Friends, family and well wishers welcome Cormac Lewis home after he’d run 111 miles (178km) over 29 hours, starting at 6am on Saturday morning last Saturday, May 11, from Portcawl, and arriving to his family home in Cavan Town on Sunday just after 11am.

Cavan man completes incredible 111 mile run home

Cormac Lewis burned through 15,000 calories running over 24 hours from his home in Wales back to Cavan.

Five hours after almost not being able to climb the stairs to bed, Cormac Lewis sits back, extends his arms skywards and lets out a long sigh. Bones, joints, every sinew right down to their very fibre creak in unison. But he’s out and about, four pints deep, comforted by the company he keeps and relaxed knowing he needn’t move if he doesn’t want to. By all accounts Cormac is “buzzing” following his incredible feat of endurance- running from his home in Wales back to his native Cavan via Belfast and overwhelmed by the support of family and friends who joined him along the way.

“There’s something about shared suffering,” he explains, having picked through this fairly unique thought process after running an equally mammoth journey from Portcawl to Cardiff Airport, and from Dublin Airport then to Cavan, last year.

“There a strange beauty to it, pushing yourself to your limits, way beyond your comfort zone, to see how you’ll react to that, and then also have other with you doing the same. My 100 miles is the same as someone else’s five, or ten, or 15. People will push themselves and do way more than they ever thought they could when sharing the burden with someone else.”

To put into sheer numbers, Cormac burned through 15,000 calories running close to four marathons back to back without sleep, 111 miles (178km) over 29 hours. He started at 6am last Saturday morning, May 11, from Portcawl, and arrived to his family home in Cavan Town last Sunday, just after 11am.

In Wales Cormac was joined by running companion Matt Stroud and his younger brother Emlyn Lewis. On touchdown in Belfast, he ran with the support of wife Gemma and son Oshi, as well as friends Jonty O’Neill and Caoimhin Magee. The latter guided him through the Shankill and Falls Road on their way to completing a marathon distance to Lurgan. There Cormac’s friends Niall Monaghan and Tom McCormack took over the baton. Later Cormac ran with the support of Tirloch and Eoghan O’Brien, Shaney McPhillips, Thomas Plunkett, Kevin Donohoe, Daire Donohoe, Karl McEntee and sister Jenny and their children including son Louis.

Along with Cormac, wife Gemma, and friends, Niall and Kevin completed their longest runs to date.

“Even the people who didn’t run, like my dad who travelled a good bit of the journey with drinks and food,” he acknowledged. “[They] keep you on your toes.”

In preparation Cormac trained 70 miles a week, doing the equivalent of a half marathon (13.1 mile/ 21.1km) most days to and from the train station to his London work, and would include “night runs the odd Thursday night” after getting back to Portcawl. His last training run was the Newport Marathon a fortnight before when Cormac hit his all-time run goal of a sub three-hour (2.59) marathon.

Like before, Cormac’s run this time round was in support of a cause about which he feels particularly passionate - homelessness. Last weekend’s challenge was in support of the UK-based Shelter, and already the amount raised has quadrupled since before the weekend.

As well as the much-needed money that Cormac is raising, he hopes to build greater awareness around the plight of those suffering homelessness.

“Especially where I run in Wales you have these huge power stations, the size of towns, where maybe 4,000 people were once employed but they’re now decommissioned, and there’s all the problems that come with that. You have people sleeping in cars, in abandoned factories, these are people the statistics don’t pick up because they’re not on the streets.”

It all formed part of the unwavering resolve that propelled Cormac forward, determination etched into his every stride, even though he found himself in the “worst pain” he’s ever endured.

“Everything was hurting. But I had it in my head that, when I finished it, I didn’t want to have anything left in me. I wanted to give it my all. I wanted to get home with the feeling I left everything 110 miles behind me.”

Along the way, he was joined by friends and family, their presence a source of encouragement.

Whether it was a chicken snack box delivered by childhood friend Damien Donohoe in Armagh, or cousin Tom and “the legendary van” for company; while the PSNI suspiciously tracked their activities running through the dead of night, Cormac is hugely thankful for all their support.

With each passing mile, his destination drew closer, his resolve unyielding even in the face of incredible fatigue. By the time he reached the outskirts of Cavan Town, Gemma and Oshi were there again to run alongside; while mum Carmel and a large gathering of family, friends and well-wishers grouped to cheer everyone across the finish line.

For Cormac, the true measure of his journey is not in the miles travelled. Already he’s had people come up to him and tell him they’d love to get involved next time out.

“I’d been dreaming of that moment [of arriving home] for 110 miles. It’s just beautiful, something that lasts forever. From abject pain to absolute love in 0.1 seconds. That moment can’t be replicated.”

To donate visit: Home to Home for the Homeless