Belfast Telegraph

You are truly a hero - American runner's thanks to Northern Ireland man who carried her to finish line of Boston Marathon

By Claire Williamson

A runner, who was carried to the finish line of the Boston marathon in an incredible act of selflessness, has thanked her Northern Ireland "hero".

Crew Commander Terry Canning (44), from Omagh, completed the gruelling marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 34 minutes last Monday.

Runners felt the heat as temperatures soared - at one stage the mercury hit 26 degrees - on the punishing 26 miles circuit from Hopkinton to Boston.

Among those who succumbed to the temperatures, just metres from the finish line, was New Jersey runner Julianne Bowe.

She was being helped along by Terry and Mario Vargas of Chile when her legs began to buckle.

And in an instant, the Northern Ireland firefighter scooped her up in his arms and carried her the remainder of the way stopping just short of the finish line to allow her to cross it herself.

The woman had contacted Terry on Facebook to say thank you but also recorded a video message which was played to him on RTE's Ray Darcy show.

She said: "I wanted to say thank you again for your help at the Boston marathon. I've been dreaming of crossing that finish line for over a year and I can't be more grateful that you were there to make that happen. You are truly a hero.

"I hope you are doing well and that sometime I can thank you in person maybe at a Boston marathon in the future."

In a statement last week Terry said he saw Julianne on the ground about 250 metres from the finish line and that along with the help of Mario, a 65-year-old veteran, thought it was the "right and only thing to do".

Terry said he was still in shock at the reaction to the video clip, which has been viewed more than 800,000 times.

He was running in support of the Enda Dolan Foundation, and wore a vest in memory of the 18-year-old student , who was killed in his first term at Queen's University, Belfast when he was struck by a van in October 2014.

Enda's father Peter said they were "very proud" that Terry was wearing their shirt.

Terry has been competing since he was 18 in the Omagh Harriers Athletic Club, which he is now chairman of, and Boston marked his 20th official road marathon. Boston is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events.

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