40 years and counting for St Patrick's Day 10k run
IT began as just 'an idea'. Forty years later, the St. Patrick's Day 10k road race in Tubbercurry is preparing for special anniversary celebrations.
When Annie Killoran and Luke Kilcoyne discussed the possibility of reviving athletics in South Sligo little did they know they were sewing the seeds of what was to become one of the major attractions on the local sporting calendar.
With the help of the late Paddy McCarrick, Dr. Sean Flannery, Sean Cahill, Colm Mullarkey, Ted Ross, and T.J. Surlis the plan was to revive an athletic club and to have a yearly road race.
Ironically, the initial proposal was to stage a 'round the houses' event at Christmas, but this was subsequently cancelled due to snow.
Annie Killoran said: "We then decided to have the race on St. Patrick's Day and it has been going ever since. We're very proud that we have reached forty years."
Numbers have grown steadily over the past four decades.
Given the significance of the occasion and the fact that some former runners will be invited back as part of The Gathering 2013, more than 300 are expected to take part on March 17th.
Luke Kilcoyne said: "It's great to have got this far.
"The main reason we began the event in 1973 was to revive the longstanding tradition for athletics that had always been in Tubbercurry."
This year's race will be formally launched in the coming weeks.
Some 40th anniversary awards will be presented-one of them to Billy Gallagher from Brusna, Ballaghaderreen, who has taken part in every event and is a previous winner. Former Olympian and another previous winner, Danny McDaid, may also visit Tubbercurry on the day.
One of the organising committee, Gearoid Surlis, expects runners from Mayo, South Donegal, South Roscommon, Galway, Mayo and Sligo to enter.
The race will start at 12.30pm from Teeling Street, complete one lap of the town, move out the Moylough Road before returning via the Ballymote road.
There will be prizes in a range of categories.
Gearoid said: "Preparations are going well and we are all looking forward to a special event for Tubbercurry."