The Mysterious H.O'Neill and how he nearly won the 2013 Dublin City Marathon
Due to the fact that there was no live TV coverage of this year's Dublin City Marathon, many people chose to follow the proceedings online and tracked the various runners as they passed over various timing mats along the route.
In the build up to the race, there was plenty of speculation as to who the winner of the mens race might be, especially as there was no elite field from abroad this year. The media seemed to have it down as a contest between two rival camps....Sean Hehir who is coached by the 1980 winner Dick Hooper and Joe Sweeney who is coached by the 1982 winner Jerry Kiernan.
On the day, that's the way it turned out but for those following online, a certain unknown 'H.O'Neill' seemed to be giving the two boys a run for their money and was ahead for much of the race.
John Meade tells the full story below...
Dublin Marathon 2013 and The Mysterious Case of H.O’Neill?.....
Finally there’s an explanation for the mysterious case of the pace-defying tactics from one H. O’Neill during last Monday’s Dublin Marathon.
Many people watched the astounding progress of elite no. 32, H. O’Neill, on the online tracker, as he ghosted just ahead of Hehir and Sweeney through 10 km then half marathon, in what appeared online like a brave solo effort. Who is this fella? How can someone we haven’t heard of before be leading for so long? Is a huge upset on the cards here?
At the 20 Mile mark, the next point for online tracking, race no. 32, H. O’Neill had mysteriously vanished. Blown up? Pacing work completed? Enough done for the day?
In post race reports and race photos, there was not a sight nor mention of the astounding early efforts of H. O’Neill. Was history being written selectively by the running establishment, no space for the unknown dark horse!
Too many questions, something odd is happening here!
Race no. 32 is Henry O’Neill, from Tyrone, who was not running at all on the day. An injury a few weeks back put an end to his marathon prospects but he remained hopeful until the end. When he didn’t show at registration by Sunday evening, race organisers held onto his number, thinking he might arrive on Monday morning. Monday morning and still no sign. The bag with Henry’s number & timing chip ended up in the press bus and from there, merrily made its way around the course, a little bit ahead of the lead runners. No one on the bus realising the furore the little bag on the floor was unknowingly causing around the country, around the world. Not that the bag would ever have known!
So there ends the mysterious case of the fleet footed Phantom Runner of Dublin Marathon 2013. Mind where you leave your chips!