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BLE National Marathon Letterkenny 1983 - Report and Results

Report & Results - BLE National Marathon Championships


Sunday August 28th 1983


ble national marathon letterkenny 1983 p64 early leaders copy

Early leaders, with Micheal Walsh (53)



 ble national marathon letterkenny 1983 p64a  ble national marathon 1983 irish runner vol 3 no 7 p65a

Marathon Report - Irish Runner October 1983, Vol 3, No 7, P64/65 


Download Marathon Report - Irish Runner October 1983, Vol 3, No 7, P64-65 - PDF File




Report and Pictures by BRIAN TANSEY

 1st 3 men ble national marathon letterkenny 1983
Left to right: Kieran O’Dwyer, 2nd.; D. McDaid, 1st. and Billy Gallagher, 3rd.

It was Friday, 26th August: the venue was Ardee and the time was 10p.m. The best quality 10k race of the year had been run some hours earlier, and Sean Callan had just finished presenting a range of prizes which must rank is the best in the country.

Athletes, stewards, officials and a few hangers on (like myself) were setting down for a quiet drink - and hopefully some lively conversation. The talk inevitably turned to the National Marathon, to be run two days later, “If McGlynn doesn’t win next Sunday - he’ll never win” was the opening shot. “It’s a hilly course - he won’t last the distance" came a reply - “It’s Billy Gallagher’s race - he’s won on that course three or four times already”.

“What about Danny McDaid?” enquired another “he was looking good in Westport last weekend and he’d love to win in front of the home supporters”.

Two days later, from the outset of a National Marathon Championship, which started half a mile outside Letterkenny Town, Danny McDaid made it clear that those “home supporters” were going to get a very good run for their money.

He led through 1 mile (5.23) from Mick Walsh (Leevale) and an unnumbered runner - subsequently identified as Patrick Hegarty (his name did not appear in the official programme, and it appears his intention was to run 10 miles with the leaders; an exercise I feel which should be discouraged in a National Championship).

This leading group of three remained unchanged over the next 3 miles, with the chasing group which included Billy Gallagher (Roscommon), Kieran O’Dwyer (Clonliffe), Mike Porter (U.S.A.), Jim McGlynn (Civil Service) and Tony Kearns (Letterkenny) some 50 metres adrift.

Between miles 4 (21:09 for leaders) and 5 (26:27) Porter made a strong bid and by mile 6 (31:45) he had joined the leading trio. The effort involved however seemed too much for the Californian, for by the 8 mile stage (42:18) he was again drifting off the pace as McGlynn made a sustained drive from a position 100m behind the leaders. Strangely he under took this task on an uphill stretch and while McDaid’s time for the 9th mile was 5:22, McGlynn ran closer to 5:05.
By mile 10 (53:14) the leading group consisted of three - McGlynn, McDaid and Walsh - with only the latter who was making most of the pace, showing any signs of tiredness. These three remained together through the halfway mark (69:22) where they had a lead of 1 minute over Porter who was a clear 4th ahead of Gallagher, O’Dwyer and Noel McCarron (Letterkenny).

By the 15 mile mark (79:30), it was evident that Walsh was under pressure and with McGlynn pushing the pace the Cork- man wilted and within the space of 200 metres he had dropped out of contention.

And now there were two . . . but not for long. By the 18 mile stage McDaid was fully in control and obviously deciding on a long run home, moving smoothly away from McGlynn on an uphill stretch. McGlynn now paid the price of the fast miles early on and faded out of contention rapidly and at 20 miles dropped out of the race entirely. Conversely McDaid seemed to get stronger as the race went on and he never once faltered over the closing stages. It is interesting to note that his last 10 miles (52:20) was almost a minute faster than his first 10 (53:14).

