Alex’s experience at running long races is admittedly quiet recent & limited. But that said it has been a fast learning curve.

Going from 1st marathon & Guinness World Record, to representing Ireland at the 100km World Championships in Spain in just two years. The following two years Alex reached the international qualifying A standard for the 24hr event going on to represent Ireland at the European 24hr championships in Romania.

 2018 saw Alex once again thinking of ways to challenge himself as an Ambasador for The Irish Guide Dogs

The challenge 32 marathons in 16 days was born & what a challenge it was?    Not alone did Alex Complete the huge challenge he finished it in 15 & 1/2 days.     “Dont count the days; make the days count” Muhammad Ali

Most certainly, this was one of the biggest challenge’s Alex has faced to date, both logistically physicaly and mentally. But thats what makes it interesting and drives him to train hard to succeed. When asked why would he even attempt a challenge like this he simply replied “I love challenging myself and pushing boundaries and doing so for a good cause makes it all worth while. The last time this challenge was done it was over 32 days. Gerry Duffy & Ken Whitelaw’s achievment paved the way for others to also push boudries and take on huge challenges. Alex new the challenge could be done in 32 days but never had it been attempted in such a tight time frame before. A single marathon can be difficult but two in one day along with traveling from venue to venue county to county will take a toll physically and mentally.  I won’t have the luxury of adequate rest and recovery. It will also be difficult to consume enough callories in a day to fuel both marathons and the bodys recovery. That said Alex planned carefully for the challenge putting a great team in place.

I know there will come a day that I won’t be able to contemplate such things and when that day comes I will look back at some amazing adventures. Alex said he looks forward to embracing the challenge and the only certainty is he will give it 100% on the day every day. He looks forward to meeting some great people along the way.

Alex not only Succeded in his 32 marathon challenge but finished it in 15 & 1/2 days. When asked about how he achieved what many thought to be imposssible he said it came down to planning preperation team work & taking it day by day. Alex said he feels very fortunate to have ran a marathon distance in every county of Ireland being joined by some amazing people along the way. With your help Alex raised over €32,000 for the Irish Guide dogs for the Blind to help them continue there amazing work.


If you would like to donate to the continued work of The Irish Guide Dogs  click here.

Alex Pictured with some former Colleagues.

Pic with Olympian Rob Heffernan The Man that can walk faster than most of us can Run.

Alex & Daithi O Se

Pic with Fellow Irish Guide Dogs Ambassador Roy Keane

Pic with fellow Irish Guide Dogs Ambassador Sonia O Sullivan. Also pictured Gerry Duffy, Frank Grealy, Gavin Hennigan, Ray o Connor & Joanne Murphy

Paschal Sheehy Reporting From Blackrock Castle Cork

Alex O’Shea is a 45 year old married, father of 4, originally from Carrigaline now living in Ballineen, Co. Cork

  • 2014 Alex ran his first marathon  2nd June 2014 at the age of 40 (never to late to start) & becoming a Guinness World Record Holder in the process. (Fastest Marathon in Full Fire Gear) 3hrs 41min 10sec.
  • 2016 Alex medaled nationaly at the Dublin Marathon for both age category and team
  • Alex also ran his 1st 24hr race reaching the international B standard that year in Belfast.
  • Alex also Competed for Ireland at the 100km World Championships In Spain.
  • 2017 Silver Medals in both the National 50km & 24 hours championship Alex recorded a personal best in the 24hr event running 151.772miles & achieving the international A selection standard to represent Ireland.
  • 2018 Alex took part in the mens 24hr Team representing Ireland in Romania
  • Sep 2018 Alex accomplished a huge charity challenge running 32 marathons one in each of the 32 counties in just 15 & 1/2 days.
  • 2019 Alex traveled to Siberia to take on what many describe as one of the worlds hardest marathons Lake Baikal Ice Marathon.




  • Alex works as a full time fire fighter with Cork City Fire Brigade since leaving the Naval Service in 2005.
  • Previous to 2005 Alex served in the Irish Naval Service for 11 years. Alex was deployed with the United Nations in Lebanon and served on many of the Irish Naval Service Vessels.
  • In the last few years Alex has developed a love of running and has pursued many personal running challenges and goals meeting some great people along the way.
  • Alex runs for Cork City Council in the BHAA (Business House Athletic Association) races. Alex is also a member of St.Finbarr’s Athletic Club in Cork & is affiliated with Marathon Club Ireland.

Alex did not start out with any great running ability far from it and as a child the focus was very much on not finishing last. But as Alex grew older he returned to running and it was not long before his interest turned to running longer events. That said it wasn’t till he turned 40 that Alex ran his first marathon. This was something he had wanted to do since the age of 15 but after a years training he was deemed to young and he parked the idea and all but gave up running as a result.

25 years on Alex’s first marathon was certainly memorable. At 40 years of age after training for a year Alex ran the Cork City Marathon in full Fire Gear Breaking the then Guinness World Record by almost 1hr. Running a time of 3hrs 41min 10 sec dressed in full fire gear (fire boots bunker pants jacket and helmet) all in aid of The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and his local playground in Ballineen West Cork. It would be a year before Alex ran his next marathon which quickly lead to longer events more marathons and challenges.

Puppies IGDIrish Guide Dogs

About Alex


2017 saw Alex compete in various races of marathon and longer distances culminating with his proudest running moment of 2017 a second place finish at the National 24hour Championships. Alex was to finish 1st in the open race, 2nd in the national championship and 6th in his age category in the World Masters event and has put himself in a good position for future team selection.


2018 Alex has two huge athletic focuses. Alex hopes to be selected to represent Ireland for the National 24hr ultra running team for the European championships to be held in Romania in late May.

Then come September Alex will embark on a huge charity challenge in aid of the Irish guide Dogs for the blind.  Alex will attempt to run 32 marathons, 32 counties in just 16 days. Thats 0ne in every county Two marathons a day. Why not join Alex and show your support.


2019 Alex took on a new experiance traveling to Siberia to compete in the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon were he finished 4th.                   Most of 2019 will be focused on 24hr running were Alex hopes to compete at the National 24hr ultra running championships again in Belfast with a view to maintaining a place on the Irish team to be selected for the World championships to be held in France this October.



2014 Aged 40 Alex ran his first Marathon. Cork City marathon in a time of 3Hrs 41min 10sec Achieving a Guinness World record by taking nearly 1Hr off the previous record for the fastest time to run a marathon in a full fire mans uniform. (boots fire leggings, Tunic and helmet)


2015 and another Guinness World Record attempt but this one was to be unsuccessful. Alex renewed his links with the Irish Guide Dogs & attempted to run Malin to Mizen (the length of Ireland) Alex had to pull out at the end of day 1 due to an injury at 100 miles. While this was a big personal disappointment not to achieve his goal or at least finish the challenge Alex now views it positively and draws strength from all the positives and support he received.


2016, Stared slow as Alex returned from injury. But he put in some good performances & with the year all but over Alex got a surprise call up to represent Ireland at the 100km World Championships in Spain. Alex said it was a huge honour to represent Ireland and somthing he will never forget.

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