Half-marathon runner 'who ran into the arms of God' is laid to rest
Published 24/09/2015 | 08:52
A YOUNG runner who died while taking part in a half-marathon last Saturday has been remembered as a "man who ran into the arms of God" having run and won the great race of life, living it to the full.
John McHugh, from Castleknock in Dublin, was due to celebrate his 24th birthday on Sunday, the day after his death.
He suffered a cardiac event and collapsed near the finishing line during the SSE Airtricity run in the Phoenix Park.
John's girlfriend, Elaine, spoke of him with pride and love at his funeral yesterday in the packed Our Lady Mother of the Church, Castleknock.
She shared with mourners entries from John's journal, which gave an insight into a deep thinker, a man who wanted to be involved in life, and a man who got his priorities right.
She cited the to-do list they found in the journal with everything ticked-off except for paying a large credit card bill.
But it was his last entry, written in recent days, that was most poignant. It was a quote from Apple founder Steve Jobs who died from cancer in 2011.
"I have looked in the mirror and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today. And whenever the answer has been 'no' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something," it read.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I have encountered to help me make important choices in life," it added.
It was followed by a quote from John himself: "What is your why? Why do you do what you do, the way that you do it?"
His brother Conor also spoke emotionally of him.
"Our musician, creative thinker, leader, philanthropist, ideator, pun wizard, our artist, worker, explorer, our supporter, believer, inspirer.
"Our little buddy John Oliver McHugh. If not now - when, if not me - who?" he said.
John is also survived by his parents, Noel and Paula, his sister Elizabeth, and his grandfather and best pal Ollie.
He went to Belvedere College and later to Maynooth University, graduating with a first-class honours in Industrial and Product Design.
John's remains were carried from the church to a rendition of Bob Dylan's Forever Young, before being brought to Mount Venus Cemetery.