Each day, Nirbhasa Magee listens to Morning Ireland to pass some of the 18 hours spent running around a looped course in Salzburg, Austria.
Tonight, the 41-year-old Meath man will finally complete the longest road race in the world, having run the equivalent of two marathons a day for 52 consecutive days.
The Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race usually takes place each summer in Queens, New York City but has been relocated to Salzburg, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The runners must finish approximately two marathons a day starting at 6am until midnight.
Despite the daunting physical challenge involved, Magee is no stranger to the race. He has completed the race three times since his debut in 2015, making him the first Irishman to do so.
“When I did the race for the first time, I trained very hard and I realised that a lot of the training is actually for the mind,” he said. “I had done multi-day races before and a lot of the training is to convince the mind that you can do it.
"You have to be able to handle being out there running for long periods of time and not become overwhelmed by the long distances.”
The race was founded in 1997 by Indian spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, who believed that exercise and meditation were connected. As a student of Chinmoy’s, Magee has always maintained the belief that the mind is equally as involved as the body when it comes to sport.
“Part of the reason I got into sport was because I could see the benefits of how sport and meditation were connected. Sport is a great stress reliever, it keeps you physically fit. To be able to meditate properly and have inner experiences can be very difficult without sport,” he said.
He also noted how important it was for the race to go ahead this year despite the many restrictions that have been put in place.
“The great thing about the race taking place in Salzburg is that it’s not a very big town so it has featured quite prominently in the national media. Lots of people have been coming to cheer us on and it’s brought a lot of joy to the place for the tough time that’s in it, so that’s been very satisfying,” he said.
Due to health and safety guidelines, there are only five runners in the race this year.
“For such a small race, it has had such a powerful effect on people. It has really inspired a lot of people. In the middle of everything that’s been going on, people can just come to the course and take their minds off it all,” he said.
The race comes to a close tonight with Magee expected to cross the finishing line just before 6pm, marking his fourth time completing the 3,100-mile distance.