Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The American swimmer Francis 'Fran' Crippen, who died in Fujairah last month.
The American swimmer Francis 'Fran' Crippen, who died in Fujairah last month.

Sister runs New York Marathon in tribute to dead swimmer

Maddy Crippen was planning to withdraw from running the New York Marathon after her brother Fran's death devastated the family, until a friend persuaded her to still take part.

Maddy Crippen was planning to withdraw from running the New York Marathon last Sunday after her brother Francis's death devastated the family.

But Jack Roach, a good friend of her late brother's, had just come back from the UAE with his body and insisted that Maddy stick by her resolve to run.

"He said to me, 'You have to run, that's what Fran would want you to do'," she said.

Francis had run the New York Marathon twice, in 2008 and 2009, Maddy said. "He loved it, he said it was the coolest sporting event he ever did. He said, 'Maddy, you have to put it on your list'."

Ms Crippen, a 30-year-old marketing professional completed the race in four hours, six minutes and 19 seconds. After 29km, the run almost got the best of her. She described it as the most horrendous thing she had ever done in her life. But when she crossed the finish line, she knew she would be repeating the experience again next year, and that she would run for the soon-to-be-formed Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation.

"Our goal [with the foundation] is to provide funds for athletes who don't have the money to support themselves," she said, whether for a 16-year-old whose parents cannot afford to send them to swim meets, or a 30-year-old athlete who needs health insurance to attend the Olympics.

The foundation will help keep her brother's spirit alive, and his family plan to throw themselves into ensuring the foundation is a success. "He had a big spirit so it's hard, but we're trying," Ms Crippen.

That spirit had him decked out in head-to-toe Philadelphia Phillies gear when he ran the marathon in 2008, in honour of his local baseball team, which had won the World Series that year.

"Our big rivals a lot of the time [in baseball] are New York. Fran ran the whole race through New York in his Phillies T-shirt, shorts, everything, so of course he got a few boos," his sister recalled.

For her, it was just the sort of prank her brother would relish. "He was just a really fun person. You knew that if Fran was around you were going to have a good time," she said.

azacharias@thenational.ae

hkhalaf@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National