Boston Marathon: Omagh runner's heroism goes viral

By Amy Stewart

media captionOmagh firefighter Terry Canning helped exhausted Julianne Bowe over the finish line - Footage courtesy of CBS

They say modern-day heroes are hard to come by, but it seems that County Tyrone has one of its own.

Footage of Omagh man Terry Canning carrying a fellow runner across the finishing line at the Boston marathon has gone viral.

Terry, 44, was among tens of thousands of athletes taking part in the marathon on Monday.

But before the finish line, one of Terry's fellow runners suffered from exhaustion.

Firefighter Terry described how he saw the woman, called Julianne Bowe, on the ground about 200 metres from the finish line.

"There was another fella trying to lift her up, so I helped. He then ran on and other fella came along to help a bit until Mario Vargas, a 65-year-old veteran from Chile stopped to help.

"We tried to make her walk with assistance, but it was just too much for her. So we picked her up and carried her some distance."

image source, Picture Courtesy of Orlagh Canning
image captionTerry is the chairman of Omagh Harriers athletics club

Terry said the pair tried to get her to walk again, but she almost passed out so he ended up carrying her over the "finish line where medical assistance took over".

Julianne, who is from New York, has since contacted Terry on Facebook to thank him and explained that she had been suffering from severe heat exhaustion.

As a firefighter with many years experience, helping others is something that comes naturally to the Omagh man.

"To me it was the right, and only thing, to do as Julianne needed medical assistance to finish the marathon as she had got so far on her own," Terry added.

Terry, who is Omagh Harriers chairman, wore an Enda Dolan foundation vest in memory of the 18-year-old who was killed in his first term at Queen's University when he was struck by a van in October 2014.

"Helping others comes as a natural instinct to me whether it be through the fire service, running club or home life.

"I didn't think this would go as far but I hope it shows that you can still help others knowing them or not - in difficult times," he said.

image source, Orlagh Canning
image caption"Helping others comes as a natural instinct to me whether it be through the fire service, running club or home life," said Terry

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service congratulated their colleague on Facebook.

"Crew Commander Terry Canning Omagh Station completed the Boston Marathon in an impressive 3hrs 34 minutes today," it said.

"If that wasn't noteworthy enough he also took time to help another runner who had collapsed with exhaustion, and carry her to the line so she could finish.

"Great job Terry."

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