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Extraordinary political feet as rivals become running mates

THANKFULLY they weren't running for their political lives.

But yesterday a group of 11 TDs and senators each put their best foot forward and managed to finish the marathon in a commendable time.

Fine Gael health spokesman Dr James Reilly insisted he didn't know how long it took him to complete the 26.2 miles, saying he was "just so happy to finish".

"I was terrified my calf was going to go," he said afterwards.

He did the run to raise funds for Haiti, Concern and Prosper Fingal -- and warned he would now be going around with a "begging bowl" to gather money.

In a rare victory for the Government, Children's Minister Barry Andrews set the best time for political runners at 3:43:11.

"The last four miles were really gruelling," he admitted.

Amidst a few taunts about budgets and banks along the route, he "just kept running".

His TD cousin Chris Andrews joked he was "very envious" of Barry's achievement, but his knees wouldn't be up to it.

Kerry North TD and former All-Ireland winning captain Jimmy Deenihan said he put in much more training this time after failing to do enough preparation for his first outing last year.

But he's not sure if he'll be allowed to do it again.

"My wife told me never again," he laughed.

"But because of all the preparation we did I felt so good out there, I never felt under pressure."

The seven TDs and four senators had their training and conditioning overseen by Frank Greally of 'Irish Runner' magazine.

Lucinda Creighton finished in 4:44:03 while Fidelma Healy Eames battled an injured knee to complete the course.

Irish Independent