SAN LUIS OBISPO – When Maureen Phelan learned that her 79-year-old brother planned to run the Dublin marathon — all 26.2 miles of it — she thought he was crazy.
“In Ireland, anything can happen,” Phelan said. “A week before the race, we had a whole day of sleet, snow, thunder and rain, all mixed up together.”
But the Rev. Michael O’Sullivan, retired pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Arroyo Grande, was determined.
“I was getting old and needed a challenge,” said O’Sullivan, a Nipomo Mesa resident who has been running for years. He had not competed in a marathon, however, for 15 years.
But with his doctor’s blessing, the slight, white-haired priest took off Oct. 27. And while he was but one in a pack of more than 8,000 runners in Dublin, Ireland, he’s a hometown hero back in San Luis Obispo County.
Not only did O’Sullivan cross the finish line, completing the course in just over seven hours, he single-handedly raised $20,000 in pledges for the American Cancer Society.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.