From Galway to the Volcano: One Year Later

June 25, 2024

In October 2014, Ian Egan received word that he would once again be participating in the Volcano Marathon. This news, received on the 10th, spurred a flurry of activity and preparation for the Galway native. Inspired, Egan embarked on 10 and 12 mile runs on the subsequent two days. As the marathon date drew closer, he continued with numerous double-digit runs, peaking with a 14-miler.

This year, Egan's journey was made alongside Gary Thornton, a top marathon runner from Galway. Their trip to Chile was anything but straightforward. Egan and Thornton were tasked with transporting a large finish line gantry to the course. The logistical challenge of getting the bulky frame from Galway Coach Station onto an airport-bound bus, through Dublin, Madrid, and Santiago airports, and finally to San Pedro de Atacama, added a layer of complexity to their journey. Despite these obstacles, the duo managed to succeed in their mission.

The days leading up to the marathon were spent acclimatising in the breathtaking settings of the region, including the famed "Valley of Death." This period was crucial for Egan, helping him prepare for the demanding conditions of the race. Having competed the year before, Egan knew what he was in for this time around.

On race day, Egan found himself alone from start to finish, a stark contrast to the previous year when he crossed the line with two other runners. A hamstring niggle prevented him from running freely on the downhill sections, but this did not dampen his spirits. With no pressure to prove himself, Egan embraced each step of the marathon, fully immersing himself in the beauty of his surroundings. The experience was more exhilarating than emotional this time, and he finished with a time similar to his 2013 effort.

Gary Thornton, his travel companion, emerged victorious, winning the race. Reflecting on the event with Run Republic, Egan acknowledged the rarity of such opportunities and expressed gratitude for his fortunate career and the friendships forged in distant places through competition.

The trip was capped off in memorable fashion as Egan and Thornton were made "honorary Chileans" for the night in a local bar, where they joined locals in cheering for the Chilean national soccer team as they played against England. This lively end to their adventure underscored the shared joy that often accompanies international sporting events.

'Opportunities like this are rare, I've been very fortunate throughout my career.'

Related News