Dublin fireman Podge to run marathon BLIND for charity

Podge (right) with Geoff who will guide him through the race
Podge (right) with Geoff who will guide him through the race

Not content with putting out fires and saving lives for a living, Dublin fireman Podge Thompson is about to take on his biggest challenge yet, when he runs the Dublin marathon blindfolded.

The 34-year-old hero made headlines last year when he ran the event with a mannequin tied to his back, before proposing to his long-term girlfriend halfway through. 

“I had to think of something wacky to beat last year,” the Clondalkin man told the Sunday World this week. 

“Last year was a lot of fun and, obviously, got a lot of headlines. I wanted to try and do something similar this time around, so I thought about doing the whole thing with a blindfold on.”

In order to make this task work, Podge has enlisted the help of fellow fireman Geoff Tracey, who will run alongside Podge for the entire race. 

“It didn’t take long to convince him to help me out with this as he is already a very impressive marathon runner. His only condition was that I didn’t propose to anyone this year and hold him up,” Podge joked. 

Last year’s effort was in aid of mental health charities, and this year the father of one is running for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. 

“My four-year-old and my 13-year-old stepson have been in, but it is my work as a fireman that made me realise how important this hospital is.

“The work that the staff do is unreal. In an ideal world we will raise €8,000. We have around €1,000 so far from a superhero fundraiser we did in the Blachardstown Centre.”

So is his job affected by all the training? 

“No, my home life is, but the job is the same,” he laughed. 

Podge proposing to Emma mid-race last year

“My fiancée Emma is behind me 100 per cent, plus I’m getting out of all the wedding planning.

“Myself and Geoff ran 18 miles last week and I was blindfolded for the whole thing. It was amazing to reach that distance. 

“The whole experience is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I am completely trusting Geoff to keep me up to date with obstacles and changes of terrain.

“I know there are going to be thousands of runners on the day, which is hard to train for, but we think we have the right technique now. Sure, look at the size of him. He actually looks like a fireman where as I’m just a short-arse. 

“I fully expect to have the odd fall, but as long as I don’t get any injuries I will be happy.

“I am finding parts of it easier than normal training. It is very unnerving at first but having trained now for a few months I am starting to get used to running with a blindfold on the open road.”

To sponsor Podge log on to www.cmrf.org/user_main/fundraiser/35194.