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Dublin marathoner Dave Brady (72) has run equivalent of Earth’s circumference

This Sunday’s Dublin Marathon will be his 1,010th race over the classic distance

Dave Brady is gearing up for next week’s marathon© SPORTSFILE

Dave Brady is gearing up for next week’s marathon© SPORTSFILE

Dave Brady is gearing up for next week’s marathon© SPORTSFILE

Sean McGoldrickSunday World

Meet 72-year-old Rathcoole marathoner Dave Brady, who has literally run around the Earth.

This Sunday’s Dublin Marathon will be his 1,010th race over the classic distance which equates to 42,521km of running — more than the circumference of the Earth.

A long-time member of Raheny Shamrock Athletic Club and President of the Marathon Club of Ireland, Dave still works full time as a construction foreman.

He has Bob Geldof to thank for his near 40-year running career. Growing up in Kildare, his sporting passion was motor rallying.

But after watching Geldof’s appeal for participants to run in a 10km race in aid of Ethiopian famine relief in 1986 he decided to enter. After running a respectable 42 minutes he switched sports at the age of 36.

Later that year he ran his first Dublin marathon and the following May ran the Belfast marathon in a personal best time of two hours and 52 minutes.

Back then the Dublin and Belfast events were the only marathons staged in Ireland. But together with a few running buddies he raced abroad, completing marathons in New York, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Lisbon, Valencia, Seville, Barcelona and Rotterdam.

Dave Brady is gearing up for next week’s marathon© SPORTSFILE

Dave chalked up his 100th marathon in Dublin in 2007. The economic downturn sparked a running boom with an explosion in the number of marathons and ultra-distances races being organised, many under the auspices of the Marathon Club of Ireland.

For years Brady ran around 100 marathons a year. It wouldn’t be unusual for him to run a marathon along the seafront in Clontarf in north Dublin before heading to do a day’s work on a building site in the city centre.

In 2014 he ran 104 marathons, including a mammoth 12 marathons on consecutive days in the 12 counties in Leinster. He completed his 500th marathon in Courtmacsherry in Co Cork in 2015 when he was sixty-five.

“Afterwards when a reporter asked me when I was planning to run my thousandth marathon, I jokingly said when I was 75. Until then I hadn’t thought much about doing it.”

He originally planned to run his thousandth at the 2020 Dublin marathon. He was 50 short when Covid struck in the spring of 2020.

Dave Brady is gearing up for next week’s marathon© SPORTSFILE

“Everything went pear shaped after that. I lost my mojo,” he admits. “Even since things re-opened the buzz has gone out of it and a lot of the smaller marathons are getting cancelled because of lack of numbers.

“I’m not running well either which means the races are less enjoyable.”

Even though he never tested positive for Covid-19 he believes he may be suffering from long Covid as for the first time ever he has experienced problems with his breathing and discomfort in his legs during runs.

Nonetheless, he persevered. Finally at the Longford marathon in August he became the first Irish athlete to complete 1,000 marathons. “I didn’t want a big fuss being made about it, so I didn’t tell anybody until the race was over.”

This Sunday, he hopes to break six hours in Dublin. His five grandchildren are his biggest fans and they will be out on the course cheering him home as he clocks yet another 26.2 miles on his remarkable journey.


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