The Griffith Avenue Mile fine tunes memories that in truth, have never gone away. I seldom travel the Avenue without thinking of the Dublin Straight Mile of 1983.
The lead-up to the race, the Saturday after Dublin Marathon Monday, was tremendous. The marathon came by the seafront in Clontarf and by Fairview back then. The Avenue was resplendent. The autumn leaves added wonderful colour. High angle TV shots were not common then, but a crane was used on the day. The avenue looked idyllic.
While the names of the runners may not mean much to the athletes of today, they represented the very best milers in the World at the time. Ray Flynn is still the Irish mile record holder. Eamonn Coghlan is still the oldest man to ever run a sub-4 mile and is the second fastest indoor miler of all time. Sydney Maree, Dr. Thomas Wessinghage, Graham Williamson and Jose Abascal were the bees knees and the cat’s meow of their time.
Back then, I had ran the marathon on the Monday. On the day I took off in the Dublin Straight Mile like a scalded cat. I wanted to finish and struggled to get to the end after such a mad start. However I was never going to drop out on the Avenue, which I loved to run every day. It was a marvellous day. The Avenue was 5 or 6 deep with people in spots.
It’s great that the event is being remembered and relaunched. I wish all associated with the project the very best of luck. Bring back the colour. Bring back the magic. Alleluia.
Miles to Run and Promises to Keep