Magic Michael com­pletes marathon af­ter ill­ness bat­tle


New Ross Standard - - NEWS - By DAVID LOOBY

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.

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