Each week we profile one of the runners taking part in the ‘Irish Examiner’ Cork City Marathon this June. This week Denise O’Donoghue speaks to Gavin O’Connell
Corkman Gavin O’Connell, 43, will take part in the Cork City Marathon having been told after an accident 26 years ago that he would never take part in part in physical sports again.“I ran my first marathon last October in Dublin. I kept it quiet at the time but I trained hard for it and I was delighted to finish it. I’ll be running the Cork City Marathon for charity.”
Gavin is running for the Cork Sick Poor Society, a charity his father always supported. The other charity is close to his own heart, as the National Rehabilitation Centre is the reason he can walk today.
“I was in a car crash when I was younger and fractured my pelvis,” he said. “I spent 42 days lying on my back in the CUH. I was only 18 and I was told I’d never be able to play sports, and at that stage a marathon was definitely out of the question.
“I am grateful I can stand on my own two feet every morning and I am hugely grateful to the National Rehabilitation Centre for that.”
Gavin’s family have been active sportspeople for as long as he can remember.
“My dad ran Adidas in Ireland for 26 years so sport was a constant feature in my family. My older brothers used to run competitively.”
Gavin’s father, Michael, was the original sponsor of the Cork City Marathon in the 1980s, and he also took part in the marathon alongside Gavin’s brothers.
“My older brother took part one year and he was meant to do 10 miles. He kept going and finished the marathon in 3:43. He was only 11.”
He credits a bootcamp he attended, organised by Kathryn Thomas, as the reason he can pursue his marathon dream today. “That was the kickstart I needed,” he said.
“One of the trainers developed a training plan for me that included circuit training and pilates classes. I followed the plan and managed to stay injury-free.”
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