Meanwhile, down the field, other battles were being fought out. With McGlynn gone at 20, second place was held by Walsh who was at that point, one minute ahead of Gallagher and O’Dwyer with Porter tiring in 5th. place. O’Dwyer, winner of the Dublin County Marathon in a P.B. of 2:29:38 was having the race of his life. Between miles 21 and 22 he surged - passing the fading Walsh and opening a gap of some 150 metres on Gallagher. The latter narrowed this, passing Walsh in the process, to some 20 metres at the finish - but O'Dwyer had gambled and won. His time 2:22:44 was over 3 minutes behind McDaid’s 2:19:08, but a great 7 minutes improvement on his Dublin time.

Mike Porter came home in 5th place and cannot be too displeased with his running, bearing in mind that he had completed the marathon course a week earlier in Bolton. Tony Kearns, who never runs a bad marathon was 6th.

The womens section of the race was won by Theresa Kidd (Ballinascreen A.C.) in 2:52:11, from Marie Murphy (Dundrum), 2:55:42 and Nuala Logan (Limerick) 2:57:33. Lucy O’Donoghue (Leevale) was 4th in 3:02:10. All these times are highly creditable on this tough course and I reckon we will be hearing more from Theresa Kidd over the next few years.
And so, 13 years after he had won his first National Marathon Title, Danny McDaid had now captured his fourth championship victory. (Dick Hooper, who was in Letterkenny as a spectator, also holds 4 National Titles). Danny accepted the trophy graciously and seemed somewhat amazed, if not embarassed by the sustained standing ovation accorded him by athletes and supporters alike. He is truly a great athlete and he may even have a card or two up his sleeve for Dublin, yet.
With only one area of exception (mentioned below) the race was very well organised. Dressing rooms; numbers allocation, road markers, feeding stations and after race refreshments were all Al. Full marks here go to the organisers Letterkenny A.C. The problem which did arise was in the area of Traffic Control. In the early stages of the race as the leaders left Letterkenny Town they were almost hit by a car turning a corner, seemingly unaware that a race was on. Danny McDaid was seen to verbally rebuke the stewards at that point.

In the finish area traffic chaos reigned. McDaid was forced to stop 15 yards short of the finish line as the lead van was stopped by traffic. There were no gardai in evidence and the total ‘jam’ that occurred made the finish area most uncomfortable for motorists, spectators and runners alike. It seems a shame that 16 years after traffic problems of the inaugural BLE Marathon of 1967, that this problem should raise its head year after year in Championship events.
And that brings me to the question of the annual allocation of the “marathon” to a club. I feel that this idea is a mistake and suggest that BLE should pick a permanent (or at least semi-permanent) National Marathon Course which should have the following qualities.

1. It should be flat. This year’s marathon programme contained a message from Fr. O’Donnell - President of BLE, which included the following lines . . . “The fact that these championships have been designated as Olympic qualifying races by BLE enhances the importance of the event and it is an incentive to athletes to participate and seek qualifying times which are 2:14 for men and 2:35 for ladies”.

And yet the word was out weeks before this event took place that Letterkenny was a slow course and indeed the locals on the day were saying that anyone who broke 2:20 on the course would win. They were right!

2.    It should be held in a place which is easily accessible. This year 140 athletes finished the marathon compared with 351 last year. Only one national newspaper was prepresented. Surely this is a trend which must worry BLE and indeed the sponsor - on this occasion adidas.

3.    It should be in an area where trqffic can be controlled.

4.    Accommodation should be available locally.


Irish Times Report - Monday August 29th 1983

by Peter Byrne

irish times aug 29 1983 p4a   irish times aug 29 1983 p4b irish times aug 29 1983 p4c 
Peter Byrne's Irish Times Report - Monday August 29th 1983, P4


Athletics: National Marathon Championship
McDaid comes back to take marathon title


Danny McDaid's place among the outstanding Irish athletes of modern times was secured still further in his native Letterkenny yesterday when he crushed the opposition with an ease which, on occasion, bordered on disdain, to win the National Marathon Championship for the fourth time.

