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'fallen friend' Olympic medallist Sonia O’Sullivan organising a memorial race for tragic runner Gillian Ryan

The Irishman Running Abroad Virtual 5K In Memory Of Gillian Ryan is being held on Sunday May 2, from 9am.

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Gillian Ryan who died while running in the Comeragh Mountains

Gillian Ryan who died while running in the Comeragh Mountains

Gillian Ryan who died while running in the Comeragh Mountains

Olympic medallist and athletics legend Sonia O’Sullivan is organising a memorial race for a mother-of-two who died while out for a run on the Comeragh Mountains last week.

Gillian Ryan, 37 from Ashill, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co Tipperary went missing on Sunday, April 18 at around 12.45pm close to Coumshingaun Loop trail.

Her remains were found in a steep gully above the lake by rescue teams at 6.30pm the following day following the freak accident.

Mrs Ryan, would have turned 38 on May 8.

The alarm was raised when she did not make contact with her husband at 2pm and gardai were called at 3pm.

The South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association (SEMRA) lead the multi-agency search along with Search And Rescue Dog Association Ireland (SADRA), Rescue 117 of the Irish Coast Guard along with the Kerry Mountain Rescue, Dublin and Wicklow search teams and the Glen of Imaal mountain rescuers and Civil Defence volunteers.

The Irishman Running Abroad Virtual 5K In Memory Of Gillian Ryan is being held on Sunday May 2, from 9am and can be run from any location in the world as part of the Strava running app.

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Gillian Ryan

Gillian Ryan

Gillian Ryan

Ms O’Sullivan said: “Our end of April 5k event is in memory of our fallen friend and legend Gillian Ryan. Run this 5K anywhere you like, any time you like, next weekend wearing most colourful outfit you have.

"Post your pictures to the club page and we will send the best ones to Sonia O'Sullivan and Irishman Running Abroad. RIP Gillian Ryan.

“Her family has set up a fundraising page for the incredible rescue workers brought her home. If you plan to take part please kick in what you can.”

When hearing of her running colleague’s death, O’Sullivan, who won a gold medal in the 5000 metres at the 1995 World Championships, and a silver medal in the 5000 metres at the 2000 Olympic Games added: “So sorry and so very sad to hear this news.

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"I met Gillian last year at our running camps in Kerry, so much fun, full of energy and loved her running.

“A big fan of our weekly podcast and will be missed by so many in the running community . RIP and condolences to family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Mrs Ryan’s husband Conor has started the fundraising campaign for SEMRA on GoFundMe on behalf of Gillian.

So far almost €17,000 has been donated.

Mr Ryan and on behalf of their two children Amelia Rose and Conor Jamie said: “On behalf of my late wife Gillian whose birthday is on May 8.

“We would appreciate if you could donate as a thank you to South Eastern Mountain Rescue for all their hard work and kindness.Thank you for Conor, Amelia and Conor.”

Mrs Ryan, who was a well-known runner and athlete nationally was laid to rest on Saturday following her Requiem Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

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Sonia O’Sullivan has paid tribute to mother-of-two Gillian Ryan

Sonia O’Sullivan has paid tribute to mother-of-two Gillian Ryan

Sonia O’Sullivan has paid tribute to mother-of-two Gillian Ryan

Mourners at her Mass were told: “Gillian crowded so much into her short life. Her family was always at the centre of her life. Conor was truly blessed to have Gillian as a soul mate, to have so many shared interests and their children together.

“The hallmarks kind, patient, trusting and caring were the hallmarks of her life.

"She brought joy and light to so many people. She was kind, friendly, generous and would lift your spirits, with her friendly smile. We thank her for all the goodness she did."

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