Marathon Man: 29-stone Gary a champ when he pants over the line after 11-hour ordeal
AT 10 hours and 46 minutes this was no ordinary marathon time. But at 29 stone this was no ordinary marathon.
The final barriers and bunting were being packed on to trucks around Dublin's Merrion Square last night when 31-year-old Gary Kirwan finally panted over the line at 8.45pm.
As the exhausted Limerick man arrived in the pitch dark to a small crowd of supporters, he came 26.2 miles closer to achieving his real target -- reducing his weight from 41 stone to 18.
"It was the best and sorest 11 hours of my life," said the visibly emotional and exhausted man.
"It was unbelievably tough but the people in Dublin were unbelievable.
"I was sore the whole way through but I never thought I wouldn't make it."
That's the attitude of a champion and his achievement was made palpable by the emotional support he received from his jubilant wife Michelle and red-eyed radio host Ray D'Arcy.
"I'm in tears; he is just amazing; that is the power of the human spirit," said the DJ who weighed the business studies student last January on his radio show.
"He was never going to give up; it's truly inspirational what he has done."
Ray ran the marathon, too, finishing in a time of just over four hours, so he understands exactly what Gary Kirwan had put his body through, no matter how long it took him to do it.
The radio host returned to finish the final couple of kilometres with Gary and his personal trainer Chris Delooze, and not even the offer of a lift from St John's Ambulance could tempt Gary off his path.
Gary and Michelle have been planning to have a family and so last Christmas, at 41 stone, he decided it was time to get into shape.