LOTS of people have pounded the pavements since the pandemic hit, but not many can claim to cover 100km in a single outing.
But that’s exactly what Shane Hayes did when he did half a km loop around the Tank Field — 200 times — raising vital funds for children’s charity Barnardos in the process.
Social worker Shane, originally from Gurranabraher, is a seasoned runner, having completed seven marathons, with a personal best of 3.06 hrs.
He has also competed in triathlons, and did the Ironman in Youghal last June — 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.
He had hoped to do the Berlin Marathon this year, but with places assigned on a lottery basis, he was out of luck.
Some people just like to run, he said, but he likes a challenge so back in February he decided a distance of 100km was achievable, and was what he’d train for.
When Covid hit and due to the nature of his work, he became more aware of young people suffering from increasing anxiety and feeling a sense of loss without social contact.
“So I decided to do something for Barnardos, who do such great work with young people around the country,” he said.
Shane is married to teacher Christina and they’re parents to Muireann, aged six, Jack, aged five, and Caelen, almost two. They’ve lived in Kilavullen for the past 14 years, but have just recently moved to Montenotte.
“Since March I was out training every morning at 5.30am. It’s the only way with a young family. I’d come home then and get everyone up and do breakfast,” he said.
He runs six days a week, typically doing 10km during the week, and longer stretches at the weekend.
“Those longer ones started at 30km in March, and went to 60km by September before my Tank Field run on October 11,” he said.
When that day dawned, a Sunday, he felt confident that he had it in the legs, but felt slight trepidation that it may be psychologically challenging. But Shane needn’t have worried as it couldn’t have gone better.
“There wasn’t one time that I thought, ‘oh no, not another lap’,” he remembers. He arrived at the Tank Field at 6am, set up his table with his water, gels, jaffa cakes, fig rolls and dried mango, and off he went.
As per his plan, he stopped for a sip of water every 5km, and for a few minutes for something to eat every 10km, with one loo break (in his nearby in-laws house!) at 9am. Some 11 hours and 45 minutes later, he crossed the line with two of his kids at 5.45pm.
People of all ages and all running abilities came out to join in, including colleague Declan Collins from Cobh — a fellow marathon runner — who did an incredible 60km with him.
People set up socially distanced deckchairs and he said it was a perfect example of people coming together to rally behind a good cause.
“I cannot highlight enough the community spirit and support I got on the day,” he said.
His good friend Kevin Hedderman joined him for 30km but was holding something in the tank because he did the same incredible achievement —running 100km — the week after.
Shane and himself only struck up a friendship this past summer.
“We were on holidays in Glenville in August and I was out running early one morning when he pulled up in a Jeep beside me and asked me about my running.
“He joined me the next morning and we’ve been friends since,” said Shane.
Kevin, originally from Dublin, but living in Blarney, is also a seasoned runner and completed his 100km on the Waterloo loop in Blarney on October 18. Kevin ran from 3.15am to 2.45pm and raised €5,000 for Autism Ireland.
Shane said: “Now we feel invincible — we’re almost dangerous at this point! We’re half thinking of running from Dublin to Cork — 263km — that would be a 48-hour affair. But the sky’s the limit!”
To anyone thinking of taking up running, he says the key things to remember are patience and consistency.
“Forget about time, just keep going and eventually it will happen and then it becomes a way of life.”
For Shane, though, his Tank Field 100km will always be far more than just a run.
“It brought the best out in everyone and showed how community spirit can shine through in challenging times,” he said.