Congratulations Gerry!

Deca Ironman champion Gerry Duffy with his girlfriend Jacinta O'Neill after arriving back in Dublin Airport last night

IRELAND’s answer to Superman, Gerry Duffy, returned to a hero’s welcome at Dublin Airport last night, with one thing on his mind — a quiet dinner with his girlfriend.

After running, swimming and cycling 18 hours a day for 10 days, the man crowned¬†Europe’s top endurance tri-athlete after winning the UK’s first Deca Ironman Challenge understandably needs a break.

The 43-year-old from Mullingar arrived home from Bournemouth to cheers and remarked: “I’m actually reasonably ok but only just. I have blisters and a shin problem.

“I would like to have a quiet dinner with my girlfriend. I feel like I have been in a cocoon over the last few days — it was just sleep, partake, sleep, partake.”

Speaking of his latest achievement, he said: “I had a few hallucinations along the way but a couple of things kept me going — being able to come home to my family.

“I had a cappuccino on the way over (to England) and I dreamt about that for two weeks so we had one in the same cafe on the way home.”

Gerry has come a long way since the day he was photographed standing beside Seve Ballesteros.

He was a four-stone overweight “couch potato” and a “40-a-day” man. He vowed to shed weight and quit smoking.

Gerry returned to Dublin last night accompanied by his girlfriend, Jacinta O’Neill and his crew.

Gerry, who is a motivational speaker for businesses and schools, had to finish each ironman triathlon within 22 hours. The earlier he finished, the longer he had to eat and sleep and start another day into the competition.

“Yesterday we had horrible rain for 17 or 18 hours but I kept telling myself, ‘nobody is forcing you to be here’.

“I’m lucky that I got through it without any serious injuries.”

– Mark Hilliard and Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Irish Independent

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