Special award for 83 year-old Limerick marathon runner

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Well done, that man! Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, with heroic Limerick marathon runner John Collins. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
A DAUGHTER has successfully nominated her father to receive a special medal from the Mayor of Dublin ahead of his 30th consecutive marathon in the capital.

A DAUGHTER has successfully nominated her father to receive a special medal from the Mayor of Dublin ahead of his 30th consecutive marathon in the capital.

Hailed as a ‘legend’ by the local running community, 83-year-old John Collins successfully ran his 42nd marathon - and 30th consecutive Dublin marathon - this Monday. After the 26.2 miles, John’s celebration post race was a well deserved cup of tea and a few biscuits.

He came first in the 80-84 age group with a time of 6:55:52 and said he enjoyed the new route the marathon had taken.

“The change of scenery was nice. I felt tired after the first 14 miles but I shook it off and kept going all the way to the end,” he said. “You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

Before the race, the sprightly octogenarian was presented with the Lord Mayor’s Medal by Lord Mayor Christy Burke, which he described as “very special” and “awesome”.

He was nominated for this year’s medal by his daughter Fiona, who has been inspired by her father to keep running and hopes that someday she will be able to match, if not beat her father’s record.

She said with a smile that having completed five marathons so far, she has a long race ahead of her to compete with her father.

The runner from Church Street, King’s Island, was also joined on the route by his grandson, Alan Owens.

However, next year he is looking forward to a much needed rest and will be putting his feet up to race the race - instead of running it.

“I guess you have to call it a day sometimes, and finish in one piece.

“My hips are still okay, so are my ankles and my knees. I’ve been very lucky with injuries – I’ve had none at all!”

John, who is a member of the County Athletics Club in Limerick, ran his first Dublin Marathon in 1984 at the age of 53. Since then he has run marathons in New York and Boston.

The widower, father of five and grandfather of 10 trains, who three times a week, said that several pints of Guinness a week is among the secrets to his longevity.

Kenya’s Eliud Too won the men’s category in this year’s Dublin marathon in a time of 2:14:48. Esther Macheria, also from Kenya, edged out last year’s winner Maria McCambridge to claim first place in the women’s category with a time of 2:34:15. A

bout 4,000 runners from 47 countries joined over 10,000 Irish entrants in the race.