Foynes fireman Kenneth Trinder is due to represent Limerick in the Dublin Marathon in October as part of the Spar Spartan Challenge.
He is one of 26 participants from around the country taking on the challenge of training for a full marathon for the first time.
Each county in the Republic of Ireland has a participant in the Spartan challenge, which sees runners training for races of increasing length before taking on the 42-kilometre Dublin Marathon.
Kenneth has a keen interest in running and, having completed a number of 10km runs in the past, he is seeking a greater challenge.
“I do a good bit of running myself. I participated in the Great Limerick Run last year and a mate of mine got me into the running. I have done a number of 10k runs and got the bug.
“I would like to lose another bit of weight and I want to run a marathon. It’s going well and we’re getting good advice from experts.”
The 26 marathon novices are being guided in their preparation by fitness expert Karl Henry, who has a Bachelor of Science from University College Dublin and appeared on the RTE programme Operation Transformation, and renowned nutritionist Paula Mee, holder of a Masters in Health Science.
Former Olympic athlete Catherina McKiernan has also conducted a Chi-running workshop with the Spartans.
Kenneth spoke highly of the assistance that he and his fellow Spartans are receiving from their knowledgeable coaches.
“The coaches are excellent. They really know their stuff and there’s never any problem with them.
“They know that some of us are aiming to lose weight and others are trying to gain a bit of weight. They give us a set programme each week and the training is getting tougher. The long runs are starting now.”
Kenneth was selected for the Spartan Challenge after posting his profile on Spar’s Facebook page and receiving sufficient votes to be called for interview to Dublin.
The interview panel included Karl Henry and Paula Mee and Kenneth was then chosen as Limerick’s representative in the challenge.
On his profile on the Spartan Challenge website, Kenneth says: “When I saw the Spartan Challenge, I knew that was for me, and to get the chance to work and train with the experts in this game like Karl Henry and Paula Mee would greatly add to an already fantastic experience.”
The training consists of a series of runs in the Dublin Race Series, with Kenneth having completed a five-mile run in the Phoenix Park in 40 minutes and the Fingal 10k race in 49 minutes last month.
There are further races to come in preparation for the Dublin Marathon, for which he has set a personal target.
“I’d like to be able to run it in under four hours so I’m trying to get my body used to running such lengths.
“I’m trying to get my fitness up because running 26.2 miles is no easy feat. It helped that I was already involved in running at the start of the training.
“I have a 10-mile run coming up at the end of August and I’m running the Dublin half-marathon next month.”
Kenneth has been pleased with his progress so far, saying that “you get out of it exactly what you put into it”, and the Spartan who is judged to show the greatest dedication, improvement and determination will be rewarded with a trip to see the New York Marathon in November.
Kenneth is considering raising funds for Spar’s charity of the year, the 3Ts (Turning the Tide of Suicide). The charity aims to increase awareness of suicide and lower the rate of suicide through its ‘1Life’ helpline (freephone 1800 247 100).