"I passed out with hypothermia, woke up and finished the marathon" | Garry Cribbin


Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

18.21 31 Jul 2020


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Jockey's agent Garry Cribbin saw his career as an amateur rider ended when he fractured his neck in a fall 16-years ago but he continues to run over 90 miles each week. 

The Kildare man need a neck fusion after the fall but he's gone to forge a successful career as an agent while also running six major marathons around the world.

Cribbin told Johnny Ward and Ger Gilroy on Friday Night Racing about how ended up in hospital during his run at the 2018 Boston Marathon before discharging himself in order to complete the race.

"It was the coldest in Boston's history, it was horrendous," the Clane-native said. "I remember going over and checking the weather and freezing rain was the description on the weather.

"I run in that every morning, so it was thinking it can't be that bad, we're Irish! But going out that morning, the wind would cut you in two.

"I wasn't fully prepared, I had my vest and my shorts and that was it. I remember putting a couple of black bags on because of the wind and the rain.

"The water was flowing through the tent where we were getting ready and water was running down the streets, so our socks and feet were soaking before we even got off the bus.

"I was getting colder and colder and I remember going through mile ten and I was getting light-headed, I knew something was amiss and then I collapsed at mile 15 with hypothermia and woke up in Hopkington Hospital.

"I woke up and asked, 'where's my number?', because all I was thinking was that it was my second last world major and I have to finish this now.

"I was rigged up to I don't know how many gadgets and there was a curtain around me, I put my hand down to the right and there was a bag with my wet gear with my number still on my vest, everything.

"Stupidly, I put on all the gear and did a legger! I went out the front of the hospital and a taxi driver told me where the marathon was, so I went down and hopped the barrier at mile 15.

"I actually don't remember a thing of those 11 miles. It was pure stupidity, I was on my own and had to get my flight home so I crossed the finish line and felt so weak and I couldn't see.

"I said 'just get me to the airport', and I was freezing, I was rattling, I remember putting foil things around me to try and get heat into me, but I couldn't.

"I woke up in Dublin airport, I honestly don't remember a thing, but I ended up in Tallaght Hospital for two weeks as I'd developed a clot which went into my lungs, it was stupidity and I'm on medication for the rest of my life because of it."

Cribbin also gave provided an insight into the life of a jockey's agent and the task he faces in keeping all the clients of his stable happy.

"Sometimes it would be easier managing a creche with 20 children! You can only offer who you have and at the end of the end the trainers will pick and most of them will go for the top (riders).

"But there's horses that'll be there, going down the lesser grades, and those races give these guys a chance.

"When there's 11 runners in Sligo or 14 runners in Ballinrobe, it's very difficult when you've 20 or 30 jockeys. You're trying to get rides booked with four or five other agents trying as well.

"The quality of jockeys we have over here down the ladder is unbelievable, especially the younger lads.

"They have to be patient and keep trying and you keep pushing them and you're hoping that a trainer gives them that chance."


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