A MUSKERRY man is aiming to run in six of the world's most famous marathons in the next two years - and settle a trans-hemispheric family bet.
Shane O'Sullivan from Carrigadrohid admits that he is a recent convert to running, but is now determined to beat his personal best every time he competes in a marathon.
"I never ran really, I was into a lot of weights and I always played soccer, but I first got into running by total accident," Shane told The Corkman.
"I was in the gym and a guy said to me 'do you want to go for a short run, for four or five miles?' That was in 2011, one night, and we continued on from there once a week," Shane explained.
"Then we said, for a laugh, that we would try the Cork Marathon. I had no real training done for it, I did one 17 mile run, but I went out and did the Cork Marathon.
"It was tough with the amount of training that I did, but it was after that I took it a little more seriously. I thought 'You know what? I want to improve my time.' I thought maybe I could improve my time with better training."
Shane completed that first marathon in three hours 58 minutes, and looked to London to improve.
"I went to London last May, I did a lot of training on my own and while my training wasn't exactly right I wanted to beat that time so I did London in 3:47. I came back from that and decided that I wanted to do it properly."
Doing it properly involved training with Leevale AC and coach Donie Walsh, who ran for Ireland in the 1972 Munich Olympic marathon.
Shane then took on the Berlin marathon in three hours 20 minutes. Next year he will take on London again, as well as New York, by which time he will hope to have improved his time to under three hours.
In 2015 he hopes to complete the Boston and Chicago marathons before a special family affair in Japan.
"My cousin is actually a runner in Australia so we have a deal that we will do Tokyo at some stage and race each other. I think he has a slightly better time than me so I'd better get training before that."
Shane says that he is successfully balancing his work with Bank of Ireland and his social life with his girlfriend and family with his training. In all he runs about 70 miles a week.
While he is a healthy eater, Shane says he has no particular diet. His sponsors are Kinetica, a sports and nutrition company in Ballineen, look after his recovery and whey products. He is also sponsored by Bank of Ireland and Maher's Sports, and is an ambassador for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.
"I did a small nine or ten kilometre race for them years ago and I came back last year to do the London Marathon for them.
"I raised about €2,500 for them and when I went to do Berlin they said they would love for me to do more with them. So I raised the same amount for Berlin and then they said that they wanted to make me Running Ambassador for the Guide Dogs.
"The idea is to promote running and to encourage people to run, I'll be doing doing something on their site to encourage people to get involved with the Guide Dogs and raise money for them."