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Legend Frank steps up to raise €50k for Coombe

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Runner Frank Greally

Runner Frank Greally

SPORTSFILE

Runner Frank Greally

Runner and magazine editor Frank Greally (69) will be walking 193km over 12 days next month to raise funds for the Coombe Hospital.

He will mark the 10,000 metre junior record that he ran in 30 minutes and 17 seconds 50 years ago in the Santry Stadium. It has never been beaten.

Mr Greally aims to raise €50,000 for charity organisation Friends of the Coombe to help them buy a new management system for expressed and donated breast milk.

He will begin his walk in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, stop at the Coombe and finish at the Morton Stadium, where he set his unbeaten record half-a-century ago.

Mr Greally was born prematurely in the Coombe Hospital and was not expected to survive.

Brother

He was only six when he lost his baby brother Gerard.

"He only survived a few days," he said.

"His death had a profound effect on me for many years, and it was only in my early 50s that I fully came to terms with his passing.

"I'm told my mother brought me home on the train to Ballyhaunis wrapped in a blue blanket.

"Now I want to give something back to the Coombe Hospital for helping to bring me and my brother safely into the world."

Mr Greally's daughters have also welcomed their own children into the world at the hospital.

"There's a nice twist to the story too, as two of my daughters, Laura and Claire, were born in the New Coombe and their mother, Marian, also nursed there.

"To bring it all full circle, Laura is now going to have her first baby in the Coombe in October."

The seasoned runner set his 10,000-metre national junior record in 1970.

Mr Greally later ran internationally for Ireland and won an athletics scholarship to East Tennessee State University.

He founded and edited Irish Runner magazine.