Egan Running Through Galway

July 11, 2024

Every person has a central point in their world, a place that feels like the heart of their existence. For Ian Egan, that centre is County Galway, and specifically for him, the beating heart of the county is Tuam. It was in Tuam that Ian's remarkable running journey began, way back in 1982.

In the bishop's field on the grounds of St. Jarlath's College, Ian participated in the Tuam Community Games, racing on a grass track. A silver medal in the U16 1500m set him on his path, a path filled with friends who ran, kicked football, and played hurling together.

The summer of 1983 marked the beginning of Ian's racing endeavours, starting with a fun run in aid of Sylane GAA. This was swiftly followed by a competitive 6-mile race from Kilbannon to Kilconly, and then the Tuam to Dunmore road race. Little did he know, years later, he would race and win the Garrafrauns to Dunmore race.

In those early days, transportation was scarce, and social media was non-existent. Word of mouth and being "part of the scene" were the best ways to find races. Ian's Tuam AC clubmates, people like PJ Kelly, Roger Rushe, James Connell, and Mickey Kelly, nurtured and encouraged young runners. They always ensured Ian and his peers had lifts to races, making them feel like an integral part of the Tuam team.

County championships in Ballybrit Racecourse were a significant highlight, and the annual trip to the Carraroe half-marathon remains a vivid memory. Ian set his personal best of 73:21 on a cold Christmas day in Carraroe. The mere mention of Carraroe brings to mind the wonderful road races that dotted the west of the county. The 4-miler in Lettermore, the Spiddal 6 miles, the Oughterard 10k, and the Moycullen 5k.

Ian's running adventures extended into Connemara, with memorable races like the Leenane to Maam Cross half-marathon, where he finished in second place, and victories in the Clonbur 10k and the challenging Clifden 10k on Sky Road. He also experienced the thrill of racing on Inis Oirr, securing third place in their 5k. The Renvyle to Letterfrack race taught him a valuable lesson when a young lad showed him the importance of never easing off.

Throughout his journey, Ian has competed in the beautiful village of Roundstone and participated in triathlons in Carna as part of a team. His involvement in relay teams extended to events in Barna, Gort, and Salthill.

The more Ian runs, the more he reflects on his journey through his beloved home county. Claregalway is renowned for its well-organised 10k, and Ballinasloe has a rich athletics heritage, boasting a 10k road race and a sports day on the grounds of Garbally College.

From Tuam to Connemara and everywhere in between, Ian has left his mark on the roads and fields of Galway, with the spirit of a true athlete and a proud son of Galway.

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