14-year-old born without use of his lower limbs completes fifth Great Limerick Run

14-year-old born without use of his lower limbs completes fifth Great Limerick Run
Sean Byrnes

14-year-old Sean Byrnes, born without use of his lower limbs, was one of thousands who completed the Great Limerick Run, Sunday.

Heroic Sean, who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus, as well as a curved spine, used a specially adapted hand-peddle trike to complete the 10km event in 63 minutes flat.

“It felt great, and the weather was lovely, so it made it better. The support along the way was excellent,” said Sean, who knocked eight minutes off his 2018 finish time.

“This is my fifth 10km. I’ll do a sixth one and keep going,” he added.

Sean, from Caherconreafy, Co Limerick, is aiming to set up Limerick’s first ever hand-trike club for young people and adults with similar physical conditions.

Through the Mid West Spina Bifida Association, he has set up an online fundraising drive to raise an initial €10,000 to purchase five hand-trikes which cost between €1,500-€4,000 each.

“He’s a remarkable young man with loads of zest for life,” beamed Sean’s father, John Byrnes.

Sean with his mother Fiona and father John after the race.
Sean with his mother Fiona and father John after the race.

“We want to raise the funds so that others can get out and experience what Sean has experienced, and what it has done for him and his confidence,” Mr Byrnes added.

Sean and his family live by a simple motto they call “ATAP - All Things Are Possible”.

His bike is “excellent” and allows him “to be able to get out, and be with other people”.

Sean’s mother, Fiona, who ran alongside him in today’s race described her son’s bike as his “lifeline”.

“Every child wants to go on a bike, and if we didn’t get this bike five years ago we wouldn't be here today, we wouldn't have done this five years in a row. Sean has so much fun on the bike and he can also take it onto the beach. It brings oxygen to us as a family, we can breathe easier,” Mrs Byrnes said.

Around 13,000 men women and children took part in the the Great Limerick Run, marathon, half-marathon and 10km events.

Sean and his mother Fiona crossing the finishing line together
Sean and his mother Fiona crossing the finishing line together

Sr Alan Connors, Sr Peter Clarke, and Sr Nigel Waters, all form Limerick, all wore their habits for the race.

Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy, who watched on from the crowd, said he was inspired to possibly don his runners and take part in 2020: “I thought I might do it this year. I wouldn’t go for the big marathon, but maybe I’ll run the 10km. I turn 60 next year, so, next year I might do it.”

Tracy O’Donoghue, a tutor with the Institute of Massage and Sports Therapy led a team of 37 student masseuses “offering a post event treatment” for all those feeling the effects of their efforts.

“It’s a massive opportunity for our students to get a practical aspect of what they are learning in class,” she added.


More in this Section

Deal creating EU border in Irish Sea closerDeal creating EU border in Irish Sea closer

The key players in the UK’s hunt for a Brexit dealThe key players in the UK’s hunt for a Brexit deal

Talk of Northern Ireland-only backstop off the mark – Arlene FosterTalk of Northern Ireland-only backstop off the mark – Arlene Foster

Limerick IT and Athlone IT forming consortium to develop Technological UniversityLimerick IT and Athlone IT forming consortium to develop Technological University


Lifestyle

I am dating a lovely guy. However, he seems really awkward about being naked in front of me.Sex File: Boyfriend keeps his T-shirt on during sex

To instantly power up your look, veer towards the hard shoulder.Bold shoulder: How to instantly power up your look

Plums are a wonderful autumn fruit, useful for all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. In Ireland we are blessed with wonderfully sweet plums.Currabinny Cooks: Juicy plums work for both sweet and savoury dishes

The rise of home skincare devices doesn't mean that salons and clinics no longer serve a purpose.The Skin Nerd: Don’t try this at home — new treatments in the salon

More From The Irish Examiner