Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Students Compete in Boston Marathon

19 April 2012

The 116th Boston Marathon took place on 16th April with 11 RCSI students competing in this prestigious road race. The oldest and largest marathon, Boston succeeds in attracting an average of 26,000 runners annually. 
 
RCSI's participation in the event was facilitated by Dr John V Coyle (RCSI Class of ‘62) a serving member of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) and recipient of the 2002 RCSI Distinguished Graduates Award.

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The team on race day

The 2012 RCSI team included Kate Bradley, Gillian Burke, Scott Chicotka, Simon Clifford, Richard Farnan, Brian Lee, Deirdre McLoughlin, Diarmuid O'Brien, Peter Tormey, Tyler Williamson and Nadine Straka. In order to qualify for participation in the Boston race, students had to first complete the Dublin Marathon. This year over 40 RCSI students competed in the Dublin Marathon, the largest number of participants to date. 
 
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Pictured are Peter Tormey presenting thank you gifts to Dr John V Coyle & his wife Deirdre Coyle
 
First to cross the finish line for RCSI in Boston was Richard Farnan , with an official finish time of 3-31. Richard was also the first RCSI runner to cross the line in Dublin with an impressive time of 3-08. He was therefore eligible to run with the first wave of Boston runners. Richard was presented with the John V Coyle Perpetual Trophy in recognition of his achievement.
 
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Pictured (l-r) are Gillian Burke, Kate Bradley, Nadine Straka, Deirdre McLoughlin
 

In addition to the challenge of covering 26.2 miles, the team also had to contend with a heat wave that hit Boston in the days leading up to the race. Temperatures soared into the high 80's on race day. Conditions were so challenging that race organisers, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), offered runners the option of waving their entry in 2012 and competing next year instead. Several thousand runners took up the option. The number of medical referrals post race was the highest ever recorded.
 
Commenting on the tour and the race itself, Corriena Brien, Student Services Manager said: ‘ I would like to commend all the RCSI runners who took part in this year's Boston Marathon. Running conditions were extremely difficult due to the soaring temperatures. So difficult in fact that two of last year's elite runners failed to reach the finish line. Our runners did a superb job and were wonderful ambassadors for the college'. Corriena went on to thank the many students and staff who sponsored the team and added ‘we are still counting the sponsorship raised for Breast Cancer Ireland but I am confident we will reach our target of €5,000. A big 'Thank You' to all who contributed'. 
 
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Pictured (l-r) are Peter Tormey, Brian Lee, Diarmuid O'Brien, Richard Farnan, Scott Chicotka, Simon Clifford and Tyler Williamson.
 
Prior to the race, the student team were invited to the Mayor's Reception held in the Fairmont Copley Hotel, where they had the opportunity to meet with several distinguished runners including Kathrine Switzer. Kathrine is well known as the woman who challenged the all male tradition of the Boston Marathon. She became the first woman to officially enter and run the event.
 
The team were also fortunate to meet with the well known duo of Dick and Rick Hoyt (Team Hoyt) and were moved by their story. Rick who was diagnosed at birth with Cerebral Palsy is also quadriplegic. Yet this hasn't stopped him from competing in the Boston Marathon and the 2012 race marked his 30th year of participation. With his father Dick pushing him in his wheelchair, the impressive pair have competed in over 1,000 races to date and are an inspiration to both runners and spectators alike. They have succeeded in raising tens of thousands of dollars for their charity The Hoyt Foundation. 
 
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Dr John V. Coyle presents Richard Farnan with the perpetual trophy
 
On conclusion of the Mayor's Reception, Peter Tormey gave a speech on behalf of the runners and presented Dr Coyle and his wife Deirdre with some thank you gifts. Peter alluded to how proud the college is of its association with the Boston Marathon and that this is the 13th year for RCSI students to compete. He went on to thank both Dr Coyle and RCSI for providing so many students with this wonderful opportunity over the years.