Darren Beattie


Darren Beattie



An Omagh man, whose wife is working in the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak, has raised over £29,000 for local NHS staff by running a marathon in his garden shed.

Seanie Meyler took on the 26.2-mile challenge on Easter Monday, completing the marathon in a remarkable time of three hours and 55 minutes on his treadmill.

And it was all for a great cause - his wife, Paula, is currently working in the Intensive Care COVID-19 Unit at the South West Acute Hospital and knowing the great pressure NHS staff are currently under, Seanie wanted to do something to help.

"I said to the kids: 'Wouldn't it be great if I ran a marathon in the garden shed for Paula?'," he said. "So I talked to Paula about it and I put a plan in place. We contacted the head sister in the Intensive Care Unit at the South West Acute Hospital. I wanted to keep it local and help staff from Fermanagh and Tyrone.

"Her job is challenging, even with putting on the PPE correctly and taking it off. It's a different way of nursing. Some patients are on ventilators and others are critical, so it's challenging for them all."

Initially, Seanie had set a target of £4,000 - but that total had been exceeded within hours of promoting his Go Fund Me page.

"I wanted to make a contribution - but this has completely blown me away," he said.

"It's a huge amount and credit to the people who have made contributions. Before I started my run it was at £10,600.

"For people to dip into their pockets is a really good gesture, especially when there are so many different causes at the moment. Communities are coming together and the people have been so, so good.

"I'm pleased to have done my bit. Others are making masks, scrubs etc. The situation has made us all realise the importance of community and the importance of giving. We are all taking stock of things at the moment."

Seanie started off his challenge at 12 noon on Easter Monday and less than four hours later, he had completed what he had set out to do.

"The most I had ran on a treadmill was 10 miles, so I knew it was going to be a challenge. In fact, the furthest I had ran over the last couple of years is 17 miles, which was a few weeks ago.

"I had to be mentally strong. It was a real struggle for the last five mile or so. But the power of prayer is strong. It got me through."

There was no crowd to cheer him on but the support of his family played a big part.

"The children were very good; they had put up motivational quotes, pictures and photographs of the family. My family is hugely important to me, and Conor, Aoife and Emer were outstanding."

Seanie donned a number of t-shirts throughout his run, including the new Run for Enda vest.

“They were to be worn at the Omagh Half Marathon, so it was great to be the first person to wear it,” continued Seanie.

So, how does this achievement compare to others in an esteemed running career?

“I’ve had bad and good times, they are all different experiences. But this was more to do with the cause.

“The time didn’t matter, but it’s amazing what can move people in any walk of life when they have a purpose.”

If you would like to donate - visit www.gofundme.com/f/intensive-care-covid19-nursing-staff-in-swah

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