Lord Mayor’s marathon medal presented to 'adoring dad'

Keith Russel took part in memory of his daughter who competed with him in 2017

Keith Russell (left) with race director Jim Aughney prior to the  marathon on Sunday. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Keith Russell (left) with race director Jim Aughney prior to the marathon on Sunday. Photograph: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

 

Navan Co Meath man Keith Russel was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Medal in the 2018 Dublin City Marathon.

Mr Russel was running in memory of his seven-year-old daughter Alanna who was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, depriving her of speech and use of her arms and legs.

Despite her condition, Alanna took on a new lease of life when her father brought her out training for the 2017 marathon, his first Dublin City Marathon and one which he ran while pushing Alanna in a specially built chair.

In preparation for last year’s Dublin Marathon, they managed to raise nearly €65,000 to buy a new minibus for the Meadows Respite Centre in Navan, which Alanna attended. In December, Alanna passed away unexpectedly and Keith, despite this tragedy displayed incredible courage and determination to run the Dublin Marathon, once again, this year in memory of his daughter.

In honour of his commitment, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring presented Mr Russel with Lord Mayor’s Medal 2018.

Mr Ring and the organisers of the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon said he was “honoured” to announce Mr Russell, as the winner and noted that Alanna Russell was the youngest-ever competitor in the Dublin Marathon, when her father pushed her along the course in a wheelchair in 2017.

“Each and every runner that partakes in the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon has an inspirational story behind their journey to the 26.2mile finish line. The Lord Mayor’s Medal is about celebrating one runner who has had a particularly challenging journey to compete in the 2018 Dublin Marathon. Keith Russell is a worthy recipient of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Medal. He is a truly inspiring character who has dealt with the terrible tragedy of the passing of his daughter, and has since pushed himself mentally and physically to compete at this year’s Marathon in memory of Alannah”, the Lord Mayor, said.

The Lord Mayor’s medal was inspired by the efforts of all who partake in the marathon each year and is presented to one runner who has either exceeded incredible odds to partake or has an inspiring story, fuelling their marathon journey.

The specially commissioned medal was first presented to 2009 finisher Martin Codyre, who was involved in an accident that left him paralysed and in need of 24-hour care. His brother and friend pushed him around the course to help him complete his marathon goal.