Agri-business manager to take on 200km ultra-marathon for Temple Street

An agri-business professional and fitness fanatic is set to take on the full 200km-long Ring of Kerry this September as part of a grueling ultra-marathon which he’s undertaking to help raise funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

Father of four and Glanbia CountryLife branch manager in Mountmellick, Paddy Marsh says he wants to give something back to the hospital which continues to care for his three year old daughter, Sarah, who was born with a rare metabolic condition that leaves her body unable to break down protein.

His employer, Glanbia Ireland, has rowed in with sponsorship from two of its brands – GlanbiaConnect and Protein Milk.

Sarah gets her bloods tested every second Tuesday and will do so for the rest of her life. Her dietitian calls us on Thursdays with her results. It’s a case then of managing her diet all week to keep her well.

“The condition was diagnosed through the heel prick test when she was born. From day one, Temple Street was absolutely unbelievable. I really don’t know what we’d have done without them.”

Paddy lives in Castledaly in Co. Westmeath with his wife, Tania, and their children, Matthew, Nathan, Aidan and Sarah.

The three boys are all in school and Sarah is still in pre-school. It’s a busy home, with all heavily involved in sport – particularly the GAA.

“Sport is a huge part of our lives. I did a 24-hour national run a few years back. It covered 130km and was similar to doing three marathons back to back.

Paddy Marsh, branch manager, Glanbia CountryLife Mountmellick, Co. Laois, (third from the left) with Robert Stephenson, James Byrne and Michael Kennedy. Image source: Jeff Harvey

“We raised money at the time for Temple Street as well – but this time are going one further with the ultra-marathon,” Paddy revealed.

Glanbia CountryLife is organising a series of fundraisers in the branch to help fund the appeal. Members of the public can also donate directly on the Everyday Hero website here.

The ultra-marathon will take place on Friday, September 6, at 6:00am. Competitors have until 10:00pm the next day to complete it.

The first part is the more hilly and competitors have a set time in which to complete it before being allowed to continue.

“Training is going according to plan. I want to be down to my race weight by the end of March and to be able to do 50km on the road without a squeak.

After that, it will be time to focus on getting the legs ready for the mountains.

For that, I will train three days a week in the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The aim is to get in three quality sessions during the week every week at that stage and a long, slow run at weekends.

The plan now is to head to Kerry in June and run the first half of the course and then go back in July to attempt the second half.

“I couldn’t even have attempted this without the support of my wife, Tania. She’s been incredible.

“My employers, Glanbia, owners of CountryLife Mountmellick, have been extremely accommodating and supporting as well,” Paddy said.