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Seven-year-old with terminal condition takes part in Derry half marathon

Seven-year-old Ethan and Team McClean on a run through the Dark Hedges.
Seamus McKinney

A SEVEN year-old Co Antrim youngster with terminal Muscular Dystrophy is set take part with his family in tomorrow’s Waterside Half Marathon.

It will be the tenth half marathon for Ethan McClean who is using the event to raise awareness of his illness and to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy.

The Ballymena youngster was diagnosed with the progressive terminal wasting muscle condition at the age of 18 months, according to his father Andrew.

Mr McClean said: “After being inspired by other families in Northern Ireland raising money and awareness for their charities, myself and his mum Yvette joined our local running club in Ballymena a number of years back and began taking part in half marathons four years ago.”

While Ethan was unable to join them because of his lack of mobility and his normal wheelchair at first, his mum and dad met another family whose child was able to use a specially adapted chair.

“That was exactly what we needed. Despite being very expensive, we thankfully managed to raise funds and buy one with the help or our friends, families and complete strangers. After only a few weeks of being out in the open air more often we’d noticed improvements to Ethan’s overall health.”

Since February this year, there’s being no stopping Ethan, according to his dad. With a small group of supporters – dubbed “Team McClean” – he has become a regular fixture on the north’s half marathon circuit.

“Despite having just completed the Born 2 Run Dambusters’ half marathon, he is already looking forward to what will be his first time at the Waterside Half Marathon. He is such a brave little boy. His mother and I are inspired by him everyday,” he said.

The half marathon starts from Ebrington Square at 10am and ends at St Columb’s Park.

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