Fifty years ago (Saturday the 10th of September 1960) one of the most famous Olympic Marathon’s of all times took place. In Rome in 1960 Abebe Bikila wrote himself into the history books by winning the race barefoot. In that race were three Irishmen Bertie Messitt, Gerry McIntyre and Willie Dunne who had mixed fortunes. Bertie unfortunately was withdrawn from the event by, perhaps overzealous, officials as he struggled home towards the end of the race. Willie Dunne had a better time of it but did struggle himself in the concluding miles having run with the leaders in the early miles. Gerry McIntyre had the best race of the three was the first man on the Irish team home in a creditable 22nd place.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to talk with two of the three Irish team members over the last few years (Bertie and Willie) and both were incredible men with a deep and uncomplicated love of running. Both men worked incredibly hard to make the Irish team for that race and deserve great credit for their performances on the biggest athletic stage of all.
Happy anniversary boys.