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Brave seven year old to complete Waterside Half Marathon

30 August 2016

Brave seven year old Ethan McClean is set to complete his tenth half marathon of the year with ‘Team McClean’ after signing up for Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Waterside Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday 4th September. 

 Team McClean Pictured getting ready for Waterside Half Marathon

Assisted by his parents Andrew and Yvette McClean and his specially adapted Hoyt Assisted running chair - Ethan, who has the terminal illness Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, is aiming to raise awareness of his condition and the charity close to his heart, Muscular Dystrophy UK.

His father Andrew said, ‘Ethan was diagnosed aged eighteen months with the progressive terminal muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, for which there is currently no cure.

‘After being inspired by other families in Northern Ireland raising money and awareness for their charities myself and his mum Yvette joined our local running club in Ballymena a number of years back and began taking part in half marathons four years ago. 

‘When we participated, raised awareness and funds for charities, Ethan was sitting at home as his mobility nor his normal wheelchair allowed him to take part in official running events. While taking part in another local half marathon a number of years ago we met a family whose child was using a specially adapted chair that was exactly what we needed. Despite being very expensive, we thankfully managed to raise funds and buy one with the help of our friends, families and complete strangers. After only a few weeks of being out in the open air more often we’d noticed improvements to Ethan’s overall health.

‘Since then (Feb 2016) he hasn’t stopped! A small band of helpers, who we call ‘Team McClean’ join Yvette on some of the race days helping to push him along the route to get Ethan over the finish line. To date he’s completed various distances including 5km races, 5 mile races and nine half marathons. Despite having just completed the Born 2 Run Dambusters Half Marathon at the weekend he is already looking forward to what will be his first time at the Waterside Half Marathon. He is such a brave little boy. His mother and I are inspired by him every day.

‘The 13.1 mile course will no doubt be made a little easier with the amazing views of the city to enjoy along the way and the support we regularly receive from fellow runners and supporters along the route, we really appreciate it. Ultimately we are doing this to raise awareness of Ethan’s condition and the Muscular Dystrophy UK charity but we also noticed there found benefits to Ethan’s overall health since we’ve began running.’

The 13.1 mile course will depart from Ebrington Square at 10.00am on Sunday 4th September continuing to the city side before finishing at St. Columb’s Park.  Entries are now closed for this year’s Waterside Half Marathon after full capacity was reached in record time. A limited number of spaces are still available for the less challenging 2k Family Fun Run. For further details, visit www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon.