100 mile marathon for Duleek dad

An athlete from Duleek who successfully took on the challenge of running an astonishing 100-mile marathon in just 24 hours says ‘the amazing support of the community’ got him through. 

Chris Dunne (35) had been in training for the Belfast to Dublin ultra-marathon but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than letting his months of training go to waste, the gym owner ran the equivalent of four Dublin City Marathons in one day completing a 2.7-mile loop 37 times around his home village.

The marathon mad gym owner is no stranger to pushing himself to the limit having completed ten marathons last year alone including a 100km ultra marathon in Donadea Forrest in Kildare. The Duleek man also appeared on RTE’S Ireland’s Fittest Family in 2018.  He said:

“I’ve ran marathons before, 50k and 100k events but this was by far the toughest sporting event I have faced for a few reasons.

 “Obviously the distance was far greater than the other runs but it wasn't actually an event like a proper race with other competitors it was just me outside running around the block fighting with my head. 

 

Chris at finish line after completing 100 mile marathon 

“I had great support from the people of Duleek so the day itself seemed to fly by.  My sixteen-year-old daughter Abbie and my mother Dolores ran 21km with me through the toughest part of the night. 

“They weren't quitting so neither was I.

 “The support I got all the way through was amazing.  We had to be careful and ensure only a few runners were with me at any time so as to maintain a social distance. 

“The community really came and showed what Duleek is about. There were banners everywhere made by the local kids and tables set up at every corner with food and drinks and well wishers were out clapping any chance they could. 

“People were texting me and phoning me in the middle of the night to see if I needed anything. 

“I'm not originally from Duleek but it's a village that wants to help at any moment.

The personal trainer describes being ‘emotional’ as he approached the finish line 24 hours after he began his mission.

 

Duleek came out in force to support the ultra marathon runner 

“My wife Amy helped me around the last loop. I surprised myself in that I was very emotional when I got to the finish line. 

“We were half way around and I suddenly just felt like I wanted to cry. I must get talking other 100 mile finishers to see if that's happened them. 

The Duleek fitness fanatic describes how he kept going through the grueling challenge.

“There are always these little battles going on in your head even from early on with doubt, fear of the distance, making any little niggle feel like it's worse than it is but they are easier to win when you are feeling good and strong early on.  

“The night is a complete different challenge though because the negative voice in your head gets louder and louder. 

“You find yourself looking for any excuse to quit. It's in those moments you really find out what you're made of.

The community left goodies out for Chris to refuel 

“My body was aching but I wasn’t injured and I was tired but I was still standing so had I not finished, it would have just been my mind that would have beaten me. 

“I use my kids as a way to push through because they are watching they want you to succeed. 

“I also dedicated the run to a sick little boy Rian from the village who's been diagnosed with Leukaemia so quitting just couldn't be an option. 

Chris dad to Abbie (16) Alfie (8) and Archie (5) explains how he wasn’t going to allow a little detail like a marathon being cancelled to stop him from completing what he set out to do. 

“I love big challenges so after completing 50k and 100k events it was always going to be the next step to take on 100mile.  

Gym owner Chris ran ten marathons in 2019 

“Belfast2dublin caught my eye last year and I remember thinking I'm going to do that next year. 

“Of course you don't just go from 5k to 100-mile race so like anything else you have to work towards it.

“I already had 10 marathons ran in 2019 so I began upping the distances to condition the body for larger runs.

“One training day saw me run a marathon in Lusk and run home to Duleek afterwards.

Chris is already setting his sights on his next test but not before a little recovery time!

“I'm quite sore at the moment but no injuries thankfully and ready to look to the next challenge whatever that may be.

“I'm sure I can come up with another outrageous event to get me excited.”

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