Magic Michael completes marathon after illness battle
POPULAR ROSS MAN COMPLETES RACE DESPITE INJURY
A NEW ROSS man who got the running bug late in life, having overcome serious illness, completed the Dublin City Marathon in what he described as one of the most ‘magical’ days in his 69 years.
Michael Fottrell started running five years ago after over a decade of illness. ‘I got fed up walking as people were always stopping me to talk. I was good at field athletics in school and was school champ,’ Michael said.
At school he competed at a high level in high jump, long jump and pole vault. ‘I had no training. I was frowned on as I didn’t play GAA.’
Michael grew up in Mary Street and worked in numerous jobs including as a ‘counter jumper’ with Graves & Company. He worked in Dublin for a time and for Stafford’s and South East Transport Company.
Eventually Michael opened his own transport agency looking after haulage supply. ‘I came into problems with my health because of the mental strain of the job. I lost the sight in my left eye. I had eight operations and my bood pressure was at 240/100 when the normal blood pressure is 140/80. I discovered I had diabetes so I was carrying all this around.’
Michael was also very active helping people in New Ross in a heightened time in industrial relations in the town. ‘ That added to the stress and I was nursing my mother at home for five years from 1995 to 2000.’
Michael was also very involved with The Silver Band training beginners and winning All Irelands. His condition improved with medication and he started running. ‘I was walking out by Creywell one day and a fella was coming down College Road and he said I was running slowly when I was, in fact, walking, so I said imagine what I’d be like if I started running. I started doing brisk walks and added to the number of paces I’d do. Eventually I was doing the ring road, which is about 9km.’
Michael has won several senior races since having built himself up to 10km runs, half marathons and in late October the Dublin City Marathon.
He registered for the event in January and never looked back.
‘I was number 20,926 and 21,000 was the final given number. 12 weeks out I decided to start training. I got myself up to running for 270 minutes and back down to 80 minutes as the marathon approached. I’d drink three cups of water before every meal in preparation and when I run I take water on board every 40 minutes. I’d leave the bottles in the ditches to collect and use High5 energy gels also every 80 minutes.’
Michael, from Michael Street, had some injury concerns going into the marathon and his left calf gave in half way through the 26.2 mile race.
Undaunted he soldiered on to the finish line.
‘I was doing five miles an hour and I had hoped to finish in under five and a half hours but due to the injury I came in in just under seven hours. When I crossed the line I felt like I could have run another six miles except I was handicapped with the calf.’
Michael Fottrell with his medal.
A general view of runners making their way through Pheonix Park during the Dublin Marathon last month.