'Drained but Delighted' | 

Dublin man runs two and a half marathons in 16 hours in aid of young paralysed athlete

Clondalkin native Mark Conlon sprinted 105km across the capital in just 16 hours last Sunday

Mark Conlon presenting Eoghan Gorman with his Dublin Marathon medal

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A Dublin man has said he was “drained but delighted” after running two and a half marathons last weekend in aid of a young athlete who was left paralysed after a mountain biking accident.

Clondalkin native Mark Conlon sprinted 105km across the capital in just 16 hours last Sunday, October 30 to raise money for 24-year-old Eoghan Gorman, who fractured his spine on a biking trail last year and was placed in an induced coma.

The champion Taekwondo fighter and kickboxer will need 24-hour care when he is discharged from the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire and his ongoing medical needs will cost his family thousands of euros.

And Mark undertook the colossal challenge of running two and a half marathons with the hope of helping the family to achieve their fundraising target of €150,000.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Mark recounted the gruelling 105km run, where he was joined by some of Eoghan’s friends for part of the journey.

Mark's running route from last Sunday

“I started off at the Dublin Marathon at 9.15am and it took me around five hours to run that. I got my medal and a t-shirt for Eoghan,” he explained.

“I had two bags on me and I walked for three hours back to Clondalkin as part of the two and a half marathons.

“I got into the house, left the bags there and went back out.

“At around 100km, I ran over to his family home and met his parents and sisters. We just had a quick conversation in the garden for about 15 minutes, but I had to keep going or my body would go into shock.

“I ran through the night and finished at 1.30am. It took 16 hours so I was really tired and drained afterwards but I was just delighted to help.”

Mark said that he just wants to help ease Eoghan’s stress and said that the fundraiser has given him a “big boost” over the past few weeks.

“The mission at the start was to get Eoghan to his target online because of the stress he’s under now being in rehab.

“He’s finishing his rehab now so coming out and not having anywhere to stay is stressful for him and his girlfriend. I want them to have somewhere comfortable that their family can visit and he can have a carer.

“Just taking the stress away by getting him to his target was the main mission all along.”

The runner admitted that there were times he struggled along the way last weekend.

He said that he found the first few miles to be particularly tough and then hit another hurdle when he finished the Dublin Marathon as “everyone else went out celebrating” afterwards.

“About 4 miles in I was really struggling until I got to 13 miles. I just couldn’t get my rhythm at all. I was freezing cold too because I couldn’t carry a jacket as anything I carried, I’d have to run home with.

“When I finished, I went into shock and was shaking and my body went cold.

“Putting my body through that was well worth it to try and get him to his target. If anyone is reading and wants to donate, you still can.”

The #FightWithEoghan fundraiser has a target of €150,000 with more than €136,000 being donated to date.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to the cause can do so here.

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