Ireland’s 1983 world 5000m champion Eamonn Coghlan has very generously donated two important historic athletics items from his illustrious running career to the World Athletics Heritage Collection.
Despite a distinguished record in outdoor track races at 1500m and 5000m, which as well as his 1983 world title included victory at the 1981 IAAF World Cup of Athletics and two fourth places at the Olympic Games, Eamonn Coghlan is best known for his exploits on indoor tracks.
A seven-time winner of the Wanamaker Mile at New York’s world-famous Millrose Games, Coghlan was nicknamed ‘The Chairman of the Boards’ thanks to the tight banked wooden boarded track in Madison Square Garden, which hosted those memorable victories. During his indoor career, Coghlan won the 1979 European 1500m gold and set three world indoor bests for the mile. The last of these, run on 27 February 1983 in the Meadowland Arena, East Rutherford, became the first officially ratified world indoor mile record (3:49.78).
Ahead of this weekend’s 113th Millrose Games on 8 February, Coghlan has presented the World Athletics Heritage Collection with one of the Wanamaker Mile trophies which he received to commemorate his victories in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1987.
Coghlan has also donated the light green spikes which he wore when setting the world indoor mile best (3:52.6) in San Diego on 17 February 1979, a spectacular performance which put Coghlan on the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
A sport which has given us all so much
“I was a guest at the Heritage Mile Night in Monaco in November which brought together so many record breakers and champions. All of us old friends. So many reminiscences to recall and share,” said Coghlan.
“It struck me then how important it was that we treasure and honour the past of athletics, a sport which has given us all so much. That’s why I’m really pleased to make this donation of one of my Wanamaker trophies and my record-breaking spikes to the World Athletics Heritage Collection. I hope when publicly displayed they help boost interest in running.”
Coghlan’s Wanamaker Mile trophy and spikes will be publicly exhibited at a World Athletics Indoor Athletics Display which will open ahead of the next edition of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, which have been postponed to 2021.
World Athletics Heritage Plaque to be unveiled at the Millrose Games
On 21 November 2019, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe announced that the Millrose Games, which began in 1908 and is the world’s oldest invitational indoor track and field meeting, had been awarded the World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
The unveiling ceremony for the plaque, which will include a video message from Coe, takes place on Saturday 8 February at this year’s edition of the Millrose Games which since 2012 has been located at The Armory, Fort Washington Avenue, New York.
Chris Turner for World Athletics