IRISH running folk hero Catherina McKieran will be the star attraction when she launches a new Tullamore Harriers history book on Thursday, November 22 in the Tullamore Court Hotel at 8.00pm.
Cavan woman McKiernan will launch Tullamore Harriers; A History 1953-2018 while the president of Athletics Ireland, Georgina Drumm will also be in attendance.
It is expected that Harriers athletes and club stalwarts from every era will be in attendance and the club are hoping to make the event a massive social occasion – a club reunion of sorts. On Tuesday of this week, the club celebrated the 65th birthday of their foundation and the launch of the book will also be a celebration of this milestone.
The book is comprehensive with 340 pages of history, profiles and records. It is broken down into eight main chapters, charting the club's story from before its foundation on a decade by decade basis. There are also profiles on many of the great figures that have graced the tracks, fields and roads of Ireland and internationally over the years.
The club has produced an Olympian, Pauline Curley who ran in the marathon in the 2008 Beijing Games, a near Olympian in Shinrone man Gordon Kennedy, who went to Sydney in 2000 as a member of the 4 x 400m relay squad but was unlucky to be the odd man out when the four out of the five were selected, even though his times that year were the third best.
The front page features an early group picture from a 1954 training session in O'Connor Park where the club trained at that time. Fittingly it includes some of the club's founding members along with several other stalwarts. The front cover also includes pictures of the club's six national senior outdoor champions – Noel Gowran, Mick Neville, John O'Toole, Pauline Curley, Gordon Kennedy and Eoin Hannon. Curley and O'Toole ran in the World Cross Country Championships with Rhode man O'Toole captaining the team during a golden era for Irish athletics in the early 1980s while Curley won a team bronze medal alongside Catherina McKiernan and Sonia O'Sullivan in 1997.
Included on the back page is a big group picture of current members along with ones of Ann Marie Larkin (now McGlynn) and Cormac Troy, who won national senior indoor titles.
Each of the main chapters includes a time line of significant results and achievements from that decade – it is not a definitive list but includes many of the main results and stories from each era.
Continued on page 56.