Firefighter marathon runner races to raise €8k for children's hospital

By Aideen O'Flaherty 

A LOCAL firefighter has completed a gruelling challenge this week, which saw him run two marathons on two different continents within 22 hours, to raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin’s ‘Giggle Fund’ in memory of a colleague who recently passed away.

Podge Thompson, who lives in Clondalkin and worked in Tallaght Fire Station for several years before being transferred to Dublin Fire Brigade HQ, is no stranger to taking on mammoth tasks to raise funds for charity.

Podge Thompson Costa Rica

Podge pictured during a previous challenge in Costa Rica 

Podge previously ran a marathon while carrying a 40kg mannequin, he ran another marathon while blindfolded, and also undertook six marathons in six days through the jungles of Costa Rica.

In this latest charitable challenge, Podge ran a marathon distance through Dublin city in the early hours of Thursday, October 31, and then boarded a flight to New York City at 11am.

On arrival he headed to Central Park in Manhattan to embark on a 42km run.

On Friday, Podge sent The Echo a message to confirm that his two marathons in two continents in 22 hours was complete. 

While in New York, Podge will also take on the NYC Marathon this Sunday. 

Speaking with The Echo earlier in the week, Podge said: “I am attempting this challenge with the hope of raising funds for the Giggle Fund at Crumlin Hospital.

“It’s ironic, as our recently departed friend and colleague had the most contagious laugh you ever heard.”

Podge’s recently departed friend and colleague is popular firefighter and station officer for Tallaght Fire Station, Adrian ‘Aido’ O’Grady, who died suddenly earlier this month, after 24 years of service to Dublin Fire Brigade, at the age of 47.

Adrian OGrady

Adrian O' Grady

Remembering his friend, Podge said: “When I joined Dublin Fire Brigade 14 years ago, I met Aido and he looked after me. He was such a messer.”

Adrian was also the coordinator of the Critical Incident Stress Management team, and was instrumental in introducing crisis intervention and counselling for his colleagues. He is also fondly remembered by his colleagues for his infectious laugh and good sense of humour.

Explaining why he chose to take on this challenge in Adrian’s memory, Podge said: “When the Giggle Fund was brought up by CMRF [Crumlin Children’s Hospital’s charity foundation], it reminded me of Aido’s laugh – it was the most contagious thing.”

Podge added that Adrian was due to fly to New York the day after he passed away, and Adrian was a Dubliner, so it seemed fitting that he would take on marathons in Dublin and New York in memory of him.

He added: “I am hoping this will help raise awareness for the great work being carried out in Crumlin Children’s Hospital, in particular the Giggle Fund.

“This is a fund that allows each ward in the hospital to purchase items and presents for birthdays, Halloween, Christmas and much more, so that all the little superheroes in there don’t miss out on anything while they stay in the hospital.”

Podge also ran the Dublin City Marathon last week, and will run through the streets of New York on Sunday in the New York City Marathon, all in aid of CMRF’s Giggle Fund.

Podge is aiming to raise €8,000 for the Giggle Fund, and you can donate on his Just Giving page HERE

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