In a remarkable, Olympian-like feat, one Longford girl completed the arduous journey of her first 10k run at the weekend.
Jillian McNulty (36) is a fighter. Last Sunday (July 22), this Longford lady left her hospital bed in Dublin to undertake the Fingal 10k run and she completed the race in an admirable 1:33.
Living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Jillian is the 2012 Longford Spar Spartan and as such undertakes an athletic challenge each month in the lead up to the Spartan grand finale at the Dublin City Marathon (October 2012).
“I’m very proud of the time I achieved. It was a tough course and it was quite hilly but it was worth it. Crossing that line was the best feeling in the world,” she said.
Fellow Spartans Mark Egan (County Offaly) and Peter Fitzgerald (County Clare) turned back after completing their race to re-run the last three kilometres with the courageous Glack athlete.
“There is a great team spirit between the lot of us and I was delighted that Mark and Peter turned back.
“Other spartans shouted us on from the sidelines,” said Jillian who trains five or six days a week as part of this challenge.
Looking at the overall Spartan experience, the CF campaigner believes she needs to be more patient with herself.
“I’m progressing slowly and I’m comparing myself to the healthy Spartans. Reality is that I have reduced lung function and I have to accept that – so I’m just getting on with it and I’m loving it,” said Jillian.
She added: “Running is keeping me in tip top form and so far everything is under control.”
This week marks another new chapter for Jillian when a new €22 million unit will open at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. The unit will provide up to 34 single in-patient rooms for CF in-patients.
“We expect to be transferred in on Wednesday August 1,” said Jillian. “It’s always been stressful for us (CF in-patients) to stay in wards as we pick up infections so easily. I won’t actually believe it’s true until we are in there.”
On average Jillian has 6-8 hospital stays per annum, spending an average of 3-4 weeks with each stay.
Having her own room, free from cross-infection, will significantly improve her quality of life.
CF is one of the country’s most common genetically inherited diseases. Ireland, with over 1,100 CF patients, has one of the highest proportions of people living with CF in the world.
Irrespective of her condition, Jillian is determined to continue her Spartan challenges and training.
“My next challenge is August 25 and it’s a ten mile run. I’m tired after the Fingal 10km, but I’m looking forward to the next event,” she said.