A new scheme for road running in Britain – which includes some of the world’s biggest sports events, such as the London Marathon – is to be administered by an Irish race walker based in Dublin, it emerged today.
Pierce O’Callaghan let it be known six months ago that he would quit his current job as press officer for the Lausanne-based European Athletics Association in order to return to his native Ireland. Today a former employer, Geoff Wightman, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, revealed that through the management group of RunBritain.com, he had re-hired the 32-year-old Irishman as the road running scheme’s business manager.
RunBritain.com is a website set up by UK Athletics with the aim of offering Britain’s 2,000-odd road race organisers resources on medical, police, safety and other common organisational issues. Other prominen t sports figures involved in the project include Dave Bedford, race director of the London Marathon, Max Coleby, founder of the Great North Run, Hugh Brasher, son of Chris Brasher who now runs a chain of running shops, and national distance coach Alan Storey. The public area of the website is due to launch on January 1.
Wightman, the chairman of RunBritain.com, said: “Everybody who knows Pierce will understand that he will be bursting with ideas. These will enhance the supporting structure that we want to provide to road races, organisers and road runners. It’s a really great ground-breaking project which will enable us to make significant investment into road running for the long term and these initiatives will help safeguard the sport against challenges on medical, safety, police or other organisational grounds.”
The official announcement failed to disclose that O’Callaghan intends to work on the project from Dublin.
“My feelings on the job are quite clear,” O’Callaghan said in the press release. “RunBritain.com is open to ideas, open for business, and open to embrace the 2 million or so British runners currently pounding the streets on a regular basis.”
It is just that the scheme’s manager will not be one of those “pounding the streets” of the UK.
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