Happy Scribe Logo

Transcript

Proofread by 0 readers
Proofread
[00:00:00]

This is the documentary on one from E in Ireland, and today's documentary is Shane Healy Back on Track. It's 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning in June, runners from the Dublin Track Club have assembled in the Phoenix Park for their third group training session of the week.

[00:00:25]

They're all ranging from 18 upwards to around 30 as well. Their coach is Falen Kelly Shanteau. And it's probably one of the main goals here today. And Michelle and Chantelle Anthony are across and Michelle is in the Olympics. And there's a fair few good runners here trying to make their mark.

[00:00:42]

Some run as top international level. Others are striving to reach that goal. And there is an outlier, a 51 year old who tends to hang with the lead group. His name is Shane Healy. But Shane, it's always positive. It's always the next goal, isn't it? He's always pushing something. Yeah, it's a great day for pain. Oh, is that fair? Oh, yeah. He's much younger than his years and he's so enthusiastic.

[00:01:07]

He's so keen. It's just such a dry form, like it's an obsession and maybe borderline addiction, but it's definitely an obsession that Shane has with running and to still be doing with the intensity that he does, that he hasn't broken down as one thing physically and mentally. You know, it is quite, quite impressive.

[00:01:27]

Shane found running 30 years ago. It hasn't been a constant in his life, but he ran for Ireland at the Olympic Games. And in 2020, Shane and running seem inseparable.

[00:01:38]

He's a leader now in a group of teachers. I was a lot of things, just some minor details, always like hats, gloves, food after the whole lot we all know and Shane's back story as well. So you kind of when you have a day, you think like this, we're having a role for you think it's miserable outside and it just like she's been through a lot worse, we can get through this, you know. So I'm always learning.

[00:02:02]

And Shane is a charmer.

[00:02:05]

He grasps opportunity for his age. He runs middle distance races as fast as anyone alive. That doesn't happen by accident.

[00:02:14]

So we do a fake warm up. This is Shane and AFIK cool down after the session. So it's about 26 K session, so you're probably on your legs for nearly two hours. So he has a good deep strength training regime.

[00:02:27]

It's good for the mind, the soul and the body. There is much more to this story than being an international class athlete, his route into the sport was unconventional and so was his childhood. My mother was from England. She was born in Yorkshire and her parents were from Roscommon extraction. That's how my dad knew my mom from coming over in the summer holidays or whatever it. My parents got married in 59 in Tulsa, in Roscommon, and that year they had their first child er and she was born in 59 and she died of a heart that it wasn't the perfect start.

[00:03:15]

Brian came along in 62 is my eldest brother, Lorraine Cayman's 65. Leona Kaiman, 67, and I was born in 68. It was a hit miss with the relationship, like not all relationships are perfect, you know, they had the ups and downs.

[00:03:35]

I was four years old, and one night I was asleep in bed and my mother and I got into a big argument, my sister Lorraine woke up with the shouting. My mother was just about to leave the house and she grabbed Lorraine. Forty seven years ago, daddy decided it wasn't much work here back in the mid 70s, so he went to England and I was put into I think there was a sisters home in Donnybrook is the nuns. I was there for a little while.

[00:04:15]

Then I went in then to go to the orphanage. I always remember the long driveway down into golden vision. Every time I see white railings, long white, all railings, it always just reminds me of Golden Bridge, even to this day, like. There was a lot of nasty things that came out of Golden Bridge in the 60s, I guess, and the child abuse and stuff later, Shane counts himself lucky to have avoided the cruelest of times, that Golden Bridge.

[00:04:40]

But there was still intimidation.

[00:04:43]

There was a lot of kids there who were older than you like and you learn to stand or face out pretty quick, like a few bullies like to give you a few slaps or you fight your own corner. But yeah, Golden Beach was a it was a tough experience. Yeah. It was not an easy about it. I was taken out of them homes on and off for a couple of years, as I remember, because they were coming from England.

[00:05:05]

You get a lot of Lahtinen back to England and he was back and forth to England a couple of times. I don't blame him and I don't blame I don't blame anybody who was just the way that life panned out for me, you know? In time, Shane's father settled back in Dublin with a new partner, but Shane wasn't for settling three schools and a lot of mixing later. In 1982, he left the Irish education system. I must be wild, I just wasn't into school at 13, and then I helped Daddy out a little bit, trapping cars for panel beating.

