Sunday 8 December 2019

Collette runs up 700 marathons

Collette O’Hagan after completing her 700th marathon in Antrim
Collette O’Hagan after completing her 700th marathon in Antrim

Margaret Roddy

Dundalk grandmother Collette O'Hagan completed an amazing 700 marathons when she finished the 'East Antrim' race last Thursday (21st).

The seventy year old, who has no plans to stop running marathons, says she was 'overwhelmed; by all 'the best wishes, lovely comments and kindness of my family, fellow runners and wide circle of friends both at home and world wide.'

'It's been an amazing journey so far and I get so much from my running which benefits me in my every day life and gives me a focus,' explained Collette, who only did her first marathon in 1990 when she was 41.

Having done some fun running locally, she entered the Dublin City Marathon after someone suggested she should try it, and never looked back.

Since then she has competed in major marathons around the world, including the Big Six of London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, and Tokyo, as well as gruelling back to back and 24 hour marathon events.

'Some people may not understand why I do all these marathons, what keeps me going and do I not get tired of all the mileage ,' she said. 'I am just doing something I enjoy and while to some it may seem extreme but it's part of me and who I am. I guess it's in my DNA . I love challenges and while some may push my limitations, it's ok to occasionally go beyond those limitations and step outside our comfort zone as we only learn our strength from taking the first step

'To do this you need a few ingredients like , motivation, determination, focus , tenacity and both mental and physical fitness. Mix all these together and you have the basis for life's challenges and long distance running.'

'However none of this would be possible or mean anything without the all important support and encouragement of family and friends both running or non running,' she continued.

She has found that marathon running has helped her meet challenges in life when her husband Larry and grandson Charlie were diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully both have recovered and Collette has used her marathon-running to raise funds for cancer charities including the North Louth Hospice.

'If I leave my footprints on this earth I want them to be not just carbon but embedded in a trail of total respect and affinity towards my fellow human beings, regardless of their colour, race or creed,' she said, confirming that she already has her eyes set on clocking up 800 marathons!

The Argus