Pilot pays tribute to memory of colleagues with record run
FOR most people taking part in a marathon, hauling their own body weight across the finish line is achievement enough.
But for Lieutenant Gearoid O Briain, one of the thousands of participants in yesterday's Great Limerick Run, crossing the finish line with a 20-pound backpack, was a particularly poignant moment.
The 25-year-old Air Corps pilot ran the 26.2 miles in memory of two of his colleagues who were killed in an air crash during a training exercise almost four years ago.
Captain Derek Furniss, (32), who was his chief flying instructor, and his 22-year-old classmate Cadet David Jevens, died tragically when their two-seater light aircraft went down in Connemara in October 2009.
"The idea today was to represent them and to dedicate it to them so thankfully I've done that and smashed the world record," said Lieut. O Briain, who finished the race in three hours and 16 minutes.
The previous world record for the fastest time in a marathon while carrying a 20-pound weight was three hours and 25 minutes.
"I've done a couple of marathons but never with a pack. It's tough on the hips but I've been training for the past six months with the pack," he added.
Gary O'Hanlon (39) from Dundalk won yesterday's marathon in a time of two hours, 29 minutes and 46 seconds.
The women's race was won for the second time in a row by Angela McCann. The 42-year-old from Clonmel crossed the line in a time of two hours, 57 minutes and 14 seconds.
More than 11,000 people took part in the event which included a relay marathon, a half marathon and a six- mile race through Limerick.