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Dublin Marathon

Dublin fireman will run marathon with child's weight on his shoulders to highlight teen suicide

Don’t worry though, he won’t be running with an actual child on his shoulders.

Linda Scully Linda Scully

DUBLIN FIREMAN PADRAIG Thompson is planning to run the Dublin Marathon, carrying the weight of a child on his shoulders, in an attempt to raises awareness of mental health issues faced by young people today.

During his eight years as a firefighter, Thompson has seen the heartache experienced by young people and families as a result of mental health issues, including suicide, and the devastation it leaves behind.

This Bank Holiday Monday, he will complete the 26 mile race carrying a child mannequin and would like fellow marathon participants to lend their support by carrying some of the weight for him.

He hopes the gesture will represent those moments when friends, family and strangers offer kind words, encouragement, and gestures of support that can go a long way in helping someone in their darkest of moments.

“Unfortunately as frontline emergency service members my colleagues and I have been in the position of seeing the devastation suicide causes amongst young people and the heartache it leaves behind for those families who have lost someone very young,” said Thompson.

It saddens me to think that these young people felt that suicide was a ‘way out’ from the difficulties they may have been facing.

Thompson will not actually be running with a real child on Monday... Linda Scully Linda Scully


The firefighter is doing the marathon on behalf of the charity Suicide or Survive, which works to highlight the issue and education young people about the support systems available to them. So far he has raised more than €700 on his MyCharity page.

“Our ambition is to create a society where people feel comfortable to embrace their mental health wellness, where those in difficulty and those around them aren’t scared, and know where to turn for help,” commented the charity’s CEO, Caroline McGuigan.

“Efforts such as Padraig’s go a long way, and remind us all to try and become more mindful of our own mental health and that of others.”

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Read: “Mortified, we hope it’ll be grand”: Enda speaks out on male depression>

Opinion: Driving home on a stormy night, I saw a distressed young man on a bridge wall>


  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email - (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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