For the majority of people, running a marathon is a daunting prospect, but for Cork resident Michael Haydon, aged 62, one marathon just isn’t enough.
He plans to finish his 250th marathon this bank holiday weekend — that’s more than 10,500km.
“I hope to be coming over Patrick’s Bridge and into Patrick St to the sound of the cheering crowds,” he said.
“When I ran my first marathon in Dublin in 1999 I never dared to dream that I would make it this far. It has been a wonderful journey and a monumental struggle.”
Back in 1999, when Michael, who lives in Ballygarvan, first started running competitively, there were very few marathon events being held in Ireland. To continue his passion for running long distances Michael was forced to travel outside of the country, mainly to the UK.
“But as the decade went on other marathon events began to spring up around the country, including some that were revived after years of inactivity. These included Cork, which came back onto the running calendar in 2007 and has proved to be a great success,” said Michael.
“The run-in to the finish in Cork is particularly special — coming over Patrick’s Bridge and into Patrick St with the crowds cheering is a fantastic atmosphere and has really helped me to pull myself together and make the final effort as I go towards the line.”
Michael, who works with the School of Applied Social Studies in University College Cork, is a member of the UCC Staff Athletic Club, Cork Business Houses Athletics Association, and Marathon Club Ireland.
“These clubs have been really important to me in the course of my running career and the support and friendship that I have experienced have been major factors in helping me to achieve this goal,” he said. “I have got to know so many other great people through Marathon Club Ireland and it is wonderful to see how the club has developed and how it is changing the marathon running scene in Ireland.”
Michael, who spent 25 years as a community Garda in Bishopstown, is running the Cork City Marathon on behalf of the Bishopstown Senior Social Centre and the Bishopstown Dementia Friendly Community Project.
“My involvement with the senior social centre goes back to my time in community policing in the area and I was one of the founder members of the organisation back in 1999. I am also one of the founder members of the Dementia Friendly Community Initiative which was set up in 2013,” he said.
“Both organisations are involved in working with older people in the community and provide vitally important opportunities for those people. Money is always tight and we are currently fundraising with the intention of buying a bus.”
To donate, go to http://www.idonate.ie/micheal250cork.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved