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Milltown parish gives spiritual support to marathon runners

By Ann Marie Foley - 29 October, 2013

miltown pic1It was a case of blessed are the racemakers during the Dublin City marathon yesterday as runners were urged on by Milltown parish. 

Parish priest, Fr Philip Bradley, who ran a marathon when he was a seminarian 30 years ago, explained that in Milltown the runners always run past the church which is right on the edge of the road.

Around that point they had to get past ‘the wall’, a term used by runners to describe the difficulty in facing the last 6-8 miles, and they had to run up the hill to the next water station.

“Why not cheer the people on, why not let them know there is a church here and that we are interested and this is part of their race and we are thinking of them as they run,” Fr Bradley told Miriam O Callaghan on Radio One.

As participants passed, he and parishioners were there to cheer them on. They chose a quote from the bible and put it up on a big banner to give added encouragement to runners.

It stated: “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us”.

The church was left open during the marathon and there was some quiet music playing for moments of reflection for anyone, be they runners or supporters, who chose to visit. Mass was offered at 11am and all were welcome.

“We are saying to them – run with company. I am convinced that we do much better in life if we have company, so run as a team and we are trying to be part of their team,” explained Fr Bradley.

He was happy to cheer the runners on but has no plans to run another marathon himself.

Another priest, Fr Gerry Campbell, participated in what was his third Dublin City Marathon to raise funds for Trócaire’s Syria appeal.

Separately, Lavinia McCarron was awarded the Lord Mayor’s medal by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn.

The medal is presented annually to someone who has overcome personal difficulties, against all the odds, to take part in the Dublin Marathon.

Two years ago Lavinia was diagnosed with breast cancer on 28 October 2011 and underwent life-saving surgery. She ‘persuaded’ five of her friends to join her on the marathon this year.

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