Fintan Godkin, along with Carwyn is the founder member of Man-Up UK. He moved to St Davids from Ireland at the age of 7 and considers himself Irish but from St Davids and ever since his first run on the coast path as a 15 year old he has been hooked on the beauty, challenge and escape that the path has to offer.
In his early days sport dominated his time, anything from football, surf-lifesaving, running, tennis, kayaking and most of all Rugby.
As a teenager and young man he left the North Pembrokeshire peninsular a number of times to explore, travel and work but always had the draw to return. Over this period the time spent in St Davids saw him work as a Beach Lifeguard at Whitesands Bay and for TYF Outward bound Adventure. His travels have taken him to Coleg Sir Gar, Llanelli to study Sports Science, where he first meet and was taught by Sean Holley. He then went on to work in the hotel trade in Jersey, before heading to University in Southampton to continue with the sports studies and from there to work as an outward bound instructor in Devon and Shropshire. Fintan then headed off to Australia to play a Rugby season for Northern Suburbs in Sydney followed by a period of travelling around Australia and New Zealand where the adrenaline seeking lifestyle of diving with sharks, wild camping, sky diving at 10,000ft and taking on NZ’s highest 3 bungee jumps became the norm.
On returning to the UK he spent two years working in Pembrokeshire and Gloucestershire as a residential social worker and activity provider for children in care. Fintan found this both demanding and rewarding, a great experience and a real eye opener. He left this trade to join Surrey Police and spent the next 17 years in the service working in Bristol and then back home in Pembrokeshire. The Police service gave him a vast range of great experience, extra skills and demanding tasks such as a Hostage and Crises Negotiating, working at the NATO summit, and as the Disaster victim identification team leader performing on-call duties for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as assisting in planning and organising regional training exercises and major policing operations.
Since the first Whitesands Challenge in 2010 Man-Up UK has grown and grown. For the first 6 years it had just been run by Fintan and Carwyn on a part time basis. With more and more time required to run the events and demand increasing, Fintan took on the business on a full time basis.
Fintan is a great believer that you should never accept defeat. At the age of 30 he was advised by an orthopaedic consultant that his knee was riddled with arthritis and he was to give up contact sport, running, cycling and swimming and that he would need a knee replacement. After 3 months of heeding this advice he started to question it and went to see a specialist, Mr Jonathan Webb (ex England Fullback) who advised him that he had a condition that could be operated on and that he could return to full fitness. Fintan bit the bullet, paid for this operation and from this point on has had a further 10 years of playing rugby. He has also completed a number of races including Ironman France, many other triathlons, several adventure races (including the special forces Fan Dance in the Brecon Beacons) and 8 marathons including an Ultra marathon. He is proof that you should never settle for defeat and that even an average sportsman can train his body and mind to do anything!
2017 saw Fintan take on his biggest challenge to date – Marathon des Cote – An event designed by himself to complete the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path – all 186 miles of it – in just 3 days. A time that had never been achieved. This proved to be an awesome quest that although was not completed in the 3 days was conquered in 5 1/2, under extreme heat conditions. An experience never to be forgotten. The Marathon des Cote was open to the Public in 2018 and only one person managed to finish it in the given time frame. Former Soldier Richard Simpson
As well as playing Fintan has a coaching background in rugby, football, surf lifesaving, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and outdoor pursuits, with over 20 years of coaching experience and working with the public behind him. Fintan feels at home out in the elements, showing people nature at it’s best and in particular the Pembrokeshire landscape and coastline. When asked of his favourite part of working for Man-Up UK, he simply says “some days work is as simple as going for a run with your teenage sons to find new routes – perfect!”