Quest 12 participant profile – Dan Comerford & James Fennelly
- Tell us a little about yourselves…
Dan: Hi! My name is Dan Comerford ! I live in Kilkenny with my wife Elaine and dog Sammy and work as a Senior Sales Executive for a company called TrademarkNow!
James: Hi, I’m James Fennelly, im 34. I run and own a gym, Fennelly Fitness here in Kilkenny and also own another company, Dinners for Winners with my business partner and chef George Peet, which supplies healthy nutritious meals to people’s homes and workplaces nationwide. I have a daughter named Keeva, who is aged 9.
- Have you done any adventure races before?
Dan: In short, NO! The longest (and only) race I have ever done is a ‘Try a Tri’ race hosted by the Kilkenny Triathlon Club in 2017. This was a 250m swim, 5km run and 20km cycle, so quiet a bit different than Quest 12! To give you some background, I contacted James back in 2017 a couple of months before my wedding as I was quiet overweight, unhealthy and just didn’t know what to do or where to start. James runs a very successful gym in Kilkenny, Fennelly Fitness, so I started a programme with James with the goal of loosing weight in time for my wedding. All in all, I lost 6 stone, changed the way I look at diet and exercise and really started to enjoy training in the gym every day and looking after my health.
James: Like Dan, the closest thing I have done is a ‘Try a Tri Race’! My background in sport is actually totally different than adventure racing. I was an International strength athlete, winning Ireland’s Strongest Man a record 4 times, along with competing in Europe’s Strongest Man and the World’s Strongest Man competition is Los Angeles. So, this form of event is completely the opposite of what I am used too and totally out of my comfort zone, but I do love a challenge!
- How did you hear about Quest 12/24 and what made you decide to do it?
James: We heard about this race first of all from Dan’s brother in law, Rory Leadbetter who is also participating in this event and who has competed in some of the other Quest events previously. We were looking for an extreme challenge to raise awarness for mental health and raise money for a local mental health charity after one of James’s staff members, Stevie Dooley, sadly took his own life in January of 2018. We wanted a challenge that would push us to the extreme and really test us in memory of Stevie. Quest 12 seemed to fit the bill perfectly!
- Tell us about your fundraising efforts and why you choose the charity you are supporting.
James: We have set ourselves a goal of raising €5000 for The Thomas Hayes Trust. The aim of the Thomas Hayes Trust is to provide support to individuals and families/friends who are affected by loss, through suicide, or those considering suicide and to contribute to the prevention of suicide in the community.They undertake this objective through the provision of free counselling, education, a drop in support service in the Teac Tom Centre, and a public awareness campaign to promote positive mental health. To date, we have raised close to €2000, so any donation big or small would be greatly appreciated!
- How are you training for Quest 12/24?
Dan: We are doing a mix of intense intervil style training mixed with longer endurance sessions. Typically every Saturday is our long session which could be upwards of a 5 hour training session involving tough cycles / mountain running. We also like to mix in our gym work which we enjoy along with fueling our training correctly with nutritious balanced meals from Dinners for Winners.
- Will you have ‘supporters’ with you in Sneem for the start/finish?
James: Yes definitely! We hope to have family and friends up from Kilkenny to hopefully cheer us in at the finish line!
- What do you do to motivate yourself to train?
James: Training with each other keeps us motivated. If one of us doesn’t feel like training the other person is there to push them on. We both work long hours so having somebody that your accountable to helps keep us both on track! The same applies during training if someone is fading, we can push each other on and keep the motivation up! Along with this, our goal of raising money for such a worthy cause as well as pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone helps to keep us hungry to train!
- How will you celebrate after the event?
Dan: A pint(s) of Guinness with our family and friends will have been well earned! The celebrations will continue when we hand over any money raised for our chosen charity.
You can donate to James and Dan’s fundraising efforts here. The inaugural Quest 12/24 takes place on Satruday 25th of August, starting and finishing in Sneem, County Kerry.