[00:05:39]

Sometimes we run down a car on the canal, trapping the wing for paint and down. And and that's what I did for a year or two years. And then I was Dorson and then didn't know I want to do as a teenager. And I got a job in the headline bar in House Crosslands Corner, and I was working as an Apprentice bartender, and that was in 1986. And one night I was working the bar and this American couple came in, Ryan and Sherry Roberts, and they came up and ordered a drink.

[00:06:14]

I got talking to them, had a good conversation with them. And as they were leaving, they said, look, if you ever want to come to America, give us a shout.

[00:06:23]

Shane didn't need a second invitation. And the Fonz to make it happen, came at just the right time.

[00:06:29]

When I was 15, I was on a bicycle and I was cycling down to John Condra and didn't a woman break a light. And she just plowed me around me over and the bicycle got a good doing over like into a windscreen like it. And he ended up getting think it was 1500 pounds claim for the injuries that I had before I went.

[00:06:52]

I remember given the outfit I think I gave him 600 quid from because I didn't need all that money and I ended up flying out from Shannon out to Florida.

[00:07:01]

As he turned 18, Shane joined the thousands of young immigrants departing recession hit Ireland, ready for adventure and to live on his wits.

[00:07:08]

Ever since I was a kid, I love the Six Million Dollar Man and I love Charlie's Angels and Chips. California, I love that dream come true, you know, and there's no dole queues in Ireland at that time in the mid 80s, there's nothing happening in Ireland.

[00:07:26]

There's a depressed and I just I wanted adventure.

[00:07:30]

So I end up on the doorstep of Rhinoceri Roberts, staying with them for a few months, had a map of America.

[00:07:40]

I said, I want to hitchhike to California. I went to northern Florida, crossed through Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana. This guy dropped me off in the middle of nowhere in Texas. I think I was about maybe 300 miles from El Paso on the eytan. There's nothing there. And I could see over the horizon like these huge thunderclouds. And I said, oh, I want to get smashed because you see all the lightning and everything, you know, on this truck came along and he stopped to thank God.

[00:08:11]

He stopped and I hopped in. He says, Where are you going, man? I'm going to California. This is your lucky day because I'm going to San Diego. I said, San Diego sounds great for me. I said I was when you probably in his 20s driving a big rig, not a border on them, cause a twelve hundred mile journey from where he picked me up. I end up in San Diego, California. I had no money, I stayed in homeless shelters there and then I worked my way up to L.A., was in homeless shelters there, and just bumming around was tough times.

[00:08:44]

And I was like cheesily you'd meet some unscrupulous characters, like they could be alcoholics or drug users are just some of the ones so nice.

[00:08:53]

And some of them were very nice. Just hanging bombing out in the daytime with some fantastic chess players, and that's where I really learned how to play really good chess.

[00:09:04]

That was typical of Shane's wanderings, which over four years took him to Hawaii, back to California, where he managed to get a Social Security number briefly back to Ireland, then England, France, Spain, Gibraltar. The canary's where he got a job as a deckhand on a ship heading to the Caribbean, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Martinique, another boat to Canada and then back to California. Hitching, yes, running. No luxury lodging. Certainly not.

[00:09:33]

No news of his mother and sister either.

[00:09:35]

I kept in touch at home with long distance phone calls. Of course, there's no WhatsApp or emails back then. Yeah, but it was very where I kept the baby. We call home once every six months or once a year.

[00:09:47]

You know, before we go, we'll just give you the final instructions. Yeah. You should know who you're kind of pairing off at now, which group you're in.

[00:09:57]

So running wasn't part of Shane's life then that was coming and is still here today as he pursues the over 50s world records.

[00:10:09]

This is no stroll in the park.

[00:10:12]

He's gone remarkably well today because this is really where a struggle like the power element, like when you get older and like he's got great kind of an engine and fitness and pain tolerance, but basically the elasticity of your muscles and your power definitely begins to wear. You got a little bit older because you might crack at some point.

[00:10:34]

But Shane doesn't crack and completes nine grueling uphill sprints with the lead group.

[00:10:41]

After a short rest, it's another steady three K on his path to athletics began thirty years ago when he enrolled in a college in the San Francisco Bay Area.

