Belfast Telegraph

Bubbly flows after Stevie clocks up 100 marathons in 100 days

By Declan Bogue and Jonny Bell

A runner from Northern Ireland has earned himself a well-earned break after crossing the finishing line of an amazing 100 marathons in 100 days - the first time the feat has been completed on the island of Ireland.

Armagh father-of-three Stevie McGeown is looking forward to putting his feet up after the mammoth challenge he took on with his friend Larry Maguire from Dublin in aid of two children's charities.

The two pals were also seeking to raise awareness of the Laura Maguire Foundation, set up in the name of Larry's sister.

She died at the age of six of a suspected aneurysm and Larry was inspired by her short life to create an organisation to promote emotional and physical wellbeing in children and teenagers.

The two friends ran day-in and day-out whatever the weather, sometimes together, sometimes alone, and sometimes in the company of other runners who came out to show their support.

Larry was struck down with injury on day 70 meaning he had to take a couple of days off, but gym owner Stevie kept going, seemingly getting fitter and faster.

At the beginning many thought the task was beyond the two friends and in the early days there was little attention paid to the pair.

However, as they went on people started to sit up and take notice and more joined in with their runs or offered their support.

On Saturday, hundreds turned up in Gosford Forest Park to accompany the runners as Stevie completed his landmark 100th marathon.

Both men were welcomed across the finish line to huge applause from the hundreds of runners, friends, family and supporters who turned up on the day to show their support and admiration.

There were emotional scenes as both men cracked open the champagne and drenched those gathered before thanking them for all their support along the way.

Larry and Stevie met while at a weekend retreat in Dublin in 2012 when the Dubliner first raised the idea of the challenge.

The pair soon began bouncing ideas off each other turning the plan into a reality.

"I was inspired by the idea and had a vision of myself running," the 37-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph prior to completing his challenge at the weekend.

"I said I would do it with him. I hadn't ran any marathons at that time, I had done a few bits and pieces, maybe three and a half miles once or twice a week.

"I ran five miles every day for the next 30 days, starting on December 17, 2012."

His first marathon was in Connemara, the 'Connemarathon', in Co Galway, in 2013.

A former painter and decorator, Stevie was at one stage a hard drinker until a challenge that he couldn't stay off the booze for a month straight transformed his life.

"Before that, I wouldn't have went into my thoughts or thought about anything. I realised that I wanted to have somebody in my life, that I could share my life with them and they could know me for who I was. I didn't have to be drunk to be with them, because I had that kind of shyness," he said.

Six weeks on he met Catherine McCann, from Co Tyrone, and began focusing on the direction his life.

Later the couple opened a women-only gym and within months they had 600 members and after two years 13 outlets.

Now a motivational speaker, Stevie and Catherine have three children, eight-year-old Ben, Katie, (7) and Harry (5).

Stevie and Larry were raising funds for children's charities Cash for Kids and Rainbows Ireland. You can still donate via their website

Belfast Telegraph


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