Moville woman Denise Barrett who lost three members of her family in a tragic accident near Quigley’s Point three years ago, has completed a remarkable achievement by successfully finishing all six of the world’s top marathons.
Denise Barrett completed the final leg of the incredible sextet at the Tokyo Marathon recently, earning a Guinness World Record medal in the process.
Denise was among an impressive Irish contingent of more than 150 runners – and incredibly she even managed to bump into two Inishowen athletes on the crowded Tokyo streets.
“I met Seosamh Mahon [Buncrana] and Pat Gamble [Clonmany]. We heard each other’s accents in the crowded Shibuya Crossing, the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing.”
“Funny how we all picked the accent out in a crowd. We stopped to talk and wonder at how we could bump into each other in such a busy place.”
The Tokyo Marathon was the first since 2019 and the pandemic-enforced four-year hiatus contributed to a huge field, much larger than normal.
The 47-year-old, who now lives in Galway, is the sister of the late John Mullan and aunt of Amelia (6) and Tomas (14), all of whom were killed in a car crash at Lough Foyle in August 2020.
Denise says running has helped her deal with the trauma and the grief since then.
“Running has been my therapy since the accident. I’d have lost my mind without it.”
“Since the accident I find that I say ‘yes’ much more to experiences that are life affirming. You never know what is in front of you so you have to grab every opportunity. I’m so grateful for each day of life.”
Poignant Inishowen run
Denise completed her first marathon back in 2015 to coincide with a landmark birthday and she’s now planning a poignant run in Inishowen this August, on the third anniversary of the tragedy.
“My next challenge is to do the Connemarathon Ultra in April, as a lead-in to the Inishowen Quadrathon in August. My brother John always wanted me to do this one and the final day coincides with the anniversary of the accident.”
“Some of John’s nieces and nephews plan to do the final half of this marathon with me. John would be so proud, Amelia would want to do it too and Tomas would definitely be chief cheerleader!”
Denise eventually completed the Tokyo 26-miler in an impressive time of three hours, 24 minutes.
Pat and Seosamh finished together in Tokyo in a time of three hours, 22 minutes. They were also successful six-star finishers, having completed the top half dozen marathons across the world.
All three local runners were also awarded an official Guinness World Record medal.
The Tokyo marathon included a record number of six-star finishers, the most ever in a single race.
A total of 3,033 runners earned their sixth star at Tokyo 2023, smashing the previous highest total of 732, set in the Japanese capital in 2019.