Knocknacurra race to honour local legends

October 3rd, 2016 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Flashback: Bill Nolan, far right, winning the International Ireland v Scotland Mile race in Croke Park in 1931.

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THREE legendary athletes will be honoured as part of the Knocknacurra Seven-Mile Road Race, which takes place on Sunday, October 9th.

Hosted by Kilmacsimon Swimming & Rowing Club, this event will pass the homes of Patsy O’Flynn and Bob Hales as well as coming within a kilometre of Bill Nolan’s homestead.

The race was instigated by John Lynch of Tullyland, a former member of Knocknacurra AC who became one of Bandon AC’s founding members in 1964. Last year saw the first running of the race, with the Perpetual Memorial Cup won by Brian Murphy of Kerry’s Iveragh AC.

Knocknacurra AC was formed in 1905 by Seán, Bob and Tom Hales (Seán was later to become a TD and a statue dedicated to him stands in Bandon).

Having fallen into decline in the 1930s, it was revived in the 1950s and lasted until the early 1960s, with Courceys AC effectively taking its place in the 1970s.

Patsy O’Flynn, a native of Kildarra, about three miles from Bandon, won the Irish Four-Mile Championship in May 1913 and later helped Ireland to win an international meet with Scotland before emigrating to the US in 1916.

Having been injured in World War I, he wouldn’t fully recover until 1920, but was selected for the US teams in both the 5,000m and 10,000 for the Olympics in Antwerp. An administrative error saw him accidentally entered into the 3,000m Steeplechase, but he still won silver.

Bob Hales showed promise from a young age and was Irish mile champion in 1912. While he was entered for that year’s Olympics, he did not travel and in 1913 he briefly moved to the US, winning the Two-Mile Race at Celtic Park, New York in 9:38.06.

Also from Kildarra, Bill Nolan won the national 1,000m championship in 1931 and the same year he won the mile race in the Ireland v Scotland international at Croke Park.

As well as the top prize, the top three men, women, over-40s and over-50s will be honoured. Registration commences at 10.30am from Kilmacsimon Community Centre. Further details can be found on Kilmacsimon RC’s Facebook page.

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