Track & Field

Sixth in a ten-part series: Jim McNamara has 18 national masters records, but which one is most impressive?

If you were or are a fan or a participant in Irish athletics in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or any of the 2000 decades, you are familiar with the running exploits of Donore Harriers icon Jim McNamara.

When Ron Delany won his Olympic gold in 1956, McNamara was 17 years old and no doubt must have dreamed about taking part in the Olympics.

Twenty years later, McNamara was 37 years of age and approaching a masters career when he ran in the Montreal Olympics — his first and only Olympiad. McNamara was 39th in that race — the first Irish finisher ahead of teammates Danny McDaid (42nd) and Neil Cusack (55th).

Jim McNamara

Once McNamara turned 40, he started to amass Irish masters records at a prolific rate that is unlikely to ever be eclipsed.

According to IMAA records, the Donore stalwart has a staggering 18 marks over a 35-year period (1982 through 2014 … and counting), combining outdoor track and road race records. Surprisingly, McNamara does not currently hold any world records.

Here is the list the 76-year old holds and how each record would have ranked in the world in 2014:

Jim McNamara National Masters Records
AGE GROUP DISTANCE RECORD WHEN WORLD RANK IN 2014
M45 1500 3.59.90 27/05/1984 1
M50 1500 4.09.00 July 1989 1
M75 1500 5.57.85 15/05/2014 5
M40 5000 14.38.20 02/06/1982 1
M45 5000 14:48.40 12/08/1984 1
M50 5000 15:15.30 12/07/1989 1
M75 5000 21.44.02 10/08/2014 2
M45 10,000 31.22.30 27/08/1984 1
M50 10,000 31.50.40 May, 1989 1
M55 10,000 34.47.00 May, 1997 1
Road      
M70 5K 20:37 14/03/2010
M75 5K 20:35 13/07/2011
M50 10K 31:45 Jul. 1989
M70 10K 42:49 10/04/2011
M75 10k 44:09 17/08/2014
M45 13.1M 1hr 08.01 1984
M60 13.1M 1hr 19.39 01/04/2000
M70 13.1M 1hr 32.26 03/09/2011

THE BIG QUESTION: Which record is most impressive?

For me, the M50 5000 track time of 15:15.30 is the best of McNamara’s haul — although all his marks obviously age grade in the 90-plus percentile range.

Image via PhotoRun
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