A jockey and a horse trainer went for a run of the two- legged variety yesterday — and it might just lead to Rio.
A record number of participants took part in the 36th Dublin City Marathon, with each and everyone of the 15,216 people who registered for the event bringing their own story with them.
One of the most eye-catching was that of Declan Ryan from Thurles in Co Tipperary, a visually impaired runner with 8% sight who set himself a target of breaking the three-hour mark.
Alongside Declan, a horse trainer, was his old friend and former jockey, Kevin Coleman, from Innishannon in Co Cork. Did they make their target? Of course they did.
“It was two hours, 58 minutes and 58 seconds,” said Declan, although his wristwatch actually recorded the time at 2.58.57. “Ah, I’m giving myself an extra second,” he quipped.
His hereditary visual impairment got worse in his teenage years but has not stopped him from competing on the streets and roads, as he admitted that he clocked 3.04 and some seconds in the Dublin City Marathon last year.
“I have been running for four or five years but I was in training for 18 weeks for this one,” Declan said. “And Kevin was training for two weeks.”
Kevin certainly looked well on it. “You should have seen me five minutes ago,” he said.
Kevin was expected to last 10 miles but got all the way around, while the pair, and another visually impaired runner, had been allowed to start five minutes ahead of the main field. Declan’s sub-three hour time may well qualify him for the Rio Paralympics next year, meaning the next few months could hold fresh promise.
Meanwhile 140 gardaí and PSNI officers wore black ribbons in memory of Garda Tony Golden as they took on the course.
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) October 26, 2015
Alemu Gemechu of Ethiopia won the men’s marathon in two hours and 14 minutes. Nataliya Lehonkova from Ukraine won the women’s race and Patrick Monahan from Naas, Co Kildare, won the wheelchair race.
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