Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Irish runner Gary Seery to take part in North Pole Marathon for charity

Friday, April 03, 2015

Irish runner Gary Seery to take part in North Pole Marathon for charity

Someone recently sent me a message to let me know about an Irish runner who will be taking part in the North Pole Marathon this month.

Gary Seery from Dublin ran his first marathon in 2008 and has completed several more in the meantime including a 100km Ultra and 5 marathons in 5 days. During these last few years, he has also had to cope with mental health issues as he has suffered from bouts of depression.

“In 2010, when I started to look at it again on the back of the bout of depression, I was saying to myself then that it could be good for me, it got me out of the house which was really important. Back in 2008-2009, I couldn’t wash myself, never mind leave the house, I just didn’t have the energy because of my depression. So it was a real struggle to get back out there in April 2010 but I just took it in baby steps – I was still smoking at that time – but the impact was nearly immediate in terms of what it did for me mentally. It wasn’t easy at all but as an experience – getting up to marathon distance – it was much more enjoyable this time around and it didn’t take me long to really get into it. For a start it was a way for me to stop smoking and it was a way for me to get back on my feet from depression and a way for me to stop taking medication and it did all those things. Above all, it was a great self-confidence boost. At the start, when you run one kilometre, you’re delighted with yourself and then you just keep building on that and your confidence increases every time you hit a goal. I’m not a doctor, obviously, these are just my experiences really, but you don’t get depression overnight, it comes on gradually over time. It’s something that builds up after a number of incidents, over time and all these factors play into it. That means it’s not possible to get rid of overnight either, you can’t just make it disappear, it takes time but running helped with that. I would have been a very ambitious, very driven person pre-2009. I was somebody who grew up in a working class area, left school at 15 and now I’m the IT Director for a global company.  After I got sick, I had to build all that back up again because you get knocked, your self-confidence gets rocked, and you’re more anxious about everything because you’re giving yourself a good kicking. The running gives you little rewards at the start and they get bigger and bigger as you go on.”

For the North Pole Marathon, Gary hopes to raise €42,000 for the Habitat for Humanity charity.

More about Gary's story HERE

As marathons go, this must be one of the most unusual in the world. As well as running in temperatures dropping down to minus 30 deg C and running on ice and snow, there are also armed guards protecting the runners against polar bears.

One of the most unusual features that I came across was the course itself. This is a GPS plot from a previous contestant.

It looks pretty odd. There is a kind of a pattern to it but nothing like the looped course you might expect. It's only when you realise that the course is on sea ice and it had moved by about a mile in the eight hours it took this person to complete the 26.2 mile course that it all starts to make sense.

Here is a video of the 2014 event which gives a good feel of what it's like...

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