Dozens of Limerick runners pound the streets of the capital

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

THE RACE is over, but tales of woe, hitting ‘the wall’ and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment will be told for some time to come.

THE RACE is over, but tales of woe, hitting ‘the wall’ and the wonderful feeling of accomplishment will be told for some time to come.

Dozens of Limerick people, attached to running and athletic clubs all over the county, took to the streets of the capital on Monday for the Dublin Marathon amongst some 14,300 competitors.

They didn’t do as well as the Kenyans in terms of speed, but Limerickmen certainly showed their longevity in the field.

John Collins, 81, from the Ennis Road, finished third in his age category in a time of 6:52:43.

John, who only took up running at the age of 53, was among the oldest competitors on the day.

Phonsie Clifford, 82, from Garryowen, finished in the same age category in a time of 7:07:09.

The father of well-known local athlete Richie, who has competed internationally, this was Phonsie’s 17th Dublin marathon. He advised that his stride can be attributed to drinking two cans of Guinness every night, eating plenty of carrots and a hard boiled egg every day.

Seamus Cawley, from Rathkeale, completed his 33rd Dublin Marathon on Monday, competing in every such race that has been held since 1980.

Seamus, who works in Golden Vale in Charleville, said he hit the wall with just a few miles to go, but was delighted to finish in a time of 3:28.

“You’re always delighted to finish,” he said. “Although my legs are a bit stiff today.”

His first marathon was in Rathkeale in the late 1970s, and he went on to achieve a personal best of 2:35 after limbering up with a few more marathons under his belt.

“I used to run two marathons a year, but I’m down to one now. It keeps me sane,” he said.

Fiona Madigan, from Kilmeedy, walked it to raise funds for cystic fibrosis, and in honour of her friend’s 40th birthday.

“Towards the end it was torture because you were so near, but your whole body was tired. We were delighted we did it, and I would do it again. I actually thought it was going to be worse,” she said. The friends paced themselves at 4miles/hr, and finished in six and a half hours.

It was also a momentous moment for Limerickman Gary Kirwan, who finished the race in a time of 8:49:06. He may have finished last again this year, but he beat his time in last year’s race by nearly two hours and has lost four stone in the past year. Overall, he has lost 16 stone in two years. He is aiming to do the marathon de sables in Morocco in 2014.