herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Marathon man (83) is ready for the off

Marathon man John Collins
Marathon man John Collins

He is set to be one of the Dublin marathon's oldest participants, but grandad John Collins (83) is ready for the challenge.

John has become an inspiration for runners half his age thanks to his amazing stamina.

But he said that the upcoming marathon - which will be the 30th he has run in the city - will be his final one.

He will be joined on the starting line for the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon on October 27 by his daughter Fiona and members of his running club, the Country Club Athletics Club in Limerick.

John ran his first marathon in Dublin in 1984, aged 53.

"I was over the moon, it was great. I didn't stop once, I flew through it," he said.

He got such delight from completing his first that he just kept on running and has also completed the Boston and New York marathons over the years.

He is so fit after 30 years running that he even does the 3.6km breakfast run on the Sunday before the marathon.

AMAZING

He maintains that looking after his body well and not pushing it too hard over the years has made it possible for him to complete such an amazing feat.

A video has been posted showing John training on You Tube and has been attracting hundreds of views.

"To meet Johnny after the marathon, after 26 miles, you would look at him and say 'My God, he's like a man after just coming out of the local shops'," said one friend paying tribute on the video. "He's an inspiration. He is an incredible, incredible man."

While he will have run 30 marathons in Dublin, when this one is complete, it will bring his overall tally worldwide to 42.

"My fastest time ever was three hours, 50 minutes. It was my third marathon in Dublin," said the father-of-five.

John has ten grandchildren, nine boys and one girl, and one of his grandsons Alan Owens (29) will also be starting the marathon alongside him.

"There could be a couple at my age doing the marathon," said John.

fdillon@herald.ie

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