13 or 14 months ago I started training for something that made a lot of people look at me like I was insane. This wasn't a new reaction for me; previously I'd ran marathons and learned to swim two months before an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon.
Now that doesn't seem too bad, but being the slightly highly strung looper I am, I wasn't happy and took things up a couple of notches. I know, maybe I wasn't held enough as a baby or something...
First I ran an Ultramarathon just inside the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden. It was a 100km race that started at 10pm at night took and over 11 hours to complete - myself and my friend Ash managed to finish joint seventh. I followed that up the following year with a 130 mile plus run we called Challenge 126; it was from Limerick to Dublin - nonstop. We (myself and my pal Brian Maher and the guys at TechoWolfe) made a documentary about the run and raised a nice sum of cash for the awesome folks of Special Olympics Ireland. That trot around the country and indeed that cause was incredibly well supported by the folks here at entertainment.ie.
Truth be told I never really enjoyed running; just didn't love it the way say my mate Ash does. I've never felt the rush or the freedom that a lot of folks do when partaking in race - never mind an Ultramarathon - only relief that it was over. That doesn't mean I won't ever do another one, just I discovered something else that i've since fallen in love with.
While I've come back to entertainment.ie as Editor since February, previously I ran another publication and trained for a Mixed Martial Arts fight. I spent 4 months or so in a Fight Camp, training sometimes twice a day with my coach Owen Roddy in Primal MMA. The whole camp and training was leading up to an event that was taking place in the middle of September of last year and was being organised by the Godfather of Irish MMA, SBG Head Coach, John Kavanagh.
I managed to find the cage and fought a talented, young gentlemen by the name of Alex Swan. The fight, the training and the general experience had a profound effect on me and while I was previously a fan of the sport for many years, I've since become pretty much obsessed with it. The difference is now I go into Primal MMA and train as opposed to watching it, fascinated but afraid to try.
The documentary (apparently I don't do shit unless there's a camera crew following me around) we made about the fight, the camp the individuals who helped me along the way is called Barbaric Gentlemen and is on 3e this very Wednesday at 9pm.
We managed to get UFC stars Conor McGregor and Cathal Pendred to take part, as well as female MMA star Ash Daly and their coach, John Kavanagh. We also spoke to the President of The UFC, Dana White. But the real star of the show is my coach and friend, Owen Roddy, who managed to steal my thunder as the leading man (... I've never forgiven him). Owen personified, without ever really trying, what this sport was all about. Hard work, integrity, patience, skill and a bunch of other stuff i don't have the vocabulary to fully articulate.
I hope you'll join me for the first airing on terrestrial television this Wednesday. With UFC Dublin just days away, it might just get you even more excited.
Barbaric Gentlemen, 3e, July 16th at 9pm.
#BarbaricGentlemen on the Twitter machine