Gearóid hoping to pull his weight in marathon

gearoid o briainA MEMBER of the Irish Air Corps is hoping to set a new world record in the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run this weekend by running the fastest ever marathon time with a 20 pound knapsack on his back.

Gearóid Ó Briain has set himself the unenviable task in memory of two military colleagues who tragically lost their lives in October 2009.

Captain Derek Furniss and Cadet David Jevens were killed in a plane crash while undertaking a training exercise in Connemara and the memories of that tragedy remain with Gearóid.

“David was one of seven people in my class in the 27th Air Corps and he died just two months before we were commissioned in December 2009,” he explains.

Gearóid has undergone training with weights during his time in the Air Corps and has also trained with other branches of the Defence Forces.

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Never one to shy away from a challenge, he saw a member of the British Army participate in a marathon with weight on his back and was motivated to take on the feat himself.

“I would have trained with weights in the Defence Forces and I’ve done a few marathons. Then I got wind of this idea and I saw it as a good challenge.

“I’ve had it in mind for about a year and I’ve been training for the last six months. I was planning to do the run up in Connemara but that would have been just too difficult for me.”

Gearóid had been working towards a time of three hours and 47 minutes for a number of months, but a British soldier broke the record in the recent London Marathon.

He now has to beat three hours and 25 minutes to enter the record books, but it seems that the bigger the challenge, the more he relishes it.

“It is a bigger challenge and that makes it more exciting. People are telling me I can’t do it and it’s too difficult but it would be even more of a reward if I did it as it’s a less realistic goal.

“I just have to up the game now I suppose. I’ve been told it would be great to do it in three and a half hours but I don’t see it that way now.”

Gearóid is fiercely proud of his membership of the Air Corps, and by extension the Defence Forces, and he credits the military with instilling him with unflappable self-belief.

“The Defence Forces really is a great place to work. When I joined at 18-19 years of age, they gave me great support.

“The Defence Forces taught me that I can achieve anything I want. Whenever people tell me I can’t do something, I just want to prove them wrong.”