The white baseball cap, trademark of one of the most courageous of all lone distance runners, was tossed exultantly in the air as McDaid crossed the finish line in two hours. 19 minutes, 9 seconds, more than three minutes faster than the Dublin champion Kieran O'Dwyer in second place.

In doing so. he equalled Dick Hooper's achievement as the only four times winner of the title, causing the Dubliner, who watched yesterday's race from the footpath, to remark that he would have to nail the Donegal man down to claim the record outright.

O'Dwyer, still only at the apron of a career which promises much, ran like a stag to emerge from the chasing pack for the silver medal, but the day and the glory belonged almost exclusively to the man who celebrated his 42nd birthday a fortnight ago.

After possibly the most difficult year of his long career. McDaid had scaled the cliff-face once more and, as he walked across the plateau, the decision to quit international competition, made two years ago, was suddenly in question.

"After a win like this you suddenly feel young again and anything is possible” he enthused. "Back at the start of the year I thought it would be a bonus if I ever got to the line for today's race. To have won it is like a dream come true”.

In between, he has surmounted a terrible trail of injuries and when he ran in Westport last week, finishing fifth to Gerry Kiernan. It was his first competitive race in ten months.

But the man who delivers the post in Letterkenny never betrayed the effects of that long lay-off as he padded his way along familiar terrain to have the championship in safe keeping, long before he re-entered the town to accept the applause of his people.

The time was not overtly ambitious — the character of the occasion was based almost exclusively on the tactical struggle out front. After only five miles "The race had narrowed down to just nine men with MeDaid. Michael Walsh and the local man, Patrick Hegarty in the leading group, followed at an interval of twenty yards by Billy Gallagher’. O'Dwyer, Tony Kearns, Jim MeGlynn and the American Mike Porter.

At the nine mile mark. McGlynn thriving in the rising tempo, had worked his way back to the leaders and at the halfway mark, reached in 69 minutes, 22 seconds, the title was down to McDaid, McGlynn and Walsh.

McGlynn attempted to detach himself with a short spurt at 16 miles, but, while Walsh began to suffer, McDaid covered it with calm authority.

Then, on a steep incline approaching the 18 mile mark, McDaid made the decisive break and, in a matter of strides, MeGlynn was broken. It followed the pattern of last year’s race, in which McGlynn led at twenty milesc only to slip back through the field and, on this occasion, his torment was shared by Walsh.

Whatever slim chance they may have had disappeared at twenty miles, when MeDaid threw in a five minute mile, and suddenly the gap widened to 200 metres.

McDaid's long rhythmic strides began to falter for the first time after 23 miles, but, at that stage, he had already acquired the momentum which kept him going to the line.

Billy Gallagher, always with the leading group, was a meritorious third, while considerable merit also attached to the performances of Porter, Tony Kearns and the two Ulster runners, Gerry O’Neill and Tom Hughes.

Theresa Kidd, deriving maximum benefit from the astute coaching of Dick Edwards, made it a double success for Ulster, by taking the medal for the leading woman finisher in two hours, 52 minutes, 11 seconds.

Marie Murphy, a student atl Ricks College, Idaho. held a 15 yards advantage over Miss Kidd at the turn, but the Derry girl proved the stronger in the closing stages, when she opened up it decisive lead over Miss Murphy, with Nuala Logan (Limerick) some way further hack.


ble national marathon 1983 micheal walsh lucy o donoghue
Micheal Walsh (Leevale AC)

Lucy O'Donoghue (Leevale AC)


Leevale Duo Lucy O'Donoghue and Micheal Walsh made the long journey from Cork but both finished in fourth place, just outside the medals, with Lucy in 52nd place overall, in a time of 03:02:10, while Micheal finishing in 2:23:00, just 9 secs behind Billy Gallagher.


