Interview: Prized Runner Tommy McElwain Hitting The Roads For Wexford’s Frontline Workers

Prized Ferns runner Tommy McElwain will soon hit the roads again as he hopes to raise vital funds for Wexford’s front-line workers at Wexford General Hospital…

McElwaine is no stranger to the running world. In 2012, he won the National title for the Men’s over 40’s category in the Dublin marathon. It was a fair achievement, but even though he won, that time did not top his personal best.

He’s also no stranger to the people of Wexford: Tommy, running along the roads of Ferns and the neighbouring communities in his distinctive white jumper, has become a familiar sight for locals and for passing-by drivers.

He hasn’t been as active in the running world of late, but a desire to help those in need due to the Coronavirus has inspired him to complete another 10km ‘personal race’ around his community of Ferns. With this run, where he will be staying within the restricted 2km zone, he hopes to raise vital funds for the front-line workers at Wexford General Hospital.

“It’s personal. I’ve been looking at the telly and there was nothing I could do. So I said, jaysus, I’ll do a run for them and try raise a thousand euro for them. They’re going through it. We’re not. They’re going to the mill with that virus.”

“It’s tough on them. I wouldn’t like to do the job they’re doing anyway.”

Tommy also took inspiration “from your man over in England. 100 years of age.” Here, he was talking about Tom Moore, a war veteran who just recently raised 37 million for the NHS.

While Tom Moore’s viral campaign will undoubtedly out-fundraise Tommy’s, the message remains the same: if you can help, you should help. Throughout his career, he has done “a hape of runs” and within that, he has raised funds for charities such as Wexford’s Hospice HomeCare, Slaney Rescue Team, The Hospice Foundation, and the Geriatric Unit of Wexford General. These are just some of the many charities that the big-hearted individual has impacted positively.

Although recently suffering a shoulder injury, Tommy remains hopeful that on 09 May, he’ll get over the line once again.

“I’ve been jogging away. I was thinking of doing a marathon, but I don’t think the body would take it. I wouldn’t have been training enough for it. So I was thinking of doing the ‘V’ in Ferns. It’s only about 500 metres away from my home and there’d be no one near ya.”

“When you’re able, you might as well go and do it.”

For Tommy, he explains how like everyone else, small things have been stripped from him due to the Coronavirus. A few things that he still has is his running, his positive outlook on life, and his eagerness to help once again during a time of need.

“It’s hard labour, but that’s life,” he says about his life with running at the core.

Tommy, a veteran and prized runner, will start the race around his local community of Ferns at 5pm on 09 May. Once completed, he agreed that he might even sing a song or two and he hopes that members of the community will head out to cheer him on.

Tommy has set a target of €1,000 and already, it looks like he will surpass that target. You can donate to Tommy’s fundraiser via Facebook here.

The funds raised will go directly to the workers on the front line at Wexford General Hospital in their efforts to contain the Coronavirus. He hopes that the funds raised will go towards sanitizer and personal protective equipment.

The running man with the big heart. That’s Tommy.


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