The Irish “Big Four” after running a world record four by one mile relay in August, 1985. Pictured (l-r) Frank O’Mara, Marcus O’Sullivan, Ray Flynn and Eamonn Coghlan.
By Ray O’Hanlon
Age was no barrier. The four Irish middle distance runners who, to this day, hold the four by one mile world relay record, in recent days completed a relay marathon while running in four different locations, one in Europe and three in the United States.
Frank O’Mara, Ray Flynn, Marcus O’Sullivan and Eamonn Coghlan completed the Columbia and New York Presbyterian Virtual Marathon Team Relay in a combined time of three hours, twenty-seven minutes and sixty five seconds.
The four runners, separated by roughly a decade in age from O’Sullivan the youngest to Coghlan the senior member, covered different assigned distances. While Coghlan ran in Spiain, Flynn ran in Tennessee, O’Mara in Arkansas and O’Sullivan in Pennsylvania.
Relay teams were allowed up to eight runners but there was no adding or taking away from the Irish foursome, their combination now stretching back 35 years to that magical day in Belfield, Dublin, August 17, 1985, when they set the World Record for the 4×1 mile with a 15:49.08.
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The recent October 15 marathon run was presented by New York Road Runners and the Armory Foundation.
The Irish foursome was drawn together in the charitable cause by the famed Armory in New York City, The Armory Foundation, and the NYRR Millrose Games.
All four competed in the Millrose Games’ signature event, the Wanamaker Mile, with Eamonn Coghlan winning seven times (1977, ’79, ’80, ’81, ’83, ’85 and ’87) and Marcus winning five times (1986, ’88, ’89, 90 and ’92).
Check out this video for message from the four, in order: Flynn, Coghlan, O’Sullivan, O’Mara.