62 years ago today the Dream Mile as put together by Billy Morton took place in Santry before a crowd of some 25,000. That crowd witnessed history as five men went sub 4 lead home in a new world record by Herb Elliott.
Elliott in his autobiography recalled:
“whizzed round the turn and could feel someone dogging me. It could have been Lincoln. It could have been Delany. I didn’t care. I felt I could hold whoever it was. And then there was the tape coming closer and closer. I was through with the shouts of 20,000 Irishmen ringing in my ears. I looked over at the timekeepers and they were bouncing up and down unable to restrain their excitement. One of them rushed over his face flushed ‘fantastic!’ ‘it’s just fantastic! your time is 3.54.5
I grinned at him in disbelief. But soon there was no doubt that it was true for the times were announced officially over the loudspeakers. Above the noise of the crowd the announcer told the world: ‘Elliott 1st, 3:54.5 a new world record”.
Ronnie Delany, 3rd on the night in 3:57.5 in his biography ‘Staying the Distance’ recalled that Santry night:
‘I had thought beforehand that Herb Elliott was vulnerable. He had just completed an incredible mile and a half double at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. I felt he might relax a little in Dublin. In learned in Sydney many years later from my friend Albie Thomas that every detail of the race had been pre-planned and that I had been up against team Australia on the night. I had trained to be able to run a sub 3 minute 58 second mile thinking this might be enough to win. The pace was frantic from the start and it took my best effort to merely hang on. I was never to prove a threat. I was sick as a parrot and disappointed after the race. And then Liam Browne the announcer said a new world record had been set. My spirits lifted when I heard my time. The disappointment of the crowd vanished when they realised that they had been privileged to witness the most extraordinary mile in the history of athletics’
So there you have it an historic day in the life of athletics and Clonliffe Harriers.