RATHKEALE’S Seamus Cawley is the real deal. He is Limerick’s premier Marathon Man. And that’s official.
Last Monday, Seamus became the first Limerick runner to clock up the astonishing record of 34 consecutive Dublin Marathons. He has been there every year since the event began in 1980.
“Come hell or high water, I wasn’t going to miss Monday,” Seamus told the Limerick Leader.
And to keep his record intact, he had to run the race with his knee strapped.
Seamus revealed he was injured earlier in the year and was unable to do any serious training for Dublin. But he was determined to do it - and, if possible, to finish it.
“I must have hit the wall several times,” he admitted. ”It was never-ending.”
And at 16 miles, he was forced back to a walk and run, walk and run routine. “I told myself I will run as far as I can and if I have to walk I will, and keep going forward.”
“If it was anywhere else, I wouldn’t have run,” he added. But he simply couldn’t break the huge tradition he had built up.
“It’s like a pilgrimage every year,” he laughed when asked why he continues to return.
He does not know how close any other Limerick runner is to his record. Nor does he know how many others in Ireland have 34 marathons to their name.
But he recalled when he had 30 marathons completed, he and 27 others from around the country and abroad were presented with a T-shirt proclaiming their achievement.
Seamus ran his first marathon in Rathkeale in the late 1970s and reckons he has over 50 clocked up by now.
He is a member of the West Limerick Athletics Club and 15 other members finished Monday’s Dublin marathon, many of them, Seamus admits, in much better time than he did. Caitriona Hayes from Newcastle West was the first of their women members across the line in 3 hours and two minutes.
The club, Seamus noted, has seen a huge increase in its membership. Over the past three or four years, numbers have shot up from 30 to 120 members and there is now a juvenile section as well with 30 members.It reflects the phenomenon that athletics always gets a boost during recessions, according to Seamus, who is the club chairman.
Meanwhile, Rathkeale’s very own Marathon Man was heading to see his doctor this week. The next Dublin Marathon is just a little over 360 days away!
Running keeps him sane, he says simply.
And he is hopeful he can make it Dublin in 2014.