Historic run draws local and international heroes
A MERE 2,500 years after the event that gave its name to the marathon, the classic long-distance run was commemorated by almost 1,500 athletes in Galway yesterday.
The last Galway marathon was staged just over 25 years ago, but the renewal was timely as it coincided with the unique anniversary of the Battle of Marathon in 490BC.
The Radisson Blu Galway City Marathon (26.2 miles) was run in conjunction with the World 50km (31 miles) Trophy Final and a half marathon.
The races were organised by volunteers, headed up by Galway brothers Paul and Richard Donovan. Paul is a two-time Irish Olympian, while Richard recently broke the world record for running marathons on all seven continents.
Zimbabwean athlete Collen Makaza recorded a unique double by winning both the marathon and the World 50km crown, while UK runner Susan Harrison also doubled up successfully in the ladies category.
But the event was a triumph too for many ordinary runners who took part for their own reasons. Galway postman Noel Carroll was joined by up to 100 friends as he battled through the half marathon to raise funds for the Meningitis Trust.
He was also running in memory of his daughter, Aoibhe, who died at the age of four. Waiting for Noel at the finish line was wife Siobhan and her dad, Jimmy Holohan.