Ardboe siblings run first marathon in Belfast and raise £4k in their father’s memory

Paula and Conor Duffy before the marathon kicks off

Paula and Conor Duffy before the marathon kicks off

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A brother and sister from Ardboe took on their first ever marathon in Belfast this year in memory of their father, who died last May Day.

Conor Duffy and Paula Mulgrew (nee Duffy) lost their dad Seamus Duffy, who was just 52 when he suffered a heart attack while out walking, early on May 5.

Paula and Conor in action at Gideon's Green

Paula and Conor in action at Gideon's Green

But instead of focusing on the “huge void” his loss left, they said they decided to do something positive for him on the first anniversary of his death - something they could do together.

So 28-year-old solicitor Paula and Conor, an 18-year-old A-Level student at St Pius’ in Magherafelt, set about training for the marathon whilst raising funds for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke in Seamus’ name.

On Monday they finished the race together with a time of four hours and 48 minutes.

“A bit longer than we aimed for,” Paula told the Mail.

Paula and Conor finish the race in four hours 48 mins

Paula and Conor finish the race in four hours 48 mins

But, since making the decision to run, the pair also raised over £4,000 for a charity that “means a lot to our family”.

“We lost our dad Seamus suddenly on the fifth of May last year,” Paula explained.

“It was the May Day bank holiday. He had suffered a heart attack while out for a walk early that morning.

“One day he was there and the next he was gone forever.

“It left a huge void in our lives,” she went on, “and we decided we wanted to do something just for him, in his memory and also something for us to focus on.

“We chose the Belfast Marathon because it was something Conor and I could train for together, and because it will mark a year to the day of his death. We wanted to mark his first anniversary by doing something positive and NI Chest Heart & Stroke was the obvious choice for our charity.

“We have raised almost £4,000 so far in donations, the support and generosity of our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues has been fantastic.”

If you would like to support Paula and Conor, go to www.justgiving.com/paulaandconorsbelfastmarathon/