Pensioner adds to medal haul after running 10k Great Limerick Run on breakfast of boiled egg and bread

Eighty-six-year old Phonsie Clifford crossed the finish line of the 2017 Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run, and vowed to take part in this year's Dublin Marathon.

Pensioner adds to medal haul after running 10k Great Limerick Run on breakfast of boiled egg and bread

By David Raleigh

Eighty-six-year old Phonsie Clifford crossed the finish line of the 2017 Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run, and vowed to take part in this year's Dublin Marathon.

In all, around 12,000 competitors from all over the country took part in the marathon, half marathon, relay team marathon, and 10k events.

In its eighth year, it has become the biggest race event in the Irish calendar outside the Dublin Marathon.

Phonsie, who has won the 80s and over 80s categories of the Dublin race five times in total, prepared for this morning's 10k in Limerick on a breakfast of "a boiled egg and a slice of bread".

Phonsie, from Garryowen, said: "I'm feeling good."

"I'm going home now to have my dinner; a bit of chicken and mash potato."

Before striding off for replenishment, he announced he would be running the Dublin Marathon again this year.

"I've won 43 marathons altogether. The first one was a Limerick fun race, 40-odd years ago," said Phonsie, who turns 87 on October 1.

"I'm doing the Dublin marathon this year. I've won it five times in over the 80s and 85s categories; I won it in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016."

He added: "I went over to England last September for the Great North Run. The was 70,000 people running the race, with over 400 over eighties. I won the 85s, the only Irish person to do so."

His advice for all ages thinking of slipping on their trainers, he said:"Everyone should do this. If I wasn't running I wouldn't be able to walk."

"I have friends who are just stiff, and they just go to the pub and sit down, instead of getting out in the fresh air."

Phonsie ran this year's 10k in 1hr 35sec, 15 seconds slower than last year's time.

Unperturbed, he proudly hung his medal around his neck, lifted his hands and punched the air.

"Sure, I've drawers full of medals at home. How many races have I won....uncountable," he said.

Phonsie Clifford (86) after crossing the finish line of the 10k event in the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run in Limerick today. Pic: David Raleigh

Phonsie Clifford (86) after crossing the finish line of the 10k event in the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run in Limerick today. Pic: David Raleigh

Kenyan athlete Freddy Keron won the men's marathon, while former Irish Olympian Pauline Curley won the women’s event.

Organiser, John Cleary, of Focus events management company, said: "They're international class athletes, phenomenal. We're delighted to have them.

"It's the biggest race event outside of Dublin...we're going from strength to strength.

"From a volunteering and policing and operations view, there's over 11 hundred people involved, all pulling in the same direction."

Thousands of spectators lined the streets and shouted on the competitors, as bright sunshine broke through storm clouds to keep spirits high in the Treaty City.

"It really has a family feel to it and a positive feel to it. When the sun comes out it shows the best of what it is, and we got that," Mr Cleary said.

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