Family speak of pride in Derry’s Ironman Danny Quigley and NW support
The family of IronMan legend Danny Quigley have spoken of their pride in his mammoth achievement and expressed their gratitude for all who have supported him.
An elated Danny himself has also thanked the team who have been with him every step of the way and the people of Derry and Donegal whose support buoyed him on to complete an astounding 10 IronMan triathlons in 10 days on Sunday evening.
Danny crossed the finish line with his partner Emear and young sons Jack and Malachi to rapturous applause from the many hundreds who had gathered along the river walkway at Destined’s premises on the Foyle Road on Sunday.
The 30-year-old undertook the incredible challenge in memory of his triathlete father Colm Quigley, who died by suicide 10 years ago, to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention and to raise funds for Pieta House and the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum’s 1-2-1 Counselling service. He has smashed his original goal of £10,000 many times over, and as of yesterday almost 3,000 donors had pledged over £74,000 which will go to the life-saving and life-changing work of the two charities.
Over the ten days he has swam 24 miles, cycled 1,120 miles and run 262 miles (10 marathons), possibly creating a new record time in the process. Danny said: “To my family, friends and the people of Derry and Donegal, I’m speechless, feeling emotions I’ve never felt before, an overwhelming sense of pride, of joy and of thankfulness for the kind hearts in my life that have helped me, not just along this journey but, on all that came before and all to come. The crowd that came out, upon the Foyle today humbled me. What a city! What a people!
“Thanks especially to men and women that joined me in the water, on the roads and along the tarmac track; To the wonderful men and women of the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum that have been there for me every step; to Pieta House and of course; every single soul that had the generosity to donate and come help this city make history; and of course my beautiful family. Thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart, from the sweat on my brow to the blisters on my feet, thank you!”
Speaking to the Journal at Foyle Road on Sunday, Danny’s sister Enya spoke of her family’s pride in him and local people: “You cannot put into words how proud we are. Whenever we were coming down the road and seen all those people out, I felt like bursting; we all felt like bursting. It is just amazing, we are feeling the buzz for Daniel.
“He is hurting like crazy, hurting from head to toe, but mentally he is doing amazing. He is exhausted and said today, ‘I am too tired to think about my emotions but I am going through them’.
“It’ll take him a few days maybe to process what he has actually done but he is going to feel amazing whenever it gets through to him.”
Aileen McGuinness from the Bogside & Brandywell Health Forum praised Danny’s passion and resilience. “Danny has been an absolute champion. He really knew on Day 4 it was going to be difficult for him but you just see then after Day 4 how he flew through this, and it has been a bother, it has been challenging on his body and we just want to make sure the support is there for him after. We have just calculated some of his times and we are looking to see if he is the fastest in the UK. We’re chatting to people in England to see how that works out. He is definitely the fastest in Ireland to complete this challenge.”
Mayor of Derry and Strabane Graham Warke, joined the crowds on Sunday to welcome Danny at the finish line. He said: “I think everyone has been following Danny’s epic journey over the past ten days. He set himself a pretty incredible challenge and his energy, endurance and spirit throughout has been a real inspiration to everyone.
“Mental health and suicide prevention are major issues affecting everyone and I hope that this campaign will help to raise awareness and keep the focus on the urgent need for the swift delivery of a dedicated mental health strategy and significant additional resources to support local families.
“I want to thank Danny for what he has achieved on behalf of the City and District - he has done his family, his Dad and the entire City proud. Danny really is champion of the world today!”
If you’d like to donate see: www.gofundme.com/f/dannyquigley10