Over 300 on their marks at memorial race in County Limerick

OVER 300 took part in the Tom Walsh Memorial 10k run and five-mile walk, which was fittingly started by another famous Limerick athlete, Jim Hogan.

The late Mr Walsh, from Ballyvourneen, was known as the barefooted runner. He won over 200 races in Ireland, England and Scotland during his racing career spanning three decades.

Mr Hogan, from Croom, competed in two Olympics in the 1960s. He fired the pistol for the second Tom Walsh memorial event on Sunday.

Despite Munster playing and Manchester United Liverpool game a huge crowd lined up for the beginning of the race in Caherconlish.

“It is lovely to keep Tom’s memory alive.

“His niece, Maisie Williams, donated two of his cups to us and she was there with other members of his family,” said Tom Kennedy, chairman of the local community games committee, who organised the race.

Mrs Williams had plenty of choice as Mr Walsh won over 200 races in Ireland, England and Scotland during his racing career spanning three decades.

He won every type of race from the 100 yards dash to a nine mile All-Ireland cross country race. Mr Walsh passed away in 2000 aged 82.

Youngsters today will find is hard to believe that he never wore a pair of spiked shoes.

All ages took part on Sunday but they all wore trainers! Big crowds turned out to support the athletes on the roads of Caherconlish and Caherline.

Athletes passed a plaque to celebrate Mr Walsh’s life at Caherline Church and his ancestral home in Ballyvourneen.

First home was Sean Hehir from Limerick Athletic Club, the first female was Angela McCann.

“They beat last year’s time so they are now course record holders,” said Mr Kennedy.

This year organisers introduced new prize-winning categories.

The junior titles went to John Shanahan and Anne Marie Carroll. Cappamore running legend, Mike “Curly” Cunningham and Angela McCann won the over 40s.

Ben English and Anne Culhane claimed the over 50s while Richard Lenihan won the over 60s in the excellent time 44.32. Mr Kennedy wished to thank Fr Roy Donovan, local gardai, Jim Hogan, Ian Horgan and John Merrick, Bilboa and local athletic clubs for their support, chief marshall Mike Martin and the 40 stewards, Millennium Centre for their facilities, officials at the finish line, John Robinson, race director and community games committee members Margaret O’Reilly and Phyllis Heelan.

Now a fixture on the Limerick racing calendar Mr Kennedy hopes that the event will get bigger and continue to honour Tom Walsh’s memory.

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