Seamus Hennessy, Customer Success Manager and Antarctic Ice Marathon Runner

My name is Seamus Hennessy and I work as a Customer Success Manager for Qualtrics in Dublin. I am originally from Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, but I have been making ends meet in Dublin since 2013. I was keen to test myself in a fast-growing SaaS company where, ideally, a fast start-up style culture and structure existed. Proceeding through the interview process with Qualtrics, it became apparent that this type of experience was available, and it led me to where I am right now.

On 13 December 2018, I ran the Antarctica Ice Marathon to raise funds for my campaign RunningforJosie. RunningforJosie has a very sad origin story – I lost my mother Josie to suicide as an 11-year-old boy. This was the principal driving force behind trying to do what little I can to help other Irish families not encounter and experience the same devastation that befell my family and me.

The main aim of this Ice Marathon was to raise €200,000 to support Living Links Tipperary and Pieta House. These organisations provide life-saving services to those suffering in suicidal distress, or for individuals and families requiring support to process and cope with the death of a loved one by suicide.

From a physical perspective, I had quite a limited training period as I was still playing hurling competitively. I only trained appropriately for 15 weeks or so – for a beginning marathon runner, this is not quite enough. From a mental perspective, I spent hours and hours engaged in specific visualisation and affirmation development for 6 months before the race.

The marathon was 26.2 miles, and it took me 7 hours 5 minutes to complete. A knee injury flared up the afternoon before the race – this meant I had to walk 20 of the 26.2 miles, so that was the most challenging part. I stayed focused on the goal solely down to the thousands of people who donated to the campaign and the thoughts of how this money can help people to avoid the devastation of suicide.

RunningforJosie was a very successful project, as over €243,000 was raised in total. The most rewarding thing about RunningforJosie was the knowledge that what was raised will reduce the number of people in Ireland who will take their life by suicide, and will also reduce the number of friends and families left devastated in the aftermath. Words cannot do justice to the brilliant feedback and response I got for this project – it was a very humbling experience.

As time passes, my desire to run another marathon is lessening, but who knows what the future holds. I’ve heard the possibility of a marathon run chasing the Northern Lights – that sounds incredible, so never say never.

RunningforJosie has been a great benefit to my professional career and personal life – it’s helped develop my resilience, my organisational skills, expanded my horizon, and developed my empathy and emotional intelligence.

My advice to beginners looking to do similar marathons is to not try to do it all alone. You’ll fall in a heap exhausted – even if you do reach your goal, you may begin to resent why you’re doing it all in the first place from the sheer volume of work you’ve to balance. Also, train for longer than 15 weeks!

There is always more than tech. Tech should always be seen as an enabler to the most important thing in the world: people. Your iPhone won’t deliver the eulogy when your final day of life arrives.

If you’d like to support Pieta House or Living Links Tipperary, be sure to check the links below:

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