Over 100 interested spectators descended on The Breffni Arms Hotel in Arva last Monday night (September 3) to catch a glimpse of Ireland’s very own answer to superman.
Mullingar ironman Gerry Duffy told listeners of how he gradually turned from a 17 stone chain-smoker into one of Europe’s leading endurance athletes.
The 43-year-old, who spoke for around 90 minutes, said his achievements were largely down to one recurring theme - goal-setting.
“There was something in the back of my mind for the past 20 years or so telling me: ‘Gerry you have vastly underachieved relative to what you are capable of doing,” he said.
Addressing an attentive audience, Duffy’s presence coincided with the launch of a locally based fundraiser aimed to improve people’s all-round well being and fitness levels.
Fronted by Dromard GFC, a 10km and 5km run/walk has been pencilled in for September 29, with a second event following in mid-November.
“Determine what it is you want to acheive and the price you are willing to pay,” he told those watching on from the floor below. “This was a principle I used when I started marathon running.”
Only a matter of months on, from running a remarkable 32 marathons in as many days, Duffy urged aspiring athletes to brush aside negative thoughts and focus on the main task at hand.
“When I told people what I was doing (running 32 marathons) there were people asking: ’Gerry, have you lost the plot?’ But what I had though were two of the most important ingredients, I had self belief and I had a plan.”
Much of Duffy’s course of action has since been well documented. For several months, the Meath man chalked up a staggering four and a half marathons a week.
“All I was doing was paying my dues,” he somewhat flippantly stated. “To achieve what I wanted to achieve I had to pay a price and that price was to run those distances.”
All proceeds raised from the Dromard GFC fundraiser will go to St Christopher’s Services and the north Longford based sporting organisation.