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Marathon charity push for Diddler 13.08.19

JUST months after the local community rallied around Paul Dillon with a fundraising campaign to help manage his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis, the Newtowncunningham man along his family and friends plans to give something back to other sufferers.
Affectionately known locally as Diddler, the 44 year-old was one of the most familiar faces at the front of the field at the Waterside Half Marathon before his diagnosis, at the start of this year, forced him to retire from athletics.
Now wheelchair bound, a team of 15 of his closest friends and family will bid to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association by taking turns to push him around the 13.1 mile course when the popular race takes place on Sunday, 01 September 2019.
Paul Dillon, front centre, was a familiar face at athletics events across the North West.
For Paul, it will be an emotional return to one of his favourite events on the North West Athletics calendar but he is excited at the prospect of being back in the field at the event which is one of the longest established races in Ireland.
“Being from Newtowncunningham the Waterside Half Marathon was a race I always looked forward to as it was on my doorstep,” Paul said.
“I did it six times and had a pb of 1.21, I would work towards it each summer and try and beat my time each year. It’s a day I’m really looking forward to, it will be nice to be part of the field again and meet everyone I would have run against over the years.”
A week-long series of fundraising events in February, including the ‘Dash for Diddler’ run that attracted the biggest ever field for a 5k in Donegal, helped raise over €85k that allowed Paul and his family to make essential modifications to his house and car.
“The fundraising effort and the response from the community was overwhelming and I’m pleased that I can give something back now by raising funds for others with the condition through the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association,” Paul continued.
You can donate to the fundraising campaign for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association at the EveryDayHero fundraising page .
The Waterside Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, 1st September, beginning at the parade ground in Ebrington Square and finishing on the running track at the nearby St Columb’s Park.
The scenic urban route takes in both sides of the River Foyle, passing many of the city’s historic landmarks including its famous walls and the Guildhall before crossing the iconic Peace Bridge and onto the finish.
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