“I want to showcase what people with a disability can do” - Day One - Peter Ryan's Malin to Mizen Ultra Run

October 17, 2023

Speaking to Peter Ryan over the phone six days before he began his journey from Malin to Mizen, he told me “I want to showcase what people with a disability can do”. Over the five days stretching from October 8th- October 12th, Peter took us all on an unforgettable journey where we witnessed an athletic feat that will never be forgotten by both himself and most certainly the crew around him.

When I met Peter on the night of Sunday October 8th, I met a dejected and exhausted man who had just completed Day One of the journey, or to give it proper context, 108km of running. For me, it was a man who knew he had four more days of a similar distance to run. But, despite the exhaustion, Peter remained upbeat and cracked jokes over the dinner table with everybody until it was time for him to go to his hotel room and take his dreaded nightly ice bath.

I was fascinated to hear how Day One had gone for Peter, and so I caught up with him and asked him how he felt after completing the first 108km. “Honestly, I didn’t know what I was facing into. I was very nervous in the week leading up to it, but once we got to Malin I definitely mellowed out and got myself into race mode. There was a great crowd up there which surprised me, in a good way, but it definitely added to the anxiety of what was to come.”

“My abiding memory of the whole thing was my heart rate. My heart rate was through the roof, it was nearly 180, and it took me a good 3k to settle. My legs were heavy from 80k onwards. By the time I got back to the hotel, I couldn’t eat food, I wasn’t able to touch my dinner. I learned that you could go from feeling really good to really bad in the space of a kilometre. Day One was a big punch in the face to let us know, this is going to be relentless.”

When Peter trudged upstairs for his aforementioned ice bath, I decided to go up with him and talk to him about anything and everything, in the hopes of taking his mind off the shocking cold. We spoke about the new World Record Marathon time which had been recorded earlier that day in Chicago, and I was thinking “How is this man entertaining any conversation to do with running right now?” Seeing Peter go through that first ice bath and the way he got himself through it, I knew there was mental toughness inside him, and that toughness was most certainly tested in the days to come.

In the coming days, I will talk about everything from Day Two all the way through to Day Five. With many twists and turns along the way, you don't want to miss it!

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