[00:10:54]

This was in March of 1990. I bought a 1966 Volkswagen campus splitscreen and I ended up living in that. I enrolled in the Contra Costa Community College and I shout every day in the locker rooms and I got talking to the black sprinters of many black and Asian college.

[00:11:11]

And they introduced me to the coach. He said, Coach, that's the man that people are talking about on campus. And he goes, got them. And you look like Ayman Cocklin, Marcus O'Sullivan, Frank Omar. Those Irish boys are flying indoors because at that time they were record holders and world champions.

[00:11:30]

And I was going like, who are these guys? Who was he talking about? I don't know any of these guys when he was just a fallen to me, you know, and he goes, look skinny enough, man, you know, why don't you come out and run a mile like the great Aymond Coughlin? I said, You want me to run a mile for you?

[00:11:47]

I haven't got time to be running around in circles for you.

[00:11:49]

And he goes, I tell you what, I'll give you 50 dollars if you run out now and run a mile from me on the track. And I said, you're going to give me 50 dollars to run a mile.

[00:11:58]

I said, Okay, show me the 50 dollars. So he took out his wallet at fifty dollars and I snatched 1600 attractors. So I went out onto the track. Will be a tennis shoes and a pair of shorts I had is now run around our track as hard as we can.

[00:12:13]

And I ran, I just hung in there on the last lap whenever I felt in my legs and never felt before in my life, which was abundance of lactate and my lungs were just scream for it.

[00:12:25]

I had ran for 32 mile without any training and that's the truth. 432 a 432 mile with no training.

[00:12:33]

It's no surprise that the coach, Archie Owens, was taken aback. Shane was trim and not unfit, but for thirty points to exceptional natural ability.

[00:12:43]

A previously untapped talent was about to blossom and the coach got them. You can only tell you what if you want athletics for the college track and field for the season, I'll pay for your groceries every week after traveling the world for four or five years to know I wanted to do it my life.

[00:13:05]

I had found out something exciting to me.

[00:13:07]

I have found the American dream when I ran that mile and that I went straight into training like running five or six miles each day, and he got me doing two hundred loads and loads of two hundred and quiet, as quiet as they.

[00:13:18]

Marika's love quarters quarters means quarter miles, 400 meters. Shane was running the multiple times with short rests in between.

[00:13:28]

It's called interval training and it's key to improving your time for the mile or its close cousin, the 1500 meters.

[00:13:34]

I end up coming in sixth in the Northern California stations and I made it into the skin of my teeth to the state champs.

[00:13:41]

Only three months of running. I couldn't believe it.

[00:13:44]

But it wasn't long before Shane was looking further afield and running was his ticket to a more prestigious university. He was about to swap his green camper van for the green singlet of Adams State College, a powerhouse of middle and long distance running low high in the Colorado Rockies, where he would be guided by U.S. Olympic distance coach Dr. Jovel.

[00:14:05]

I was so determined to get to atomistic. I called up three, four times. I said Coach Ashaninka, coach Udonis not only been running a few months and I'm hungry.

[00:14:13]

And I want to go to Adam say many of Ireland's most celebrated athletes have come through the American college system, Ronnie Delaney, Aymond, Cocklin and Sonya Sullivan amongst them.

[00:14:23]

Lot to behold. I couldn't believe it. They accepted me in. I sold of the camera for twelve hundred dollars and I hitchhiked again and hitchhiked from San Francisco to Nevada and Utah into Alamosa, Colorado, in June of that year, 1990. And I got into Alamosa, the guy who just dropped me off at the bowling alley.

[00:14:46]

A quick phone call to coach Velho coach.

[00:14:50]

I'm here in Alamosa. I'm here to meet your buddy. And he goes, Where are you? At the airport. I said, No, I'm not the Baltimore Sun. I think he picked me up wrong. We don't give scholarships or bowling. I said, Coach, I hitchhiked. I was going to the guy. Just drop me off here. Coach Knight found someone very special. He was this kid that would hitchhike 100 miles to run for his school.

[00:15:13]

So coach picked me up at the bowling alley. We just hit it off. It was a great friendship.

[00:15:17]

A second Irish athlete and future world championship competitor Daniel Corfield arrived in Shane's second year. They remained friends today.

