“I’M doing the marathon but please God never again, I’m sick of running!”
Deborah O’Connor jokes that preparing for Sunday’s Cork City Marathon has almost ruined her love of running, but then she says she can’t wait to get back to running twice a week with her friends in Togher AC.
“I’ll stick with Togher but I won’t be doing a marathon ever again!” she laughs.
“I’m tired of running because of the marathon, and I just want to get back with the team.”
Deborah’s life changed dramatically in September 2018 when a serious cycling accident put the Ballincollig pharmacist in intensive care, followed by three months of rehabilitation in the National Rehabilitation Centre. Before her accident, Deborah had been an avid cyclist and mountain climber, traveling to the Everest Base Camp and climbing Mount Kenya, as well as participating in several cycling events including the Tour de Munster.
Deborah’s injuries meant her cycling days were over, but the staff in the National Rehabilitation Centre recognised her love of sport and taught her the basics of running.
Persuaded by her brother to do a leg of the 2019 Cork Marathon relay, she finished the relay on Patricks’ Street and hopes to cross the finish line on the same spot on Sunday.
A walk in Gougane Barra led to her meeting Vicky O’Brien of Togher AC, and Vicky persuaded her to come to Harty’s Quay for a Thursday evening run.
“At the time I didn’t even know that I was joining a club run but it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she says.
In October 2020 she ran the Dublin Marathon virtually.
“I did it in Ballincollig mostly on my own, and four friends from Togher turned up, Bernard, who lives in Ballincollig, did the last ten miles with me, with Helen, Claire and Mary cheering me on outside my house.”
Deborah is running in the marathon for Down Syndrome Cork. “My friend Gerard has Down syndrome, and he is walking the half marathon in support of me. He’s fantastic. I’ll have my Togher top and I’ll be wearing my Down syndrome symbol.”
- To sponsor Deborah, visit idonate.