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Parkrun veteran (77) calls it a full house at Magilligan Prison

Tommy Fee has now run all 26 of the north's parkruns. Picture by Lorcan Doherty

A RETIRED teacher and veteran runner has completed every parkrun event in the north - having crossed the finish line inside Magilligan Prison.

Tommy Fee (77) from Banbridge has now run all 26 of the free 5k courses in Northern Ireland.

On Saturday, he joined inmates and prison staff and said it was a friendly and sociable running community inside.

Magilligan is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve. It has about 400 prisoners at present.

The entire run takes place within the perimeter walls.

Magilligan operates slightly differently from other parkrun events. The official name does not include the word `prison'. Instead it is named Lower Drummans parkrun after the townland in which it stands.

"This is my first visit to a prison and I am so impressed by the work of the staff and how they are supporting those in their care. It has been such an uplifting and positive experience and I have met some really good people today," he said.

Matt Shields, parkrun Ireland's lead ambassador, said: "Lower Drummans parkrun is blazing a trail in Northern Ireland by demonstrating the positive and significant impact that parkruns can have for both prisoners and staff."

Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, was at the finish line to congratulate Tommy.

"The parkrun at Magilligan Prison is going from strength to strength with more and more people taking part," he added.

"Rehabilitation is at the heart of all we do at Magilligan, and indeed, across the whole of the Prison Service. The growing interest in parkrun and the participation by both staff and prisoners makes this a really important event which helps to create - through healthy bodies and minds – a safe community where we respect the law and each other."

Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, was at the finish line to congratulate Tommy. Picture by Lorcan Doherty

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