Running 60 miles for charity a few days after celebrating his 60th birthday is not something Co Tyrone grandfather Joe Curry figures is “any big deal”.
While the challenge may daunt most of us, the Cookstown man ‘nailed’ his challenge in just over 13 hours to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, finishing at 1.30pm on Saturday.
“I chose Alzheimer’s Society because I lost my father-in-law about five years to the disease,” he told the News Letter.
“I didn’t know anything about the disease but when you see people sitting with it in a nursing home, it hits home. That encouraged me to do the 60 miles for Alzheimer’s.
“I had set a target of raising £5,000 but I think I will raise more than that now.”
Mr Curry added that although he had hoped to complete the route in 12 hours, “the weather conditions held me back a bit”.
“So I was content enough with that,” he said on Sunday. “I am very sore today. I had a good night’s sleep but my legs are not too good.
“I set off at midnight on Friday through Magherafelt and then Cookstown and then on to Omagh. Then I turned in Omagh and back to Cookstown.
“There were not so many people with me through the night but the next day there were people from my running club. I had vans with me the whole time for safety.
“I didn’t take that many stops and tried to keep running so I did the equivalent of two marathons and another eight miles.
“But what made it harder was the weather, with black ice.”
The grandfather-of-five - who ran a 50-mile route for Marie Curie when he was 50 years old - said he has been “addicted to running for the last 30 years”.
“It just gets into the blood and becomes a bug,” he said.
“My two children and my wife are very supportive of me. I have done 55 full marathons and 10 ultra marathons which could be anything from 35 miles to 100 miles.”
Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser for the Mid Ulster area Moira Shaw has praised Mr Curry for his “massive efforts”.
She said one in three people over 65 will develop dementia.
“It is more than just memory loss; it robs people of their lives and has a devastating impact on families and loved ones,” she said.
“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like Joe to help us continue our vital work so that Alzheimer’s Society can continue the fight against dementia.”