Local Outsider stars honoured at awards

by Gazette Reporter

TONY Mangan took top honours at the Outsider magazine People of the Year awards night held in Dublin last week.

The 57-year-old Metro St Brigid’s man was named Outsider of the Year 2014 in recognition of his extraordinary achievement of running around the world.

Mangan, who hails from the Liberties, clocked up 55,000km as he ran around the globe. That’s the equivalent of 1,200 marathons and is longer than any human has ever run.

Receiving his award, an emotional Mangan said, “This award means the world to me.”

But he was quick to add that life is returning to normal now that he’s back. “My mam is still worrying about me. She was worrying about me walking a mile in the cold weather. I have to remind her, ‘Mam, I’ve just run around the world; I’ll be fine.’”

Kitesurfer Jade O’Connor (43), a fellow Dubliner, was named Woman of the Year. O’Connor won the British Ladies Championship in June 2014, came eighth at the World Championships in Istanbul Turkey, August 2014 and fourth at the European Championships in Poland in September 2014. She is Ireland’s highest ranked kiteboarder.

Kiteboarding is a high adrenaline, high-speed water sport that sees up to 30 kiteboarders at a time race around a course reaching speeds in excess of 50km per hour.

O’Connor commented, “I am over the moon… This kicks my 2015 race season off with a bang of good energy”.

A lifetime achievement award went to Maurice Mullins (72) from Skerries. Mullins organised Ireland’s first triathlon in 1983 and then long-distance triathlon.

He also competed himself, running 130 marathons, 20 100km races, a handful of 24-hour races and competed internationally in ultra-distance events.

Although he now has cancer and has had to slow down in life, he still keeps active by cycle training in his garden shed and continues to inspire.

A modest Mullins stated: “It’s lovely to get this award but for every organiser there are so many helpers behind the scenes. When I organised that first triathlon, I had 104 helpers. They deserve this award too.”

An award voted for by the audience on the night went to Helen O’Sullivan, also from Skerries. The 37-year-old mum of one suffers from cystic fibrosis but overcame the odds to run the Dublin marathon in October in a time of 3.45.56.

A clearly delighted O’Sullivan who received a huge cheer from the crowd, said, “Even through the training was hard, I loved every minute if it.”

The Most Devoted to the Outdoor Scene went to ultra-runner John O’Regan (45) who hails from Ballybough in Dublin but now lives in Leixlip.

In 2014, the Dubliner won the Red Bull Wings for Life World Run in Killarney and finished second in the inaugural Tralee 100km just two weeks after running 227km in the Belfast 24-hour race.

He is also the current National 24-hour Champion. A level 2 athletics coach, O’Regan also trained 30 first-time marathon runners at Le Cheile Leixlip AC and also ran the half marathon and Dublin marathon as an official pacer.

He was advisor and online coach for Mark Pollock’s Run in the Dark, organised the crew behind the Bumbleance charity push and also helped coach Sinead Kane, the first blind Irish female to complete the Dublin Marathon in October.

He is also actively involved in the local Parkrun and coaches runners in Athletic Ireland’s Fit4Life programme.

An understated O’Regan said, “We don’t do these things to get awards but it’s nice all the same.”

The Breakthrough Achievement Award for 2014 went to Dublin mountain biker Conor Lavelle (17) who came third in the Enduro World Series junior category.

Elite Event’s Ollie Kirwan, who hails from Garristown, Co Dublin, but now lives in Killarney, picked up the Best Outdoor Event award for the Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race while the final Dublin award winner was Deirdre Mullins for Best Outdoor Film for her short film, Going the Distance about her father Maurice.

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