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John McNiff's memories of the 1982 Cork City Marathon

Tying in nicely with Tom Corkery's 30-year challenge, here's a good Account of 1982 Cork City Marathon - the very first Cork City Marathon - by the inimitable Frank Greally.

The copy was sent in to us by John A. McNiff, an American visitor to Cork in 1982 who finished 5th that year. John tells his own account here:

Jerry Kiernan"I had met a schoolteacher from Castlemartyr in New York when she was on holidays. Her name was Marion Wade, and she is mentioned in Frank Greally’s article. I made a visit there to see her and decided to do the marathon while I was over as I had run the NY and Boston marathons.

The race started out of town on a hill and since no one else went out very quick I took the lead for the first mile or so. The others caught and passed me then and I settled in to 5th place. I had a ‘USA’ singlet made for the race and got a lot of support along the way and the kids yelling ‘USA’ and pointing; some ‘international flavor’!

At one point a young man on a bike decided to escort me and kept asking me questions. It was a little hard to keep up a conversation at 5:30 per mile pace. At one point he was behind me and actually hit the bottom of my trail foot with the front tire of his bike nearly knocking me down. I gave him a dirty look and he exited the scene! I ended up fifth in 2:26.18. I was given a nice sports watch as a prize and even though I went on to run a total of 22 full marathons (12 NY; 4 Boston; 2 Cork; 2 Belfast and 2 Dublin) that ended up being my best time.

I moved to Dublin that summer and while Marion and I didn’t work out I enjoyed living there and stayed for 3 ½ years. I ran Cork again two years after my first as part of the Clonliffe Harriers. It was the Irish National Championships and we took 3rd as a team so I may be one of only a few US citizens to have an Irish National Medal! That was a very fast race – Clonliffe teammate and Olympian Jerry Kiernan won in 2:14; just 9 seconds ahead of Dick Hooper. I believe we would have placed higher but Kiernan was disqualified for having too large advertising on his singlet!! I didn’t run as fast that year – 2:39 – too many hours working for Dunnes Stores I guess!!"

John returned to New York in 1985, but we're delighted that he keeps in touch with us and hope to welcome him back some day!

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