Such was Eamonn Coghlan's dominance on the indoor running circuit in the
USA, where he had been a student, that he was known by everyone as
"Chairman of the Boards". Between 1974 and 1987 he won 52 of his 70
races over 1500m. and 1 mile. Twice in 1979 he set world records for the
1 mile indoors (3min. 55sec. and 3min. 52.6sec.) and in 1981 lowered it
again to 3min. 50.6sec. as well as setting a World Indoor 1500m. record
of 3min. 35.6sec. Alas, his great talent on the boards was not quite
reproduced out of doors.
Fourth at the 1976 Montreal Games was the
closest he got to an Olympic medal and second at the 1978 Prague
Championships was his best European finish but once he moved up to the
5000m. he became a World champion. Having won the 1981 World Cup over
5000m. he knew this was where his championship hopes could best be
realised and so it proved. 1982 was lost to a serious Achilles tendon
injury but returning to his beloved "Boards" in 1983 he became the first
man to run a sub 3min. 50sec. mile and set his sights on the inaugural
World Athletics Championships in Helsinki opting for the 5000m.
that the contestants in the 1500m. included Cram, Aouita, Ovett, Scott
and Walker and therefore the next distance was a better bet. His
decision proved sound and he was a comfortable winner (see photo above)
in 13min. 28.53sec. from Werner Schildhauer (13m 30.20sec.). Eamonn's
love of athletics was such that in 1994 he was still treading the
boards and in February, in Boston, USA, ran a mile in 3m 58.15sec. to
become the first man over 40 (he was 41) to break the 4-minute mile
barrier. Nearly 20 years earlier he had set a European record of 3min.
53.3sec. What consistency ! (George Herringshaw)
In May 2011, he was appointed as a Senator by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
He sat as an independent until 7th. February 2012, when he joined the Fine Gael party.
He ran as the Fine Gael candidate in the 2014 Dublin West by-election, but finished 5th.
Personal best times.
800m 1:47.78 26 JUN 1977
1500m 3:39.51 Montréal 31 JUL 1976
One Mile 3:51.59 Oslo 09 JUL 1983
5000m 13:19.13 Zürich 19 AUG 1981
10,000m 28:19.3 Philadelphia 24 APR 1986
Marathon 2:25:13 New York, 01 JAN 1991