Derry GAA All Star Kieran McKeever has faced many a challenge throughout his sporting career but one looming at the end of the month could be his toughest yet.
In just 16 days, the hardy Dungiven man will join tens of thousands of runners to tackle the mother of marathons in London.
The 44-year-old is counting every minute until race day and admits training has had its moments, but after signing up for the 26.2 mile challenge, Kieran is sticking by his belief of “sure, no pain, no gain”.
“This is my first marathon and training has been tough,” he said.
“Since I stopped playing I was used to going to the gym when I wanted and in my time, but training for the marathon I’ve had to train four or five times a week.”
He says the long runs have been tough.
“When I was gaelic training the runs where mostly short and intense so I find the longs runs boring,” he says.
“Most of my runs have been an hour, or hour and a half as I’m knackered because the mind keeps telling the legs to speed up as that’s what I was used to doing for 20-odd years.”
However, the long time Derry defender and champion hurler is determined to do everything right and find the stamina to make it to the finish line for a special reason.
“I’ve thought about doing something for charity for a while now and doing the marathon is a great way of fund raising. Also it’s a real challenge for me as an individual to complete the 26.2 mile run,” he says.
Having applied for the London marathon as an individual and not getting a place, Kieran applied to a few charities to run on their behalf.
“I chose CTRT (Cancer Treatment and Research Trust) because of the outstanding work they do, not only in treating people with cancer but in the research they do in trying to find a cure,” he says.
“Nearly every family I know has been touched and suffered with this cruel disease and I wanted to help in fund raising to help those who are suffering and in the quest to find a cure.”
Having found the courage to do the Virgin London Marathon and committed to to raising £1500 - £2000 for the marathon on April 22, Kieran is hoping for community support to reach his target.
Go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KieranMcKeever to donate.