Woman who ran marathon weeks after fall injury wins €15,000 damages
Lisa Nagle (46) also awarded costs against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
File photograph of runners at start of 2015 Dublin Marathon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A woman who ran a personal best in the Dublin Marathon five weeks after injuring her feet, knees and wrist in a fall while training, has been awarded €15,000 damages against Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.
Mother-of-three Lisa Nagle (46), of Beechdale Way, Ballycullen, Dublin 24, was also awarded her costs which, together with the County Council’s legal expenses, is likely to cost the local authority another minimum of €30,000.
Ms Nagle, an avid racer and club runner, told Judge John O’Connor in the Circuit Civil Court she had specifically trained hard for the 2015 Dublin Marathon in a bid to beat her previous two best times of 4:43 in 2013 and 4:01 in 2014.
Despite her injures she had succeeded just over a month after her accident in clipping 13 minutes of her previous best. She ran the 26 miles in 3 hours 48 minutes and was placed 3,903 out of some 20,000s runners who participated in the 2015 marathon.
Ms Nagle told her counsel James Cross, that she put her ability to compete so soon after having crashed to the ground in a Sunday morning practice run , down to an intensive five-weeks course of physiotherapy prior to the marathon.
“I had trained so hard for that marathon and to improve my time,” she told Mr Cross. She said she had not run in a marathon since but had competed in five and 10 mile races as well as cross-country runs following the 2015 marathon.
Counsel for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council told Ms Nagle her time had improved quite incredibly to get below four hours and he described her race as “quite a considerable accomplishment” which she had posted on Facebook.
Ms Nagle said she suffered seriously with swollen and painful feet after the marathon and other races in which she had taken part.
Judge O’Connor rejected a submission on behalf of the local authority that Ms Nagle had exaggerated her injuries in circumstances where she had been physically capable to score a personal bestin a marathon.
The judge said Ms Nagle had been truthful in court and had not been one to deliberately exaggerate her claim. Some of her evidence had not been as clear as one perhaps would like and she had come across as someone who had a lot of trauma in her life, the judge said.
“Just because the plaintiff was a get-up-and-go person and ran marathons does not mean that her evidence is somehow exaggerated,” Judge O’Connor said. “Her get-up-and-go attitude is to be commended.”
Judge O’Connor said Ms Nagle’s evidence that some of her injuries were still ongoing had not been borne out by medical reports. Consultant Robert McQuillan, who had examined her on behalf of the defendant, had expressed surprise she had complained of symptoms some two years after the accident.
Forensic engineer Alan Conlan told Judge O’Connor he had examined the steel grating into which Ms Nagle’s foot had slipped and he found there had been a catastrophic failure of the cover which had been too small for the shore.
Judge O’Connor awarded Ms Nagle €15,000 damages along with costs and an additional €580 incidental expenses.