"

Derry duo upping the stakes in 30-in-30 day challenge for charity

Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum

Seamus and Stephen with members of ‘Born To Run’ ahead of their run from the Gasyard on Tuesday evening. Pics by Tom Heaney, nwpresspics

Apparently fed up with running a half marathon a day for 22 days straight, Seamus Crossan and Stephen Quigley have decided to up it to a MARATHON A DAY for the last week of their 30-in-30 days challenge.

The duo have made the incredible revelation, having already completed almost 262 miles of what was expected to be a 384-mile total. But finding too much time on their hands (Stephen’s words), the lifetime friends have decided to add an extra layer onto an already incredible challenge.

The duo will now run a marathon a day for the last seven days of their challenge which is being done to raise money for Foyle Search and Rescue and the Danny Quigley Fund through the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum.

The thought of running a half marathon every day for 30 days would be enough to make most of us groan, even at the thought, so why, why, why have they upped the stakes?

“We’ve had too much time to talk and too much time to reflect when we’ve been out running,” Stephen laughed.  “We were enjoying the challenge and we’re both off on annual leave next week; we’ve both been working full-time time during the challenge and managing life and family and wife and kids and stuff, so they have been pretty patient and pretty flexible. We just double checked with the better halves if they were free for that. The idea was that we’re feeling good and we’ll never get his opportunity again, we’ll never be this fit again, we’ll never be this enthusiastic again and we’ll never be this young again.

“On the final day we’re going to run the route of the Walled City Marathon; it’s actually going to be slightly longer than the Marathon because they usually finish in the Guildhall Square but we’re going to finish at the Gasyard so it might be closer to 27 miles on the final day.

“We just have a lot of respect for the two charities and we want to do our best to raise funds for them and get the message out there of the hard work that they’re doing; they’re doing the hard work, we’re just running, putting one foot in front of the other.”

The duo were in good spirits as they prepared to leave the Gasyard for their latest run, and you would never know to look that they were closing in on 300 miles of daily running this month.

“I actually feel fresh which is a funny thing to say,” Stephen admitted. “We just treat it every day as a training run for the next day; we would go out on Monday and look at it as a warm-up for Tuesday, and then Tuesday for Wednesday.

“You can’t look too far ahead so we’ve kept that mentality all the way through. We’re kind of getting to the point where we are pacing ourselves, not holding back, but just trying to calm the ham, and just relax and enjoy it rather than get too excited.

“We’ve got stronger since it’s gone on so we’re enjoying the running and we’re enjoying the company and enjoying the craic on the roads.”


Good company

Keeping their spirits up during the daily half marathons are a number of local running clubs, as well as independent runners, all of whom help Stephen and Seamus in their own way. It makes each and every run different from the last.

“We were counting it up, so far and we’re 20 days in, we’ve only actually run four miles on our own,” Stephen revealed.  “The entire time there’s always been someone beside us and great support from the different running groups out there, be it Star, BOLT, Waves for Mental Health and a few others there and there are also a lot of other independent runners who aren’t affiliated to running groups. Some are just randomers who come out and say they saw us on Facebook; we didn’t know them before we started the run, but by the time we finish up we are best friends.”

The finish line is now in sight, but for aa challenge such as this, it is very much a case of ‘so near, yet so far…literally. But nothing will keep these two warriors down it seems.

“Looking forward to things is a big weight off your shoulders, and it’s the same with the run, we go out looking forward to it, we don’t see it as a chore or a burden,” Stephen added. “It’s an opportunity to meet people, talk to people, connect with people and keep the mind and body healthy, and after that’s all said and done, you do feel a wee bit tired at night and you do need a rest. We’re trying to eat better than we usually do, and we’ve both cut out the alcohol this month, which is a big thing for us, and we’ve just been looking after ourselves.”

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