Padraig 'Paudie' Thompson not only ran the marathon in Dublin yesterday, but he did so carrying a 40kg weight on his back in the shape of a dummy used for training exercises, all to raise awareness for mental health.
That got him plenty of attention yesterday during the run itself, as well as helping him to raise over €4,000 for the Suicide Or Survive (SOS) charity which aims to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Brave Fireman Padraig Thompson who is running the Dublin Marathon with a child on his back #@dublinmarathon pic.twitter.com/BJ4WEg53nw
— Barry McCarthy (@Barrymccarthy) October 27, 2014
The weight was symbolic on the run, representing what it's like to have a problem weighing you down, and Podge (as he's known to friends and family) spoke to Breaking News about why he places such an emphasis on staying fit: "exercise can be just as good for people experiencing mental health issues as anything. People say to me 'oh you run marathons, you're so fit, I couldn't do anything like that' but [you can] really if you went out tomorrow for your first jog - that's your challenge".
Padraig 'Paudi' Thompson the fireman running to raise awareness for mental health with a 40kg weight on his shoulders pic.twitter.com/64b6r5AGpr
— Dublin Marathon (@dublinmarathon) October 27, 2014
That wasn't all that had Thompson in the papers today though, as after he finished the grueling run in a time of 5:53:44, he proposed to his girlfriend at the finish line, and thankfully she said yes.
The Moment She Said YES!!! pic.twitter.com/xPFhnDgN8L
— Fitwest Training (@Fitwest) October 27, 2014
Thompson added that his main goal was to raise awareness, and to get people to understand that talking about any issues you have will help, no matter how small. "Pick up the phone to somebody you know is struggling. Ask them how they are. Reach out to them and connect with them. You don't have to try to solve their problems. Just give them somebody to talk to."