Marathon man takes on a 105km fundraising challenge
Eoghan with his girlfriend Saoirse O’Neill, his friend Sean Morrissey, and his parents Dean and Tanya at a fundraiser in Mondello Park last July Photo by Ciarán Watts from @WattsMediaIrl

Marathon man takes on a 105km fundraising challenge

AN EXPERIENCED long-distance runner will be taking on a 105km challenge next month to raise funds for a Clondalkin man who was left paralysed after a mountain-biking accident last year.

Eoghan Gorman, a 23-year-old Greenpark native and popular sportsman, suffered his life-changing injury in the Dublin Mountains on Sunday, October 3 last year when he came off his bike coming down a trail.

The young man, who is a past pupil of Sacred Heart School in Sruleen and Holy Family Community School in Rathcoole, fractured his C3 vertebrae on his spine – one of the most severe spinal-cord injuries.

Eoghan, who had moved out of his family home in the months before the accident and was living with his girlfriend Saoirse O’Neill in Newcastle, was rushed to hospital after the accident and placed in an induced coma.

Unable to breathe independently, he was placed on a ventilator. In recent months, Eoghan has been able to come off the ventilator and is able to breathe unassisted but is paralysed from the neck down.

He is currently receiving treatment in the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire with the aim of eventually being able to come home.

A team of friends of the Gorman family set up a campaign earlier this year, called Fight with Eoghan, to raise funds for when Eoghan leaves the rehab centre, so he can get an adapted house to accommodate his needs.

Mark Conlon after finishing the Dublin Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park last Saturday for Fight with Eoghan

The Gorman family is planning to move into Eoghan’s grandmother’s house in Rathcoole, as it is larger than the family’s Clondalkin home and would be a more suitable property to adapt for him.

Long-distance runner and Clondalkin native Mark Conlon, who has run marathons for many charitable causes over the years, heard Eoghan’s story and wanted to help.

Mark told The Echo: “I’ve done a lot of sports around Clondalkin, and I found out that Eoghan had been a champion kickboxer.

“It just hit home that he was someone who had represented Ireland twice in taekwondo, and had recently moved in with his girlfriend – it all came crumbling down in one day after he fell off his bike and shattered his spine.

“When I heard his story, I just thought, I want to support him.”

This desire to support Eoghan’s campaign led Mark to run the Dublin Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park last Saturday in aid of Fight with Eoghan.

It also offered some valuable training in advance of Mark’s gargantuan fundraising effort next month, which will see him run the Dublin City Marathon followed by his own marathon route.

On crossing the Dublin City Marathon finish line, Mark will carry on running his own route through Clondalkin, Newcastle and Tallaght, with the aim of clocking up 105kms by the end of the day.

Explaining his training regimen, Mark, who is a member of Bawnogue Running Club, said: “I’m going to be training in Corkagh Park every day, doing 5ks and 10ks and building it up.

“I’m nervous because it means so much to me, I don’t want to not finish it.”

The money raised will be used to adapt Eoghan’s new family home in Rathcoole, to widen the hallways and equip the ground-floor with a bedroom and toilet tailored to his needs.

Mark is hoping to help the Gormans to reach their €150,000 goal – of which over €133,000 has already been raised – and this will be at the forefront of his mind as he waits at the starting line of the marathon on October 30.

Donations to the Fight with Eoghan campaign can be made at fightwitheoghan .