Results of BLE National Marathon - Letterkenny, Sunday August 28th 1983


1 Danny McDaid M Letterkenny AC. 02:19:08
2 Kieran O'Dwyer M Clonliffe AC 02:22:44
3 Billy Gallagher M Roscommon H. 02:22:51
4 Micheal Walsh M Leevale AC 02:23:00
5 Mike Porter M California, U.S.A. 02:24:00
6 Tony Kearns M Kettering Town 02:26:39
7 G. O'Neill M Apollo AC 02:29:52
8 T. Hughes M Ballinascreen 02:33:50
9 P Dolan M Clydesdale 02:34:07
10 Patsy Doherty M Letterkenny AC 02:34:28
11 Willie McCracken M40 Newry Shamrocks AC 02:35:04
12 Michael9 Crampsie M Letterkenny AC 02:35:06
13 R. Kinsella M Crusaders A.C 02:35:30
14 George Williamson M40 Sparta AC 02:35:45
15 P. Byrne M Clonliffe AC 02:37:07
16 T. O'Loughlin M Clonmel AC 02:38:03
17 E. McGrath M Ballybrack 02:38:50
18 P. Brady M Clonmel AC 02:39:19
19 P. Higgins M Ballinascreen AC 02:40:03
20 G. Graham M North Down 02:41:28
21 B. Brannigan M Newry Shamrocks AC 02:41:30
22 P. Duffy M Beechmount H.. 02:42:58
23 M. Doherty M Beechmount H. 02:43:16
24 M. McGuire M Beechmount H. 02:43:48
25 P. Gowan M Templemore Dublin 02:44:52
26 J. Hines M Finn Valley 02:47:44
27 M.J. Smyth M Cavan AC 02:47:47
28 L. Nolan M Deise AC 02:47:59
29 M. McGuigan M Ballinascreen AC 02:49:10
30 M. Lane M Mullingar H. 02:50:06
31 Noel McCarron M Letterkenny AC 02:50:22
32 P. O'Neill M unattached 02:51:23
33 T. Mason M Beechmount H. 02:51:31
34 Teresa Kidd F Ballinascreen AC 02:52:11
35 T. Maguire M Civil Service 02:52:44
36 M. McCabe M Mullingar H. 02:54:07
37 D. Kelly M Glaslough 02:55:01
38 Marie Murphy F Dundrum 02:55:42
39 G. Stacy M unattached 02:55:49
40 A. Strain M Donore H. 02:55:49
41 B. McConville M Unattached 02:56:04
42 L. Goulding M40 Bray Striders 02:56:09
43 J. Ferry M Unattached 02:56:17
44 Nuala Logan F Limerick AC 02:57:33
45 R. Lewis M Cavan AC 02:58:26
46 I. Adams M Apollo AC 03:00:06
47 M. Molloy M unattached 03:00:18
48 J. Dawson M North Down 03:01:05
49 H. Daly M Letterkenny AC 03:01:14
50 W. Doherty M Sparta AC 03:01:48
51 S. Murphy M Leevale AC 03:01:49
52 Lucy O'Donoghue F Leevale AC 03:02:10
53 T. Mannion M Crusaders 03:02:29
54 M. McFadden M Clonliffe 03:02:41
55 C. Creagh M Mullingar H. 03:03:02
56 T. Morgan M Mullingar H. 03:05:35
57 P.J. Leddy M North Leitrim 03:06:24
58 M.J. Kavanagh M unattached 03:06:49
59 S. Keans M Crusaders 03:06:55
60 B. Patton M Finn Valley 03:07:14
61 E. Devenney M Finn Valley 03:07:14
62 C. Gallagher M Roscommon H. 03:07:40
63 B. Worrall M D.C.H. 03:08:16
64 L. O'Donnell M unattached 03:08:46
65 H. Stewart M Letterkenny AC 03:08:51
66 T. O'Toole M Blackrock 03:09:10
67 P. Rushe M Cooks town 03:11:01
68 B. Gallagher M unattached 03:11:17
69 R. Owens M Blackrock 03:11:30
