Kieran (8) takes part in marathon in memory of dad
JUST one month ago, Leon Thomas was training for a marathon in memory of a relative who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).
But in a cruel twist of fate, the 30-year-old died just four weeks ago from suspected SADS.
Yesterday, his brave eight-year-old son Kieran ran a section of the Cork City Marathon in memory of his father and crossed the finishing line to cheers from thousands of people who lined the route.
His mum Sara watched her son run across the finishing line in the company of the relay team his father planned to run with. Kieran joined the 8,000 competitors at the last relay station. "I wanted to run for my dad – there were lots of people cheering – it was brilliant," he said.
Sara wiped tears from her eyes as she spotted Kieran, wearing his dad's race number 6562 running at full speed up the finishing straight.
Spectators lined the finish line on Patrick Street to welcome the young runner home.
Kieran crossed the line, his arms raised and ran straight into the waiting arms of his mum. "I am so proud of him – it is just a month ago that Leon died while training," she said. "It is very sad for us, Leon was out running in the Lough and he just died. We don't know how it happened but we think it was SADS.
"Kieran has made us all so proud today – we'll take him for a treat now."
The tragedy of the death of the 30-year-old was made all the worse as he was running in memory of his relative Thomas Morrissey (25) from Mahon, Cork, who also died from SADS. Mr Morrissey died as he was training for the Cork City Marathon in 2012.
Also running in yesterday's race was Australian native Trent Morrow who is attempting to break the world record for running the most marathons in a year.
Trent is now up to race No 57 but is hoping to target 160 races over the year. "My mum died of cancer more than 20 years ago, my stepmum was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, so I decided to do something significant on a global scale.
"That is why I am running these marathons," said Trent who now departs for the US to compete in 11 more races this month.
The marathon was won by Polish runner Bartosz Mazerski (36), in 2.28:29. Pauline Curley was the first woman home in 2.47:47.