[00:15:25]

When I got there, they said, there's another Irish fella here. And I thought, this is great, you know, because it was a very lonely place, almost as it's in south central Colorado and there's absolutely nothing around. There's these big tumbleweeds that roll across the main street. You know, the door opens and this is Shane Healy walking in and he has this phenomenal tan. He's blond haired, blue eyes. And I thought, this fellow is not from Ireland.

[00:15:51]

He didn't look like he was straight out of Talor, that's for sure. He was always a wheeler and dealer.

[00:15:56]

I remember distinctly at one stage, one of his main possessions was a bicycle. And it didn't seem like too long after it was a motorbike, maybe a 125 I.C.C.. And then not long after that, it was the 250 s.E.C. And then that turned into some small car. Following that, he had a Saab. After that, he had a 67 Mustang, you know, that he sold on. It was entertaining, to say the least.

[00:16:17]

You know, every day was just so excited to wake up another day running. And I started to study sports and exercise management with a minor in business. That's what I did at Adam St..

[00:16:31]

November 22nd, 1993, and for the fourth year in a row, Shane is on the Adams state starting team for the National Collegiate Cross-country Championship. The race went out. Shane took the lead after about half a mile. I'd had a disagreement with a runner from another school within the first 400 meters, and he didn't seem to like us too much. And so I said, Shane, this man wants to speak to you. And so that meant kind of in our own vernacular, Shane took the lead and made the guy pay for the not so nice things he was saying to our team early on.

[00:17:03]

And that was the sort of fellow Shane is. He's just unbelievably loyal to his teammates and the people he cares about.

[00:17:10]

He ran a ferocious last mile in order to do it.

[00:17:16]

Yeah, it was just a great day for him, you know, and the rest of us. Shane was first over the line. Adam State won Team Gold.

[00:17:24]

That was the last race coach V.L. coached as a collegiate coach.

[00:17:27]

He retired after that day. Shane was only beginning to get noticed in Ireland before he finished in Adams stage the following spring, he had introduced himself to three time Olympian and world championship gold medalist Eamon Cocklin. They met at the famous Melrose Games in Madison Square Garden in New York, where Kochan had won the blue ribbon event, the Wannamaker Mile, and then record seven times.

[00:17:53]

Well, that I first meet Shane Healy. I'll never forget it. It was actually incredible.

[00:18:00]

I was running in the Mile and Madison Square Garden nineteen ninety three. He was running for Adam State in the 400 meter relay in the garden at the time. Right.

[00:18:10]

I was all excited to be at the Miro's games. Marcus O'Sullivan was running into Wannamaker Mile. So I'm back in the hotel after the ME across the street.

[00:18:20]

I get on the elevator and it closed and then it opened again. I ran into the left all excited, and then all of a sudden I seen this guy as much as Markus's.

[00:18:30]

So how was it go, Marcus? And he goes, Hey, Marcus, how you do it?

[00:18:34]

Well, you know, I'm not Marcus Eisenheim, Aymond, Cocklin.

[00:18:38]

I got fuck you. I'm not Marcus. I support. He's solid, you know, apologies, you know, and I think I'm going to run fast and you someday get every cocky kid.

[00:18:49]

Just that conversation last long. It sure didn't matter.

[00:18:53]

But I never forgot his name. That was Shane.

[00:18:56]

That was my first encounter with the Irish athletes. And I knew it. And they all meet these big men. Now, maybe it's my time to step up to be a big man to after I finish college. Now is my time.

[00:19:07]

You know, being a big man meant running in the biggest sports event of all the Olympic Games. And getting there would also give Shane a global platform to reach out to his mother and sister.

[00:19:19]

And we hadn't seen for twenty years, not only the really deep down really wants to run for Ireland and qualify. It was a goal, but also would have opened the gates for my mother to come to find my mother and my sister Lorraine. Absolutely. Because, you know, I say, okay, now this is great publicity. This was burned me on it. Did it really did. You know, and I wasn't just fighting a mother. And Lorraine, I find, got a life of Brian and I find a mother and I mean, for my sister Leanna, I was fighting for dad.

[00:19:51]

I think it was a big part. But I think the bigger part was the Olympic dream.

[00:19:57]

That's Frank, really founder and editor for 37 years of Irish Runner magazine.

