By Roy Dooney Australian running legend Albie Thomas returns this week to Morton Stadium, Santry
where he set two world records in July and August 1958
– Meeting with Ronnie Delany at the scene of his triumph exactly 50 years later
Albie Thomas, one of the legends of world distance running returns to Morton Stadium, Santry next Wednesday (9th July) evening at 8 pm when Clonliffe Harriers will host a special reception with Ronnie Delany to mark the 50th anniversary to the day when Thomas set a new world record (13:10.6) for three miles on the cinder track at Santry on 9th July 1958.

Albie Thomas will jog a ceremonial lap of the track at 8 pm in his 1958 singlet before joining Ronnie Delany and the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Michael O’Donovan, in the Clonliffe Harriers clubhouse at the Stadium to unveil a special series of photographs to mark the summer of 1958 and receive a presentation from the club.

After his world three mile record in July 1958, Thomas returned to the Stadium later that summer on 7th August 1958 and broke the world record for two miles (8:32). The previous night, Thomas finished in fifth place in the memorable world record mile race won by Herb Elliot (3:54.5) in which the first five finishers broke the four minute barrier, including Ronnie Delany who finished third in 3:57.5. Thomas acted as pacemaker for Elliot in that extraordinary race and still had the strength to finish in 3:58.6.

Albie Thomas was born in Sydney in February 1935 and is now a sprightly 73 years old. He competed in three Olympic Games for Australia (1956, 1960 and 1964) where his best place was fifth in the 5,000 metres at the Melbourne Games in 1956. At one stage he was the world record holder over 2 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles indoor and the 4 x 1 mile relay. He is President of his Sydney club, St George, jogs or walks every day and still competes occasionally. He also coaches young athletes in his club.

Later this month, the 50th anniversary of that remarkable summer of world records at Santry in 1958 will be commemorated by a new international athletics meeting at the stadium – the Brother Ireland Morton Memorial – which will take place on Friday 25th July and feature a full range of track and field events. The meeting will serve as a send-off for Ireland’s Olympic team, led by hammer thrower Eileen O’Keeffe who will compete on the night against the current world champion, Betty Heidler of Germany.

With the generous support of Brother Ireland and the Irish Sports Council, the unique evening’s programme will be a free event for spectators who can apply for tickets (required to gain entry) through the meeting website at www.mortonmemorial.com

Further details:
Garrett Coughlan, Meeting Director, 087 1313146, [email protected]
Roy Dooney,The Media Group, 087 2414165 / 01 2301815 / [email protected]