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Frank O’Mara’s Unyielding Memoir: Sentenced to Life Without Parole

The doctor’s response, quick and precise, revealed the unfortunate diagnosis: “I’ve seen this often enough to recognize it. There is a slowness in your movement on the left side. I’m sorry to have to tell you this. You have Parkinson’s disease,” the doctor informed.

Receiving this news at the age of 48, I couldn’t help but express my skepticism, saying, “What baffles me is, I came in with a running problem and I’m leaving with an old person’s neurological disease.” Despite my disbelief, the doctor’s diagnosis remained.

The arrival of the book through the letterbox on Tuesday morning brought a sense of anticipation. Frank O’Mara’s story has been a familiar presence in our household, dating back to our younger days when he was a running icon.

O’Mara’s legacy as a running hero was cemented in various remarkable achievements, such as the 4 x mile world record attempt in Belfield during the summer of 1985. Teaming up with Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan, and Ray Flynn, they set a record time of 15:49.08 that still stands today.

Reflecting on O’Mara’s illustrious career, from winning World Indoor titles to his retirement as a decorated Olympian and Irish champion, his prowess on the track was undeniable.

The revelation of O’Mara’s battle with Parkinson’s disease, a diagnosis received several years ago, added a poignant chapter to his story that seemed inconceivable.

O’Mara’s journey with Parkinson’s unfolds in his memoir, “Bend Don’t Break, A Memoir of Endurance,” chronicling his relentless fight against the degenerative disorder.

The narrative oscillates between his running triumphs and the adversities posed by Parkinson’s, offering insights into his resilience and unwavering spirit in the face of adversity.

Through moments of introspection, O’Mara navigates the complexities of living with Parkinson’s, acknowledging the challenges while embracing a mindset of perseverance.

O’Mara’s experience underscores the enigmatic nature of Parkinson’s, highlighting the need for resilience and acceptance in confronting the uncertainties that accompany the disease.

With a focus on living in the present and embracing the journey ahead, O’Mara’s memoir encapsulates a message of fortitude and resilience in the face of life’s adversities.

– “Bend Don’t Break: A Memoir of Endurance,” By Frank O’Mara, published by The O’Brien Press on February 19th