Learning about extreme endurance athlete Gavan Hennigan has shook me to my core, made me look inward and ask, “Am I living a life I want to remember?”
I find myself couch bound nowadays more than ever. A slave to the internet, writing and capturing stories about others living their lives to the fullest and making adventure memories. As I child I remember my father telling me, “The older you get, the faster life goes by.” It had no impact on me as a child but now as any adult the idea is so real and true it frightens me. Reading stories like Gavan Hennigan’s, Irish Extreme Endurance Athlete, scares me to the core. I was once snorkeling, jumping off high cliffs, swimming with dolphins in the open ocean, kayaking with orcas in Alaska, so on and so on. None of that any more. I would call myself a city slicker-couch potato today, getting most of my exercise pushing around weights indoors at the gym.
Running an online publication is what I have been doing for the last 6 years, reporting on other people’s stories and life adventures. This year I turned 45, I have no idea how the hell that happened, and I ask myself, Am I living the life I want to be living?” Where are my adventures? What are my memories that I am making? And quite frankly my answer has scared and shook me to the core. You could say that I’m stuck, adventureless.
One part of me wants to quit everything I am doing, pack a bag, get a one way ticket to anywhere. Being a married man and a father of two precious cats, that is not really an option. But I tell you this, I am absolutely inspired by Gavan Hennigan and his life adventures and I need to make some changes before I’m on my death bed, looking back at memories of sitting on the couch blogging about the exciting lives of others. Everybody please meet and be inspired by Gavan Hennigan, the man who has shook my core and held a mirror up to my reflection.
Gavan Hennigan is an Irish Extreme Endurance Athlete who hails from Galway. He has worked worldwide as a deep-sea saturation diver for over 10 years, diving to depths of 200 m to perform heavy construction on oil rigs.
During his time off, Gavan has adventured to all 7 continents, climbing and snowboard mountaineering in Antarctic, Arctic, Alaska, Ultra Running at home in Ireland and he has completed 2 of the longest and toughest Winter Ultras in the world – the Likeys Arctic Ultra, a 566km Winter Ultra Marathon inside the Arctic Circle and The Yukon Arctic Ultra 500km where he placed 2nd with the 3rd fastest time recorded since it’s induction in 2003. Through both of these events Gavan has raised over €20,000 for local Galway charities.
Gavan is National Ambassador for Jigsaw, the national charity for Youth Mental Health. Jigsaw is committed to delivering a significant change in the way Ireland responds to, supports and thinks about youth mental health. If you are inspired by Gavan’s story and are able to support Jigsaw’s vision for change, please donate today.
Gavan Hennigan is on the cover of Attitude Magazine this month. Check it out here attitude.co.uk
In Attitude’s August issue – available to download and in shops now – Gavan reveals how a the emotional scars of growing up gay in Galway in the late Nineties led him into a crippling cycle of low self-esteem and drug addiction which eventually led to a attempt to take his own life.
“I did go out now and again but a lot of my drug use took place in a fucking room”, he recalls. “That apartment that I lived in in Essex was a furniture-less apartment, and it was just a mattress on the ground.
6 months to the day since I stepped off my little ocean Rowing boat after spending 49 days alone, I lost 13kg in body weight and could barely walk when I got on dry land, Having given that ocean everything I had and then some, I understood deep down what it truly means to surrender to a power greater than myself @benduffyphoto
Most of the time I'm repping Ireland but sometimes the Ivory Coast! That little flag belongs to @cianobrolchain who has had it up Everest and we both summitted Ama Dablam together with @johnjohnburke in 2015, I took it home after that trip by mistake! Since then it's traveled 500km through the Yukon, 700km across Lake Baikal and 5,000km across the Atlantic! Cian just summitted Lhotse in Nepal and became the first Irishman to do so,hope you got a good replacement! Hugely proud of himself and @johnjohnburke who is the first Clare Man up Everest #oceanrowing pic: @sv_skye
Here's me just hanging out subsea mid Atlantic giving Doireann a little clean from all the barnacles trying to hitch a ride across the pond.. not on my watch lads! Go over to @talisker now to see the latest promo from the @atlantic_campaigns #twac2016 #madebythesea #questadventure #attitudemagazine #attitudebachelors #rowgavrow
Baikal Dreaming… March 2016… going through some old #vlog I shot in Siberia, little did I know that bit of snow would turn into nearly 2 foot of snow, I'd nearly run out of food and would end up breaking trail through snow drifts dragging a 60kg sled behind me 🤣#scissormetimbers #snotsicles #lakebaikal #russia #siberia @peakdynamics