Kathryn Walls running London marathon in memory of sister Eithne Walls while playing ukulele

Belfast lawyer Kathryn Walls hopes to prove Uke can do it when it comes to running a marathon.

She’ll be playing her trusty ukulele the whole way round the famed London course later this month.

She’s running in memory of her sister Eithne Walls one of three Irish doctors who died in the fated Air France crash in Brazil, 15 years ago.

Running a marathon’s hard enough but singing AND playing a musical instrument at the same time? Well, that’s just plucky.

But why pick a Ukulele?

“It’s easier than playing a violin” Kathryn laughed. She’s a classically trained violinist but loves playing a Ukulele for fun.

She’s upbeat about the challenge of playing it for the duration of the marathon. Behind it though, there’s a serious side.

She’s doing it in memory of her sister Eithne who died in the Air France tragedy in 2009.

28-year-old Eithne Walls from Ballygowan was on board with two of her friends, Jane Deasy (27) from Rathgar, and Aisling Butler (26) from Roscrea, Co Tipperary. Eithne was training to be a surgeon at the Eye Hospital in the City.

The three pals had been on a break in Brazil and enroute to Paris when the Air France flight crashed into the sea.

Running struck a chord with Kathryn following her sister’s tragic death at the age of 28.

"She was training to be an eye surgeon at the Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin," Kathryn said.

"She just brought joy to everyone she met and we miss her every single day.

"I've discovered not only the physical and mental benefits of running, but the running community and athletics community, it's so supportive and so, so many people start running following a tragedy or they want to give back to the community.

"We've set up a fund in her name at her hospital and that fund allows her to keep making a difference in the lives of other people which is all she ever wanted."

Spare a thought for Kathryn’s running mate – her Uncle Tony McGourty from Belcoo.

He’s taking part in memory of his sister Mary Walls, Kathryn’s mum, who was diagnosed with a form of Dementia after losing Eithne.

Aged 72, Tony will have to put up with his musical niece as he tackles his 25th marathon.

“That won’t be a problem as long as Kathryn doesn’t want me to sing. They’d have to stop the race” he laughed.

On track to raise vital funds for the Dublin Eye Hospital and Dementia NI, all that’s left now for the duo, is to fine -tune their performance.

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