Keith Russell did his daughter proud today.
In 2017, Keith’s daughter Alanna Russell was the youngest-ever competitor in the Dublin Marathon, when her dad pushed her along the course in a wheelchair.
Alanna was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, with no speech or use of her arms and legs. Despite her condition, Alanna took on a new lease of life when out running with her father. 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 Russell’s commitment, he was announced as the winner of the 2018 Lord Mayor’s Medal.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring presented the medal to Keith. He commented:
Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring, right, and race director Jim Aughney, left, with members of the Russell family, from left, Riordan, Fate, Keith, Ruth and Harry prior to the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon. (Pic: Ramsey Cardy – SPORTSFILE)
“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. #ICANIWILL”
The Lord Mayor’s medal is inspired by the efforts of all who partake in the Dublin Marathon each year and is presented to one runner who has ‘either exceeded incredible odds to partake in the 2018 marathon 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.
As for the race itself, Asefa Bekele of Ethiopia was the first and fastest over the line to claim the glory:
Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrock A.C. became the first Irish finisher, and sixth overall, of the race.
A brisk day for it and a day of many inspirational tales.