Frostbite and fun on long road to success

FOR some it was deadly serious, for others a bit of a laugh.

Yesterday’s Champion Sports Cork City Marathon featured determined athletes and rank amateurs.

One man was competing his third marathon in less than a week, and ran with frostbitten feet. Another ran the 26.2 miles dressed as Elvis.

It didn’t matter what time you clocked up, just as long as you finished.

However, nearly all the 8,000 entrants had one thing in common: they used the opportunity to raise money for various charities, including the Irish Cancer Society, Marymount Hospice and the Crumlin children’s hospital.

The legendary Sonia O’Sullivan ran the anchor leg with a relay team representing Ryan’s SuperValu, Glanmire, Co Cork.

They were running in aid of cystic fibrosis sufferers, and Sonia crossed the line in a time of 3hrs 29 mins, just a few minutes behind the duo of Colin Carroll and John Meade who broke the three-legged marathon world record.

“They will be on a total high after that, it’s just great for them. I’m amazed at how many people got involved in this event,” Sonia said.

Peter Ferris, a 52-year-old from Coleraine, was taking part in his third marathon in less than a week. Incredibly, a number of his toes were still blackened from the frostbite he received running the gruelling Arctic Marathon on April 1 last.

He proudly showed off the toes after crossing the finishing line in 3hrs 41mins. “I feel fine, I could actually do another marathon right now,” he added.

Peter has competed 311 marathons and plans, along with 700 friends, to raise €1 million for charity by running 26 consecutive marathons in the 26 counties over 26 days next May.

Phillip Howells, crossed the line a few minutes after Peter. It was his 67th marathon, but the man who lives in Herefordshire, England said it was his first run dressed as Elvis.

“It was great fun. I’m aiming to make the magical 100-mark,” Phillip added.

He’s only jogging along compared to Carlow man John McDonald, who at 63 has notched up an incredible 200 marathons.

One of the oldest competitors taking part was 72-year-old Catherine O’Regan from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford who was competing in her 86th marathon.

The winner, Roy Fahy, came third last year.

“I just relaxed and tried to get into a rhythm and not worry who was around me. I had a friend on a bike giving me drinks along the way,” he said.

Lucy Brennan of Sligo AC won the women’s race in a time of 2hrs 54mins.

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