A pint for Pat: Pat Rodgers with his wife Tina Reed after his record breaking kayak trip down the river Shannon Picture: Adrian Butler
LIMERICK man and endurance athlete Pat Rodgers has completed the fastest known continuous descent of the Shannon River in a kayak.
With little or no sleep, the 46-year-old smashed his target time of 48 hours kayaking the full length of the river in one continuous descent, crossing under Sarsfield Bridge in a record fastest known time of 45 hours and 26 minutes.
Starting out at 5.30pm on Sunday, July 16 from the source of the River Shannon on the Leitrim and Cavan border, a delighted but extremely tired Mr Rodgers arrived in Limerick two days later to the open arms of his supporter and wife Tina Reed.
Despite no sleep other than what Mr Rodgers describes as "power naps", the former North Circular Road resident, was in fantastic form after paddling 150 miles down the River Shannon.
"In the final part, I was falling asleep in the kayak as I was paddling along and if I stopped at all I would fall asleep.
"Along the way I would have to get out and take 10 to 15 minute naps. Altogether, during the whole duration I slept no more than an hour," explained a proud Pat Rodgers as he arrived in Limerick city.
Mr Rodgers circumnavigated Ireland in a kayak 20 years ago and this latest achievement had always been a challenge on the Limerick man's list.
The challenge was completed unsupported, without any help as Pat carried his own food and gear in his 17ft kayak. The previous known record for a kayak descent of the River Shannon was 53 hours but Mr Rodgers reinstated that the records aren't comparable due to the unknown starting point.
Starting off kayaking at a young age of 13, his journey has been a long but enjoyable one as he describes with pride how he managed to complete this latest challenge.
"There are always low moments in these things, I was very sluggish around Athlone and it would have been very easy to stop for sleep or for a breakfast roll but that would take away from my time," smiled a Pat who lived in Cratloe and North Circular Road before moving to Kerry.
The trip provided some extra challenges along the way, as Pat had to exit the water at Parteen Weir, walk three miles carrying his kayak and re-enter the water at Castleconnell in order to continue his challenge.
Not a stranger to extreme physical challenges, Rodgers believes his latest achievement is up there with his previous expeditions.
These include rock climbing expeditions while in college in France, to taking on the challenge of a solo kayak around the entire island of Ireland, attempting to climb Aconcagua in South America, to completing the Kerry Way 120 Mile run and the Spine Race in the UK where he completed the 268 mile race along the Pennines.
Pat and his wife Tina continue to take part in adventure races as part of their racing team known as the DC Energy/Black Sheep Hostel AR team.
"Recently we have taken part multi-day adventure races, so three to five day races and long ultra-marathons which can for up to seven days so I just put what I learned from that into kayaking," Rodgers explains.
Describing her husband as "inspirational", Tina Reed welcomed him with a pint of Guinness and open arms as they explain their future plans.
“I will go home now and rest but in two weeks time we will do a 40 hour adventure race in Donegal, followed by the Killarney Hardman ten days later,” says Pat as he downs a well-deserved pint. ”Never a dull moment,” adds Tina.