Keith Russell: Running With Purpose And Love For Alanna

ByJoanne Murphy |

Irish Ultra Runner Keith Russell was the Winner of the ‘Last One Standing’ race in Florida Manor, Co Down last month. He broke Irish, UK and European records in this type of race, by completing 425.5km in 63 hours. Each lap of 6.7km has to be completed within an hour before the next one starts, the race continues until there is one person left on the start line. Keith was the last one standing at this year’s event taking victory after a gruelling race.

Keith’s running journey started in 2016 with his daughter Alanna, running the Dublin Marathon with her in 2017, capturing and captivating the hearts of the nation as they completed the event together with Keith pushing Alanna in her chair over the 26.2 mile distance. Tragically Alanna passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks later, however, Keith continues to run in her honour and her memory.

He embraced running with Alanna and now has pushed beyond what he ever thought possible by taking on some mammoth ultra running events. It wasn’t an easy road to running success for Keith in fact he hit rock bottom after Alanna passed away before he began to pick up the pieces of his life again and realise that he had a reason to not only survive but to thrive. Running is his recovery and his therapy on a road that has hit some heart breaking obstacles and challenges.

But Keith is not afraid of these obstacles he now faces as a runner, in fact he embraces them, the bigger and tougher the better for the man from Navan who was a participant in RTE’s Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week in 2019, he has his eyes set on success at the Marathon Des Sables in the future and Big’s Backyard Last One Standing World Final in Tennessee this October, just don’t ask him to get back on a rowing machine anytime soon!

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