Teacher dies from heart attack during marathon
Family travelled to see him run in Barcelona
A YOUNG Irish sports star died yesterday as his family and friends watched him raise funds for charity by running in the Barcelona Marathon.
Primary school teacher Colin Dunne, from Rahan, near Tullamore, Co Offaly, is believed to have suffered a heart attack just five miles from the finishing line of the 26-mile race.
The 27-year-old, who was captain of the Shamrocks senior hurling and football sides, had travelled out to the Spanish city with four members from the Rahan-based club to raise money for the Offaly Hospice.
The teacher at Killeigh National School had gotten engaged at Christmas to Yvonne Kearney, from Tullamore, who was in Barcelona.
It is understood that both his mother Bernie and sister Ciara travelled out to watch the race on a surprise visit.
It is believed Mr Dunne suffered suspected cardio-vascular problems after completing about 21 miles of the race.
Paramedics spent 55 minutes trying to revive him but he was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
The organisers of the race said in a statement: "The young Irish runner aged 27 died from a cardiac problem at the 21.5-mile mark of the race.
"Medics from the Red Cross were on the scene and attempted to revive him but their efforts were in vain. Medics confirmed that his death was instantaneous. Our hearts go out to his family. We will help them in any way we can."
Mr Dunne was taken by ambulance to the Spanish city's Hospital Clinica.
Dr Guerson Benarroch said: "He arrived at the hospital at around noon. The paramedics spent 55 minutes attempting to revive him at the scene and in the ambulance but he was already dead when he arrived here. It is a tragedy. There were family members with him when he arrived."
A post mortem will be carried out to determine the cause of death.
The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was providing assistance to the family.
Mr Dunne won a Leinster medal with the Offaly minor hurling team and also played for the U-21 side.
"He was an absolute brilliant sportsman," said Ollie Bryant, vice-chairman of the Shamrocks. "You couldn't meet a nicer chap. He was a club man through and through, he got involved in everything."
Mr Dunne, who was PRO of the Shamrocks, was understood to have been teaching at Killeigh National School for about three years, where he also coached the young school sides.
"He was a model club man, everyone looked up to him," Mr Bryant said.
The young hurler had travelled out to raise funds along with a number of friends from the club, one of whom was his cousin. "We are all in a state of shock," Mr Bryant added.
The Athletics Association of Ireland last night also extended its sympathies to his family.
More than 9,700 runners took part in the race, which was won by Kenyan athlete Johnstone Chebii.