Tom all set to take on a ball breaker of a run

Tom all set to take on a ball breaker of a run

Ultra marathoner Tom Garrod’s world record breaking attempt begins at Mizen Head on Thursday. Picture: Stuart March

An attempt by a cancer survivor to run the length of Ireland in the fastest time ever will begin at Mizen Head in Co Cork this Thursday.

Tom Garrod, a 40-year-old London-based ultra marathoner, will try to beat the Guinness World Record currently held by Mimi Anderson of running from Ireland's most southerly point in Cork to Malin in Donegal – a distance of 344 miles.

The time he needs to beat is three days, 15 hours and 36 minutes.

Last week, 48-year-old Cork athlete Eoin Keith ran from Mizen to Malin and completed his journey 11 hours quicker than the current world record. However, the run is awaiting verification from the Guinness World Records authority.

Tom was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer at the age of 27 and was told his chances of survival were not good. After chemotherapy, a stem-cell transplant and major surgery, he recovered and now he runs the testicular cancer awareness website bustinyourballs.org.

“My sole motivation in attempting this Guinness World Record - to be the fastest person to run the length of Ireland - is to raise awareness for testicular cancer and its early detection,” he said.

“After one year, with sheer perseverance, support from my family and incredible medical treatment, I beat the cancer.

“I have competed in multiple triathlons, duathlons, a half-Ironman, half and full marathons, and many ultramarathons, the longest being 368-miles (unsupported).  My mission is to raise awareness for testicular cancer and its early detection and inspire people to never, never give up,” he added.

Tom will be running through Ireland’s towns and villages promoting bustinyourballs.org and will have crew travelling ahead of him handing out leaflets with testicular cancer awareness advice. Posters will also be sent ahead to places Tom will be passing through to inform them he is coming.

“My mantra has become ‘Never, never give up’ – be it sport or illness, you just have to push as hard as possible to reach your target. If it’s something you truly believe in, you will do anything to achieve it”, said Tom.

In 2015, Cork firefighter Alex O'Shea was on course to break the Malin-Mizen record but had to pull out after knee injury ended his attempt after 100 miles.

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