Runners ready for Tubber 10k
This Friday's iconic St Patrick's Day race has a strong and proud history in South Sligo.
Next year will be the 45th year of the event, which was founded by Annie Killoran and Lukie Kilcoyne.
Athletics was alive and well in the sixties in South Sligo area but there was no club. Lukie himself was an accomplished athlete who was a member originally of Sligo AC who competed nationally. They were pipped at the post for a national title in the 4 x 100 metres relay. Lukie remembers it fondly stating they were beaten by UCD consisting of international runners. On the team with Lukie was Andy Kilfeather, Sligo (National Champion at the time), Eamonn Howley(Strandhill), Charlie McCormack(Sligo, originally Dublin) and Jim Pilkington(Sligo).
Tubbercury Athletic Club was formed in the Winter of 1973, in September of that year Lukie Kilcoyne, his wife Carmel and Annie Killoran came up with the idea of running a Road Race in Tubbercurry. The idea was hatched coming out of Croke Park. The idea came from the oldest and most prestigious biggest road race held in Brazil every New years eve "The Saint Silvester Road Race" in the city of Sao Paulo. First established in 1925 this race was known locally as " Around the Houses" and supported by thousands each year.
The idea was to run the 10k on St Stephen's Day around the houses in Tubbercurry and get the local people involved and to support the race. It was scheduled for St Stephen's Day but was called off due to snow and frost and was re-scheduled for St Patricks Day 1974.
The original race ran from Rathscanlon creamery through the town and up the Mountain road, it subsequently changed to around the town to incorporate the town and its people. With any event comes the organising and this is where Annie excelled. Both Lukie and Annie were adamant that good prizes would be given for the event and this ethos is still carried through to the present day. For good prizes money was needed and Annie came up with a brilliant idea. She bought a fridge from her own funds and raffled off tickets.
She reminisces about calling to Ballymote Garda Station and getting permission off the Sergeant to sell tickets for the raffle. Tickets were sold off over the few weeks and the draw was always held at the traditional Ceilí in Killorans bar and Restaurant on St Patrick's Night.
Similar to today there was always great support from the local businesses in sponsoring the race each year. Many people helped out in the beginning and over the years, Paddy McCarrick, Dr. Sean Flannery, Sean Cahill, Colm Mullarkey to name but a few. This has continued and even today over a hundred people come together to put on this magnificent event. Annie Killoran is no stranger to fundraising and providing for the local community. She reminds the writer about her own family and their accomplishments as young athletes.
She also remembers the late Frank McGee who passed away earlier this year, Frank was always available to help and in years gone by when there was no chip timing or computers, Frank had all the times. Not only that the results were always available for the athletes twenty minutes after the race.
South Sligo Athletic club are proud to carry the baton and ensure that the race remains a success. They acknowledge all the support from sponsors, stewards those who help with catering on the day but also all the athletes who turn up to support this event each year. The Race is at 12pm.