Galwayman Gary Thornton in marathon seventh heaven

Gary Thornton on his way to success in Capetown.

Galway City Tribune – Gary Thornton was in seventh heaven this week. The city athlete ran seven marathons, on seven continents, over seven days – and won all seven races.

In a remarkable feat of endurance, the Galway City Harriers clubman claimed first place in the gruelling World Marathon Challenge 2018.

Mr Thornton completed two of the seven 42.2 kilometres races in under three hours, including the first leg in Antarctica (2:58:39) and the third leg in Perth (2:59:55).

The city native’s round-the-world in seven days challenge ended on Tuesday in Miami where he finished first with a time of 3:21:19. His other marathon times included: Cape Town (3:06:55), Dubai (3:04:29), Lisbon (3:19:28) and Columbia (3:35:31).

Over the week, participants spent 48 hours travelling in an airplane to get to the venues. Mr Thornton, a teacher at Claddagh National School, spent just over 22-and-a-half hours actually running.

The 37-year-old was due to touch down in Ireland last night, and is expected to return work later this Friday morning, where the children of Claddagh NS are planning a hero’s homecoming.

His senior infants’ class have been tracking Mr Thornton’s progress over the week, and the older classes were busy making projects about the event, and used it to learn about world geography.

Mr Thornton is married to Elaine – who also teaches in Claddagh NS – and lives in Shantalla with their one-year-old child, Cora.

“I was talking to him shortly after he crossed the line in Miami and he was in great form. He was obviously exhausted, and it had taken its toll on him and had minor niggles and tears but he’s very resilient and was in great spirits,” said Mrs Thornton.

The second eldest child of Mike and Nina Thornton of Ardilaun Road in Newcastle, Gary’s siblings are Paul, Aisling, Alan and Michelle. “It’s a great achievement, we are all very proud of him,” said his father, Mike.
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