More than 150 runners from Kerry and Clare Crusaders joined forces for the Dublin Marathon in the name of founding member Howard Flannery. It was Howard's dream and passion to set up a charity running group to raise funds for a special needs therapist in Ennis.
In 2005, Clare Crusaders was set up, with Howard leading the way before he was tragically killed in a road accident in 2007, shortly before his 40th birthday.
"Our tradition is to meet on the steps of Buswell's Hotel to give the final pep talk, remind ourselves why we are here and, of course, to remember Howard," says his younger brother Gordon (39), who went on to set up Kerry Crusaders in 2009, in his home town of Listowel, which helps to support the Nano Nagle School.
"Our message is simple," he adds. If you are struggling at mile 16, 18 or 20, just remember the kids. Their stuggle is every day. Laugh, think, cry and get into the heart of it. Get emotional. Sure isn't that what life is all about?"
More than 40 first-timers took part this year and were especially honoured to have race director Jim Aughney pay them a visit in the weeks leading up to the race.
"It is a great opportunity for Dublin Marathon organisers to get out and meet the groups who do so much for their community," said Jim. "We never get to sit face-to-face with them and say thank you. If we could get one group in every community like Kerry Crusaders it would be fantastic," he added.
Finishing times for the group ranged from 2:40 to seven hours.
"We are lucky to carry on the legacy and fundraising that was created back in 2005, and every one of us here today is a champion," added Gordon, who continues to live out some of Howard's goals, such as taking part in back-to-back marathons in 2011 in Dublin and New York.