Thu, 05 Oct 2023

CALIFORNIA, USA - A Galway man has completed a coast-to-coast run across the United States carrying the ashes of a friend who died suddenly last year.

Richard Donovan, an ultrarunner, ran 5,150 kilometers from Boston to his friend's home state of California in just over three months.

On Sunday, the 56-year-old arrived at Santa Monica Pier and delivered Alvin Matthews' ashes to his mother Sara at the finish line.

According to Richard: "It was important to return ashes to Sara. We felt unfair when Alvin died last year after everything he had been through, so it was something special and very emotional."

Donovan is on his second transcontinental run in support of his friend.

He ran from San Francisco to New York in 2015 to raise money for Matthews, who was paralyzed after suffering a spinal cord injury.

Donovan stated, "Alvin was a runner and an athlete. I wanted to reintroduce him to the running community because there is a risk that something like that will cause him to withdraw completely. We raised thousands of dollars for him through fundraising."

Donovan has suffered injuries that have nearly ended his running career.

He stated: "I could barely walk last April. My knees underwent reconstructive surgery. So I didn't have much time to prepare for this run. My surgeon actively encouraged me to do it, and fortunately, I never had any knee pain while running, which was incredible."

Donovan began his journey from Boston on April 19, running an average of 64 kilometers (40 miles) per day through 16 states.

He described his setup as "spartan," with only one car accompanying him at various points along the route.

His journey took him along Lake Erie, through Ohio farmlands, across Kansas, over the Rocky Mountains, and finally to the west coast on Route 66.

While he wouldn't call himself a celebrity in these communities, he did become a source of curiosity.

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