Brendan loved to party but a bet with drinking buddies made him sign up for a marathon. His regrets quickly turned into joy when running gave him purpose and daily focus.
“I lived for the weekends I was a huge clubber and I wasn’t active at all. My life would chaos, I was in debt. I suppose looking backing it was because I didn’t have a focus. I’m not someone who was ever depressed or would feel flat; I would say my personality is very upbeat. But I think it was just because for all through school I didn’t know what I wanted to do. You know, we have all these social pressures and I just didn’t have an outlet. I didn’t have a passion, I didn’t have some sort of direction.
No structured days, getting up late, getting to work, going out in the weekends, it was just all chaos.”
When he started running in 2006 it was a start of structure, discipline, and having a focus. He started feeling awake, enjoyed doing his training before going to work, and faced his lifestyle and debts.
It took him 3 months to run his first half marathon. When he found out that his time was 1 hour 24 he was like “wow, I’m actually quite good at something and it was something that I worked for.” He was immensely proud of it because up to 28 he didn’t really have anything as such because before he felt he was always messing around.
At age 36 Brendan was diagnosed with dyslexia, which is exacerbated by his ADHD in terms of changing direction of what he’s thinking. And running is the one thing he doesn’t get bored of that he can focus on, almost like a superpower and hyperfocus. It’s why he likes big challenges like his Africa Run.
“Where my mind can’t concentrate on so many things, running is just completely you’re living in that moment. You’re not thinking about tomorrow or this morning, you’re completely listening, you know, feeling your breathing, the sweat running down your face. It is almost like mindfulness to another level, especially in a world where everything is so crazy and everyone is so stressed, and everything is so fast, it kind of just strips it right back and you just go Aahh I’m free, this is what it’s about.”
After running the length of Malawi in 27 days, he covered 962 miles in the UK, from John O’Groats to Lands End, to give orphans in Malawi a safe future. In 2018 he ran 2500+miles from Namibia to Mozambique to build a boy’s hostel for the charity.
Now he’s preparing for a new and even bigger challenge, to run from Cairo to Capetown, so stay tuned!