Northern Ireland

Run Cyril Run: The Clones marathon man

Running six miles is tough when you are 63 and have not trained.

Farmer, Cyril Rusk not only managed a six-mile leg of the Belfast marathon, he kept on going and going... until he finished the job.

What makes the story even more remarkable is that he did not do any road running in the lead up to the big day.

"I suffer from sinuses and if I ran out in the cold it would have brought on the sinuses. I kept putting it off and putting it off and hoped that the sinuses wouldn't happen on the day."

Modest Cyril whose farm spans Fermanagh and Monaghan said he "appreciates what runners go through to complete a marathon" but admits "it wasn't really a big achievement" as far as he was concerned.

Terms like "hitting the wall" and "going through the pain barrier" are used a lot when talking about running marathons but Cyril tried not to worry about it and took it all in his stride.

"If anything happened to me, if it rained too hard or if I got cramp or any physical problem I thought I would quit, none of these things happened," said Cyril.

"I completed the leg I promised to do as sponsorship for our parish church. When I had that completed I just tried to on as far as I could go."

He and his family are raising money for the restoration of their local church, St Tighernach's, in Clones, County Monaghan. So far they have collected around £700, but with media exposure Cyril is hoping to build on that.


He completed the seven mile stretch from the start line at Belfast City Hall to Bridge End in the east of the city before passing the baton over to to his son-in-law.

"My son-in-law Daniel took over the relay baton from me after the first leg. I handed the baton to him on the same basis that I handed my daughter over to him.

"Saying that I would have great confidence in him carrying the baton on," joked Cyril.

Whilst not intending to run the full 26.2 miles, Cyril just kept going and admitted he enjoyed the experience and said he had "achieved a lifetime ambition."

Most runners spend weeks, even months preparing for a marathon, Cyril did neither.

Julie Beaumont, a leading personal trainer from Belfast puts this down to Cyril's frame of mind.

"What Cyril has highlighted to everybody is if you want to do it, you can it.

"I've known people who have broken their backs, recovered and gone on to run not only marathons but ultra-marathons," said Julie Beaumont.

Speaking to Radio Ulster's Talkback show, Cyril told host Wendy Austin what his immediate plans were.

"I've been walking around very gingerly all day. Once I sit down it is very hard to get back up again. I'm going to taken a holiday for about a month now!"

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