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Jerry Kiernan

About Jerry Kiernan

Jerry Kiernan was born in Listowel, County Kerry in 1953 and began running as a teenager. He soon demonstrated an uncommon endurance which set him apart from his peers and marked him out as an outstanding talent. Upon moving to Dublin in 1971 to train as a teacher, Jerry joined Clonliffe Harriers, a club to which he remained loyal for over almost 50 years.

Jerry had an outstanding athletics career and excelled at all distances, winning Irish titles from 1500m to the marathon and set an Irish record over 3000 metres in 1977. He is perhaps best known for his exploits as a road runner, where he was arguably the best 10 mile racer in the world in the 1980’s, won two Dublin marathons and competed at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he finished an outstanding ninth place in the men's marathon.

In all, Jerry ran six marathons in under 2hrs 14 mins - a time only 13 other Irish men have ever achieved - and won three of them, long before the advent of “super shoes” . In addition to his achievements on track and road, Jerry also shone over the softer ground, winning the national cross country title in 1984 and competing in seven world cross country championships, including an outstanding 26th place in Rome in 1982, finishing only 11 seconds behind the incomparable Miruts Yifter and leaving Olympic medalists Emiel Puttemans, John Treacy and Karel Lismont in his wake. Jerry coached multiple Olympians and international athletes including Ciara Mageean, John Travers, Mark Christie, Joe Sweeney and Kevin Dooney, all of whom won national titles while coached by him. In addition, however he also gave generously of his time and experience to athletes of all levels through his legendary JK Harriers training group which continues to meet regularly in the UCD campus.

He was a regular part of RTÉ's athletics television coverage and was well known to the Irish public for his honest and insightful punditry, ferocious honesty, witty turn of phrase and utter dedication to the sport of athletics. Jerry was a much loved teacher at St Brigid's Primary Boys School in Blackrock for over 35 years.

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