Final 5K of 2016 on 60th Anniversary of Ronnie Delany’s Olympic Gold

1956 Olympics 1,500 Meters Gold Medalist, Ronnie Delany doing a lap of the A Ríocht AC track on its official opening in 2000. With his is Niamh McSweeney from Currow and behind them are members of the Newcastle West Pipe Band. ©Photograph: John Reidy 11-6-2000
1956 Olympics 1,500 Meters Gold Medalist, Ronnie Delany doing a lap of An Ríocht AC track on its official opening in 2000. With him is Niamh McSweeney from Currow and behind them are members of the Newcastle West Pipe Band. ©Photograph: John Reidy 11-6-2000

A specially commissioned Christmas Tree shaped, event inscribed, souvenir medal will be presented to all participants and Christmas Hampers for the winners after this Sunday’s (December 4th) annual Run Rudolph Run 5k.

The off time is 11am and runners, joggers and walkers can register online at or on 066 71 42199 or at the desk at An Ríocht AC on the morning.

Medals for All

The club has been getting inquiries if walkers will get a medal if they complete the course. Anyone who registers and covers the course without the aid of a mechanically propelled vehicle will go home with a medal and the winners with Christmas hampers.

After a huge season of activity in the club, this is the final big race / run / jog / walk of the year in Castleisland and the seasonal medal has made it all the more desirable.

The Week That’s in It

One of Ireland’s greatest athletics heroes, Ronnie Delany won the 1500m gold medal in the Melbourne Olympics 60 years ago on Thursday of this week.

The relevance of that momentous occasion to a 5k at An Riocht AC in the morning is that Ronnie Delany was the official guest of honour on the day the track opened here in Castleisland in June 2000.

Ronnie Delany Gold at Melbourne Olympics

The following piece is from an Athletics Ireland release on another anniversary of that great event in 1956.

“Ronnie Delany was just 21 when he breasted the tape to win the Olympic 1500m gold medal in Melbourne on December 1, 1956, but he had already gained a maturity and confidence beyond his years.

Victory in that Olympic final was the realisation of a dream that was sown many years previously. The young Ronnie dabbled in many sports but he discovered his greatest talent was in athletics.

“I discovered that I had a great talent in my 18th year, when I broke two minutes for the half mile. I did this in a senior race and suddenly here I was, just a boy, beating men,” Delany recalls.

Villanova University beckoned and his athletics career took on a new dimension when Ronnie teamed up with the legendary coach, Jumbo Elliott. He had also received excellent coaching at Crusaders Athletic Club in Dublin where another coaching legend, the late Jack Sweeney was in residence.

But for Jumbo Elliott’s influence, Ronnie Delany might never have competed in the Olympic 1,500m as he had been essentially a half miler up to then.

“It was on Jumbo’s insistence that I ran a mile in Dublin in the summer of 1955,” he recalls. “I ran 4.05 on wet grass in College Park, and on returning to Villanova Jumbo began to groom me for the Olympic 1,500m.”

In Melbourne, Delany easily qualified for the 1500m final. The field was still bunched as they hit the bell and the final lap of the Olympic 1500m. A blanket could have covered the contenders at that point. Ronnie Delany was at the rear of the field but was not worried about his position. “My task was merely to stay in contact and to be very much in touch at the bell, “ he said. “I then planned to be a position to make the decisive break that would take me clear to the tape.”

With just 180 metres to run, Delany made his decisive move. His natural speed carried him clear to breast the tape in a new Olympic record of 3.41.2. When he crossed the finish line with arms outstretched.

In Melbourne in 1956, Ronnie Delany fulfilled his ultimate ambition. His Olympic victory remains one of the greatest of Irish sporting achievements.

Delany, whose brilliant athletics career included an unbroken string of 40 indoor victories and a several indoor world records, remains as unassuming but totally positive as he was on that famous day in 1956 under the Australian sky.

An Ríocht AC Draw Winners

The following are the winners of An Ríocht Member’s Draw for November and December: €100: Julia Murphy, Abbeyfeale; €50: Cathleen Reidy, Castleisland; €50: Tom and Sheila Kenny, Castleisland; €50: Marie Hickey, Knocknagoshel;  €1,000: John McCarthy, Currow; €100: Thomas and Therese Roche, Castleisland; €100: Maurice Enright, Firies;

€100: John and Mary Lenihan, Ballymacelligott.

Membership of our track makes an ideal Christmas gift. This can be bought for €60 and also entitles you to entry into our monthly draw.

First prize in June and December is €1000.00. Call into reception for more information and a membership form. The list of winners are posted beside the reception desk after each month’s draw.

See Jimmy Magee’s profile of Ronnie Delany’s Melbourne 1956 Gold Medal win with footage of the actual race here:

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