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Marathon man in running for record 33rd race aged 75

Forget Usain Bolt and Oscar Pistorias, Northern Ireland's very own running gem has confirmed he will chase down his own record by taking on his 33rd Dublin marathon at ripe old age of 75.

Jeweller Pat O'Loughlin had completed every single marathon in the Irish capital since it was introduced.

Despite turning 76 in December, the veteran sportsman surprised even some of his friends by signing up to keep his unbroken record intact.

At this year’s event on October 29, Pat will be running to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis Research in Cambridge, with his running partner Jenny McMenamin by his side once again.

Also supporting Pat’s charity will be local publican David Doherty from the Town House Bar, who is planning to take on the Amsterdam marathon on October 21 along with two of his staff.

Another of Pat’s friends, well- known local musician Gordon Speer, has signed up to join him on the 26-mile Dublin race, to raise money for the Church Of Ireland repair fund.

Pat said he felt in good form ahead of this year’s race, and is already undergoing training.

“I have signed up now for it — how far I’ll get this year I don’t know, but I’ll go ahead anyway and have another try at it.

“I will take it easy and hopefully get to the finish line. I have to try and keep the record going.”

Pat’s feat is all the more remarkable as he fought back from prostate cancer in 2005 and last year underwent radiotherapy for a blood problem.

“I’m blessed that my health is fairly good now,” he said.

“Last year, I had to get a bit of treatment in Belfast but thankfully everything is doing not too bad.

“I ran up to 12 miles there on Sunday past. Afterwards I was very stiff but I was able to go back out then on Tuesday and do six miles. I hope to get up to 18 miles. If you get into good form, you are tempted to push yourself but if you are feeling good you should hold that and don’t push hard because if you burn out or go stale it’s very hard to get it back.

“I’m doing a bit of gentle weight training to keep my knees strong so that when you feel a bit wobbly you can get through that spell and keep going.”

Pat advised anyone taking on such an endurance test to eat small amounts and take in plenty of fluids in the days before the event.

He will no doubt prove a star attraction at this year’s marathon once again, being one of only a handful of people to have taken part in all 33 runs.

“Jenny usually has a sign on her back saying ‘Cheer for Pat’ and people do that,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere, great craic. Jenny’s husband usually comes around on the bike to help us as well.”

Over the years, Pat and his team of helpers have raised over £45,000 for charity, and anyone wishing to donate can contact him on 028 81671550.

Belfast Telegraph