Saturday 23 March 2019

999-call will need a marathon effort from fireman Chris

Maria Herlihy

Running a half marathon is no easy going, but add a 20 pound firefighter's suit and things get a lot tougher.

On Saturday, Kanturk based firefighter Chris Price will run the Killarney Half Marathon - and he has aptly been given the running number of 999. 

He has already completed about 12 full marathons for charity but this time he will  don his work outfit in his bid to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. In muscular dystrophy, abnormal genes (mutations) interfere with the production of proteins needed to form healthy muscle.

Chris said the reason he chose this charity is because his 11-year-old nephew, John Dickson, has MD, for which there is no cure. "I'm trying to raise as much as I can for Muscular Dystrophy Ireland as they do tremendous work for so many people," he said. 

Chris, who is originally from Manchester, has been living in Cork for the past 15 years and for the past two years he has been working for the fire brigade in Kanturk. 

When asked how did a Mancunian end up in Kanturk, he said with a smile that he met his wife, Sheila, on holidays in Grand Canaria and they bought a home in Kanturk in 2007.  

"I have run marathons before but I felt I was doing the same thing, as I was running in my ordinary gear. This time I said I'd put on my firefighter suit, which will definitely make it more of a challenge. I said I would do the half marathon to test the waters and, all going well, I will then do the full marathon in Cork," said Chris.

At the moment he is doing 45-minute training in his firefighter gear around the local football pitch to prepare for the Killarney run.

"The biggest thing is the weight of the helmet and the heat that generates in the firefighter's suit. I do like running in the heat but on Saturday I am hoping for cooler running conditions. Hydration will be key for me but at least there will be water stations at every three miles," he said. 

He will have his family cheering him on Saturday and when asked if he would wear his boots or runners, he said the jury is still out on that one.  "I have run using the boots and the runners so on Saturday I will just see which one I will go with," he said.