An Irish firefighter made history by successfully completing his 32nd marathon in just 16 days.

Alex O'Shea pushed his body to the absolute limit to run two marathons every day over a 16-day time frame.

And on Sunday evening last, the 44-year-old father of four, who is otherwise known as the running fireman, was given a hero's welcome as he reached the end of his epic challenge in Cork.

The super-fit ultra-athlete, whose back-breaking charity challenge spanned the 32 counties of the island of Ireland, fittingly crossed the finishing line of his final marathon at Cork fire station, his place of work.

On Sunday O'Shea battled torrential rain and wind after setting after just after midnight on a 26.2-mile course in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

And speaking during what his final leg, and 32nd marathon, of the challenge in Cork he said, "32 marathons, 32 counties, 16 days.  We're back home, we're in Cork, we are on marathon number 32, buzzing, garda car out in front and plenty of people out running with us."

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Then, after completing his final marathon he was hugged by his family and young children in emotional scenes.

O'Shea is no stranger to punishing challenges, having previously set the fastest-ever time for running a marathon while wearing regulation fireman's gear.

But the full-time firefighter previously described his two-marathon-a-day charity feat, which he embarked on to raise funds for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, as "as tough as it gets.”

O'Shea came to distance running relatively late in life and ran his first marathon four years ago at the age of 40.

But his talent was immediately apparent, as he set a new Guinness World Record in the process, by running the entire 26.2 miles of the Cork City Marathon route in full, back-breaking fire gear, including a 3.5 pound firefighter's helmet, steel-capped boots and fire-retardant trousers and jacket, in a time of just three hours, 41 minutes and 10 seconds.

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