Eamonn Coghlan - Ireland - Indoor records & 1983 World 5000m Champion

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 14 August 1983

Click on image to enlarge

      Friday, 21 November 1952
      Dublin, R. Ireland.
  • Ireland
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Eamonn COGHLAN - Ireland - Indoor records & 1983 World 5000m Champion



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.


He knew 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 

Personal best times Indoors.


1500m         3:35.6         San Diego, CA     20 FEB 1981
One Mile      3:49.78         East Rutherford, NJ     27 FEB 1983
2000m         4:54.07         Inglewood, CA     21 FEB 1987