MESSAGES of encouragement from the other side of the world inspired Castlederg’s finest Pat O’Loughlin, who turns 80 next month, to complete the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday.
In completing the 26 miles along with son Ciaran, Jenny McMenamin and her daughter Rachel, Pat became the only runner from the North to complete the marathon for the 36th time.
In fact, the former Belleek man has only missed one Dublin Marathon since the first in 1980 and that was due to ill health.
In completing Sunday’s run in six hours and 47 minutes, Pat was cheered on by friends and family all the way around as well as receiving messages from his daughter Francis, who had given birth to a baby daughter in Australia a few days earlier.
To help Pat on his way they vowed to the name the most recent addition to the O’Loughlin clan when the affable 79-year-old fundraiser crossed the finish line.
“They called her Evie,” confirmed Pat.
“We were receiving messages from the new baby saying, ‘keep going granddad, well done grandad’.
“Philomena (Pat’s wife), my son Patrick, his wife and their new baby were also there to cheer us on.
“The support from everybody was tremendous.
“It was a perfect day, the sun was shining, you couldn’t have asked for better.
“I took it fairly gently. I jogged bits and ran bits and, naturally enough at my age, the muscles and joints got a bit sore around the 15-mile mark. From that point on I walked most of it.
“John McMenamin, Jenny’s husband, he was a great support. He met us on the bike and kept us fed and watered, with Jelly Babies and Lucozade and what have you. That meant we didn’thave to carry anything with us.
“To be honest the support from everyone has been fantastic.” Over the years the Derg jeweller has raised thousands for MS and is pleased to report that he has again exceeded his fundraising target of £4, 000.
He has also thanked everyone for their support including physio Brian McHugh, Gerald McGlynn for providing refreshment along his training route and his publicity manager, John Doherty, whose son suffers from MS.
“Our target was around the £4, 000 and we have reached that,” confirmed Pat.
“My son Ciaran set up a JustGiving page and he has raised another £400-500. So it could be nearer £5, 000 when we are finished.
“I continue to be amazed by the generosity of people.”
All monies raised will go directly to MS Cambridge Myelin Repair.