Archie Naughton and ‘Team Archie’ are set for another busy weekend as they once again prepare to turn the streets of the capital orange for the Dublin City Marathon this Sunday.
Breaking his self-inflicted media ban to speak to the Roscommon People on Tuesday, Archie, who is a first year student at Roscommon Community College and suffers from the devastating effects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), said he was looking forward to completing the marathon in a personal best time and quickly refuted rumours that he was suffering from any pre-race nerves.
“I’m not nervous. I’m excited,” he said. “I want to beat last year’s time even by ten seconds. I didn’t do as much training this year because we were waiting for the new running buggy. It’s bigger than last year’s one”.
When asked if coaches including Sinéad Gannon, Tonya Hand, Adrian ‘Speedy’ Smith, Elaine Denby Allen and Basil Mannion had him fully prepared despite a shorter training programme, Archie was adamant that preparation wouldn’t be a problem before he was forced to cut the interview short due to his race-week curfew.
“What’s said on the road, stays on the road,” he explained before head coach Sinéad Gannon provided a brief insight into what Team Archie can expect this weekend.
“I think there will be about 100 people coming with us this weekend from all over. We’ll have runners and 15 or 16 walkers as well so we’ll have people finishing in around three hours and others at the cut-off time near seven and a half hours.
“Jim Aughney and everyone at Dublin City Marathon have been brilliant once again. They donated the new running buggy, which would have cost over €5,000, and which is sturdier and more comfortable for Archie.
“We crossed the line in 4 hours and 33 minutes last year and (we experienced) the spirit of the Dublin Marathon with other runners running by saying ‘Good man Archie!’ ‘High five Archie!’ ‘Go Team Archie!’”
Sinead and fellow coach Tonya Hand expressed their gratitude to everyone involved in the organisation of the Dublin City Marathon as well as Team Archie supporters and anyone who has helped in any way, including the many Roscommon people who make their way to Dublin for the event.
Team Archie will be at the Dublin City Marathon expo at the RDS on Saturday handing out race packs for marathon participants while messages of support for Archie will appear on social media in the run-up to the main event on Sunday.
To donate to ‘Team Archie’, log onto www.joinourboys.org. There are also collection buckets in Gleeson’s in Roscommon town as well as an ‘I donate’ page which can be subscribed to. Over €80,000 was raised from last year’s event and the organisers are hoping for a similarly successful event this year.