Former Irish Boston Marathon winner would consider running again in memory of those killed

Neil Cusack won the world famous sporting event in 1974

Boston police stand near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Boston police stand near the scene of a twin bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Wed, Apr 17, 2013, 06:42

The only Irish person to have ever won the Boston Marathon almost 40 years ago said he would consider running the event again in memory of those killed in yesterday's atrocity.

Limerick man Neil Cusack won the world famous sporting event in 1974 and will be among the VIP guests in Boston next year to mark the 40th anniversary of his win.

Speaking on Limerick's Live 95FM radio station this morning the retired athlete said he was horrified when he learned about what happened in Boston but insisted an act of terrorism would not put an end to the oldest annual marathon in the world.

"I would make a position that next year's event is going to be unbelievable and I am glad I am going to be back there because they will want to show a total good feeling about the event and the Amercans will be behind it a thousand per cent," he said.

When asked if he would consider running the Boston Marathon again in memory of those killed the 61-year-old replied:

"I'll tell you one thing I thought of it this morning. I have 12 months to get ready and I nearly would just run it as a sort of a gesture. I think it would be an idea for other champions to do as well maybe. Imagine ten or twelve of us running together and just getting through it together ... a nice gesture."

Cusack, who won the Dublin Marathon in 1981, said winning the Boston Marathon gave him world exposure and opened up a lot of avenues for him during his sporting career.

He watched the horror of what unfolded yesterday at home on television and said his phone "was on the go all night" with people ringing him up to see what had happened.

"I was looking at the blue seating at the finish line, thats where the VIPs sit and if that bomb had gone off there about an hour earlier you could have seen about a couple of hundred people killed. I am going over next year it's 40 years since I won it, and that's where I will be sitting," he said.

He said the positioning of the bombs at the finish line where lots of live TV cameras and photographers were positioned gather guaranteed maximum exposure for those responsible.

"Whoever did that set it up to maximise the exposure for themselves... I don't think anybody has claimed the carnage yet, but it was an awful thing to happen."

"The problem now is you have London (marathon) on this coming weekend and you're going to have people wondering about all sorts of things and there's only so much you can do," he said.

Recalling the day he won the Boston Marathon, Cusack who represented Ireland in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, said:

"I remember rounding Hill Corner to Boylston Street and it's about three quarters of a run to the finish and you're literally on your last legs. I remember I could just about raise my hands above my shoulders delighted to see the finish and I hadn't realised how big the event was until I won it. I was getting calls from all over the world.”

The Limerick man who attended East Tennessee State University and was recognised quite recently as one of an elite group who of Limerick Olympians, described winning the Boston Marathon as the high point of his athletic career.

"It has to have been. It gave me world exposure and opened up an awful lot of avenues and got me invitations everywhere and it's funny wherever I go I am sort of introduced as this is the guy who won the Boston marathon," he recalled.