70 P.J. McGinley M Letterkenny 03:11:38
71 S. Wallace M Letterkenny AC 03:11:56
72 J. Crowe M Clonmel AC 03:12:23
73 P. McGee M Beechmount AC 03:12:25
74 Mary Hickey F unattached 03:13:38
75 J. Gibson M unattached 03:13:39
76 P. Panama M D.C.H. 03:13:44
77 S. McGuigan M Ballinascreen 03:14:02
78 D. Dunne M Derry 03:14:05
79 W. O'Connell M Clonmel AC 03:14:10
80 M. Guilfoyle M Crusaders AC 03:14:33
81 T. Guest M Blackrock 03:15:31
82 P. Craddock F Blackrock AC 03:15:54
83 W. Morrisson M North Cork 03:16:14
84 B. McCoy M unattached 03:16:41
85 D. Doyle M North Cork 03:17:28
86 S. McCracken M Newry Shamrocks AC 03:17:40
87 G. Coyle M Beechmount H. 03:18:49
88 I. Maguire M unattached 03:20:23
89 S. Gallagher M Roscrea H. 03:20:49
90 S. Scullion M Ballinacreen H. 03:20:55
91 D. Coughlin M Sth. Donegal H. 03:20:56
92 S. McGovern M unattached 03:21:57
93 E. O'Sullivan M Crusaders AC 03:21:58
94 D. Nugent F Galway City H. 03:21:59
95 M. Wright M West Limerick AC 03:22:33
96 Michael O'Connell M Cork 03:24:41
97 D. Reid M Finn Valley AC 03:24:41
98 N. Casserly M unattached 03:26:04
99 M. Gallagher M Stranorlar 03:27:29
100 F. Irwin M Finn Valley AC 03:27:30
101 D. McShane M unattached 03:28:59
102 J. Doherty M Letterkenny AC 03:29:26
103 P. Breen M Ballinascreen AC 03:29:40
104 J. Cruikshank M unattached 03:29:44
105 M. Commiskey M unattached 03:30:37
106 N. Moan M Newry Shamrocks AC 03:31:05
107 J. Devlin M Letterkenny 03:31:12
108 J. Scott M Lisburn 03:32:44
109 P.J. Lennon M Conigan AC 03:32:44
110 J. McGlinchey M Finn Valley AC 03:33:31
111 E. O'Keeffe M Clonliffe H. 03:33:39
112 R. Fraser M Co. Antrim 03:36:55
113 K. Kiely M Letterkenny 03:38:17
114 P. Coyle M unattached 03:40:51
115 D. Hedderman M unattached 03:41:43
116 T. McGee M Newtown 03:42:51
117 W. Stewart M Limavady 03:43:38
118 P. Dolan M unattached 03:45:22
119 W. Bell M unattached 03:45:34
120 P. Keogh M Clonmel AC 03:47:34
121 M. Gibbons M unattached 03:47:34
122 J. Murdoch M unattached 03:48:56
123 A. Gersh M Highgate H. 03:49:38
124 T. Cleary M Ballinascreen AC 03:56:34
125 B. McGuigan M unattached 03:57:35
126 E. Drum M Lifford AC 03:57:35
127 E. Nugent F Galway City H. 04:01:29
128 M. Copeland M unattached 04:02:12
129 D. Curley M Sth. Donegal H. 04:09:51
130 M. Doyle M unattached 04:15:26
131 L. Martin M Drogheda 04:15:40
132 S. McMenamin M Newtown 04:15:47
133 M. Buckley M Limerick 04:15:48
134 J. Foley M Finn Valley AC 04:15:48
135 Mgt. McCormack F Letterkenny AC 04:22:41
136 D. Corcoran M Galway 04:27:39
137 P. Towey M unattached 04:28:11
138 F. Coll M unattached 04:39:39
139 D. McDermott M unattached 04:39:39
140 A. Motel M unattached 04:43:00




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