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Galway’s 79-year-old Marathon Man maintains perfect Dublin record

Knee surgery might knock a lesser man off his stride, but nothing was going to stop Athenry AC runner Peadar Nugent from taking his place on the starting line for this weekend’s Dublin City Marathon. After all, he’s been in every one of them since the very first one in 1980.

And now at the age of 79, the Clare-born adopted Galwayman is as determined as ever to maintain his perfect record of taking part in all 43 runnings of this event since its inception – because he’s already preparing for a milestone run when he’s 80.

Even when the race fell foul of Covid restrictions for the last two years, Peadar kept up his record by running the race virtually – firstly within the 5k restriction around his home place in Moyvilla, Oranmore, and last year around Esker in Athenry, when the rules were more relaxed.

This year, with the marathon back to its ‘in person’ format, Peadar was preparing like a professional – until an unfortunate accident, which required surgery to his severed quad, put a halt to his gallop.

“I had a bizarre accident when I hit the central meridian on O’Connell Street in Dublin, and it completely severed my right quad. Although it didn’t even break the skin, my leg was effectively hanging from my knee down,” he recalls.

It took the skills of Gort-born surgeon, Professor Cathal Moran, and his team from the Santry Sports Clinic in Dublin to perform immediate surgery on Peadar’s leg to get him back on his feet.

“I’m so grateful to Professor Moran and all of his team who stayed behind after their regular list in the Blackrock Clinic to operate on me,” he says.

Even then, Peadar wanted to know if he’d make the marathon and maintain his record, but Professor Moran ruled that out. But he clearly didn’t reckon on the determination and healing powers of the Athenry AC veteran.

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