The ING National Capital Marathon had a unique participant this year. Patrick McLaughlin, a resident of the Greater Montreal area, joined in the event, playing instruments and singing traditional Irish songs in an effort to raise funds for a Catholic charity that is close to his heart.
McLaughlin was one of 142 people who participated in the 42-km Marathonwalk, which was included as part of the Ottawa race, held at the end of May.
Unlike the other participants, however, McLaughlin played his Irish drum and sang a potpourri of songs in an effort to raise funds for the construction of primary schools in Fiji, where his sister, a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, is in charge of operations. The children in the villages she serves do not have access education since the government does not have the funds to build schools there.
McLaughlin’s international repertoire included Irish, French, English, Welsh, Scottish, Caribbean, American, Australian, Italian, Spanish and Jewish music. His first song was the Gaelic ‘Buachaill ó’n Éirne’.
A group of fellow walkers accompanied McLaughlin for about 35 km. They joined in the singing and even played the boran, spoons and bones; they crossed the finish-line to ‘Alouette, gentille alouette’. The 66-year-old completed the walk in 6 hours 37 minutes.
The Irish native first moved to the province of Quebec in 1972 to study counselling psychology at McGill University in Montreal.
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