Inspirational Gary crosses finish line four stone lighter than last year
GARY Kirwan (right) came back for more punishment as he completed his second Dublin marathon in style -- even though he officially came last for the second year in a row.
When the Limerick man took part in his first marathon last year, weighing in at 29 stone, he arrived at the finish line at 8pm and the spectators were long gone. This time around -- four stone lighter -- he arrived across the finishing line amongst the main field and got to enjoyed the cheers of the appreciative crowds.
"It was brilliant, very different from last year. There was an amazing energy and feeling of goodwill. I didn't get to enjoy the crowds last year," he said last night.
For the 2011 marathon, he set off with the thousands of other runners only to soon be left behind. This time he hit the road at 6am and finished in the midst of the other runners.
"Last year was awful, it was a lot tougher and it was 8 o'clock and dark when I finished. I just found doing the event this year that I was mentally a lot better. I'm much happier and more confident."
He was officially the last person to finish in terms of the amount of time he took, clocking 8:49:06 from the start to the finish. Gary weighed 30 stone when he was made redundant and told he and his wife, Shelly, would be unable to have children. Downcast, he turned to food and his weight ballooned to 41 stone.
Since then there has been a dramatic turnaround in his life -- he has shed over 15 stone and his wife is now five months' pregnant.