Westmeath man Martin Murphy was just 200 yards from the finish line of the Dublin Marathon when his body “locked up”. Luckily for Martin a stranger he describes as his “angel” reached out to help him over the line.
Yesterday's Westmeath Examiner carried a plea for information from the Castlepollard runner, who was completing his fourth marathon.
Martin was doing the Dublin Marathon last Monday week when he suffered what runners term ‘hitting the wall’ at mile 20. After gamely struggling on for a while Martin’s body finally gave out an agonising 200 yards from the finish line.
“Everything was going well. I was enjoying the race and the atmosphere on the day, but I was aiming for a time and I started off too fast,” Martin told the Westmeath Examiner’s Olga Aughey.
“I was struggling really badly. I had to walk from 20 miles because once you hit the wall you don’t come back from it. With 200 metres to go, everything locked up.”
Then to Martin’s relief someone offered a helping hand.
"I could see the finish line but my legs and arms wouldn’t move and next thing, out of nowhere someone came along, put out his arm and helped me across the finish line.
“It was absolutely amazing. He was like an angel on the day. Only for him, I was out of it,” added Martin.
All Martin could find out about the stranger that had come to his aid was his name - Padraic Lenehan.
Pictures of Lenehan helping Murphy over the line appeared all over national media and Martin got in touch with his local paper in order to find Padraic to offer him a simple “thank you”.
Through an appeal launched on the Westmeath Examiner’s Facebook page and a bit of good journalistic digging the paper managed to find Padraic – who by an amazing coincidence also hails from the Lake County.
Martin got his wish today as he got to thank Padraic over the telephone for his act of kindness.
The extremely modest Lenehan for his part believes he was only doing what anyone else in his position would have done.
“There are probably many other similar stories from that day, but I couldn’t have possibly run past him without stopping to help,” Padraic told the paper.
“Seeing Martin just stop so close to the finish would have been heartbreaking. I couldn’t let that happen. So I offered out my arm.”
Padraic was running his first marathon that day and he is surely will never forget it thanks to Martin.
“I didn’t know who Martin was either and I never realised he was a Westmeath man until I finally got to chat to him on the phone, which was great,” added Lenehan.
Well done Padraic and Martin. It is great to see sportsmanship is alive and well.
Hat tip: Westmeath Examiner