Sports

Running miracle Pat completes 36th Dublin marathon

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Running miracle Pat completes 36th Dublin marathon thumbnailRachel McMenamin, Jenny McMenamin, Pat O'Loughlin and Ciaran O'Loughlin, who ran in the Dublin City Marathon. It was Pat's 36th time completing the race

LONG time Castlederg runner and MS champion fundraiser Pat O'Loughlin Pat O'Loughlin, completed his 36th Dublin City marathon in total in the Irish capital on Sunday.

Pat, who turns 80 in December, got across the line yesterday with a time of six hours and 47 minutes, along with his son, Ciaran, his friend Jenny McMenamin, and Jenny's daughter, Rachel. Pat's haul of 36 Dublin marathons is a record in terms of runners from Northern Ireland.

The only Dublin marathon Castlederg man Pat has missed since its inception in 1980 was in 2014 when he was confined to a hospital bed in Altnagelvin. he came back in 2015 against the odds to complete the race yet again.

This year, he has raised 4,000 for MS, with donations coming from all around the world, bringing his total to over 70,00 since he began fund-raising for the charity in 2000.

Pat completed the race 11 minutes slower than last year, but he puts that down to stopping several times to chat with his son Patrick and his newly baby grandson, born just 11 weeks ago.

"We stopped for a chat and to see the wee lad at his first Dublin marathon, that slowed us down," Pat joked. "But we weren't too worried about time. Ciaran, Jenny and Rachel did great, whereas I suppose I was slowing everyone down!

"My daughter Frances had a baby in Australia just a week ago, and they were sending us photos of the wee baby with running gear on, and a top saying 'Keep going Granda'."

Pat paid tribute to all the people, far and wide, who had donated money, wished him well and said prayers for him as he prepared for his remarkable marathon feat, touching on the phenomenal charitable spirit in the Castlederg area.

"The local people around area are brilliant fundraisers. They are great sponsors to all the causes. Liam McHugh is a great fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis, and Ciaran McHale has a run in Aghyaran in honour of his daughter Gemma. The support for little Billy Caldwell in America is another one. The local people are great supporters of all these charities, including our own.

"I have to give a special mention to my physio man, Brian McHugh, who has helped me for three years. He would give me different treatments and make sure I'm ready for training and running. Also my wife, Philomena, who makes sure I'm well fed and watered and rested up all through training."

Pat arrived down to Dublin on Saturday, where he rested overnight at his sister's house, before stepping into his trainers to run the famous race for another year on the Sunday.

"We had brilliant weather, there was hardly a breeze. A lovely sunny day, just perfect. There was a record number of runners, around 19,500 entries. We met a lot of people that know us down through the years.

"We got on well for 15 miles, but at my age naturally the joints and muscles get sore, so I decided to walk from there on. They stayed with me, and we had a bit of craic along the way. People were cheering as we came by and encouraged us.

"I managed to get up a bit of a jog coming over the line, and it was a great relief to finish."

As Pat finished, his run was being carefully tracked by for his long-time friend and fundraising partner John Doherty. John's son Ian was born with MS, and he was the inspiration for Pat to begin running the marathons all those years ago in 1980.

Ian, who works in Liverpool in the transport sector, was keeping up-to-date with the race as his employer had pledged 10 for every mile of Pat's run to MS.

"We got 260 there, which was a great lift to our account, so I was glad to get to the finish on that account.

"The local MS branch in Castlederg, at Derg Valley Cancer Care, are a great help to any local people, and I'd encourage people to support their cause.

"That was my 36th race. It depends on the joints. I'm very lucky that I have no rheumatism or other problems.

"The joints get slow and stiff as the miles go on. I hurt my knee playing football 60 years ago, and it still hurts, but I'm lucky it holds up to get the 26 miles done!

You can donate to Pat's cause on the MS Just-Giving page online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PatOLoughlin

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