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John completes epic sporting adventure

“I’M ready for the next one already,” John McDermott laughs.

And laugh he might, although he’s earned his levity. The Strabane endurance athlete completed a near epic feat last weekend, when he tackled the epic Quest 12 in Co Kerry.

On Saturday he embarked on a mammoth task – a cycle around part of the Ring of Kerry – 48kms, a run up and down Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s highest mountain) 13kms all in, another 49km cycle, followed by a 5km kayak, yet another cycle (14kms) and finally a 18.5 run from Caherdaniel to Sneem. Altogether, John achieved 147.5km – cycling, hiking, paddling and running – and he did it all it all in under 12 hours.

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“The full time was 11 hours 18 minutes,” he continued. “It was good. It went really well.

“I was 55th out of 250 which I was delighted with. But it was a tight push. The last stage was an 18k mountain run. And it was really tough. It took two and a half hours for that and that was me squeezing everything out of me. This stage six went over three mountains – three big hills, they were – but the legs were heavy and it was so tough.”

Running in aid of the Koram Centre in Strabane and the Sperrin Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, John trained specifically for the event since February. And on Saturday, he was glad of that conditioning.

“The whole way through it… I could feel the training kicking in,” he revealed. “I had to even slow myself down. I knew I could go faster but I didn’t want to burn myself out.

“For the first five stages, I could feel super strong. But I really had to dig in in stage six. I was just constantly fighting with myself to keep going.

“But when I finished it was brilliant… it was a strange sense of emotion and achievement.

“It is a cracker event. It was brilliant. It had every bit of weather you can think of.

“We were being battered with hail stones one minute and then you turned the corner and you had to strip off it was 20˚C.”

Teeing up several more events before the year is finished – not least a Wicklow Mountains race at the end of September – John also paid tribute to all those who contributed to his fundraising mission.

“They’re great causes and the money for them is the main thing,” he said.

“I had an initial target of £200 but the total is up over £1,600 now. It’s unbelievable. And there’s still some off-line money that has to be collected.”

• To contribute to the fund-raising mission check out John’s crowdfunding page on Justgiving.com

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