[00:20:02]

Imagine a kid abandoned by his mother of four years of age. I think it was it was that big dream of making something of himself as well. You know, I think that that had a lot to do with that as well and to to fully embrace the talent and the determination he had. And I think the mother and sister would have been a very big motivating factor. But I think deep down as well, it was getting the very best out of the ability he had.

[00:20:31]

You know, Frank, who had himself into college in the States, recalls the first time he saw Shane in action. He was at the Europa Cup in the summer of 1994.

[00:20:40]

I was sitting in the stands and the Martin Stadium and sentry, he was running for Ireland. And I looked to the fella next to me when he came up the street to finish. I said, that's one guy that had something special. I'm going to talk to him. And I went and met him there on the track afterwards. And he told me he was going to have to come back from America immediately connected. He told me what he was aiming for at the time and how the Olympics was big and his rhetoric.

[00:21:09]

And it seemed like almost an impossible dream at the time.

[00:21:12]

While his cross-country successes are, Adams states had been at longer distances on the track. Shane specialise in the 1500 meters, and that was his targets for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. To qualify, he would need to get entry to a suitable race and run faster than ever before. Three minutes and thirty eight seconds. Seven months out. Christmas 1995. He hadn't got it and he needed help. Even Cocklin was at the traditional New Year's Day race in the Phoenix Park.

[00:21:41]

And all of a sudden who beat me on Shane Healy. Hey. Hey, man. How you doing, Shane? How's it gone? And he said, Aymond, can I ask you something? I know what he said. Will you coach me?

[00:21:51]

I go, what will I code? You know, I haven't coached anybody at all, except pretty much myself. I said, why is it I tell you why I really admire you?

[00:22:01]

I come from the same neck of the woods. He said, what you've achieved chairman of the boards. He's my greatest actually PR man even to this day. It is. And he said, But I really, really, really want to go to the Olympic Games and you're the man to get me there.

[00:22:17]

So I said, well, let me think about it. Right. And I think it was the next day I met with Shane for a cup of tea and we talked about it and I said, Shane, I'm going to do for you.

[00:22:29]

Only one thing I want you to do. Is to listen to me and not to listen to anybody else and everything I tell you to do. To do it, I need to get emotional now over because he was a good guy, something. Stood out in shame. He was a good person. He was an honest person. He was really. Serious about the journey. And the journey for him. Was to find. His both. And he told me.

[00:23:11]

By getting to the Olympic Games, that would do it for him. And amental. I saw I had balls, big balls. So I decided I'm going to help us get our. With Cocklin on board and help from the likes of Frank, really, Shane raise his profile with a feature article written by Olympic silver medalist John Tracey, an Irish runner, and then two appearances with Pat Kenny on AUTE in early 1996. No man has just run into the studio, didn't stand on a track until he was 21 years old, five years later, he's less than a second away from the Olympic qualifying time for the 1500 meters, despite the fact that he left school at 13, he's now a college graduate who has traveled the world, not your average 26 year old.

[00:24:00]

His name is Shane Healy. Shane. You're very welcome to the program. Hello, Pat. Now, you have achieved these fantastic times at really on your own at this stage. Well, I went I went to Colorado last summer in July, and I trained really hard and I came back to Ireland in October. But the three weeks before I came back, I had to stay at a homeless shelter in Denver. I'll tell you what I have to really go through just to make the standard for the Irish Olympic team.

[00:24:22]

You know, I mean, I there's no support out there.

[00:24:23]

It was a platform that gave Shane the chance to appeal for his mother and sister Lorraine to make contact.

[00:24:29]

OK, but there's one person that you want to talk to right now. Oh, yeah. You know, she she's my older sister, Lorraine Healy. And I would like to say, like, we've lost contact with her. I haven't seen her in many years. And if she's watching today, I'd like to contact my contact me to Artie just to say hi to say that you're safe and well. Lorraine, if you are out there, be in touch with us because Shane really wants to see you again.

[00:24:54]

And I know you'll be very proud of him when when. Not if when he goes to the Olympics. Yes.

[00:24:59]

Atlanta on the plus side, he was attracting financial support groups. Have a slogan, let's make things better, OK? And they have decided to make things better for Shane Healy because they're giving him almost 4000 pounds to facilitate.

[00:25:14]

His training progressed well under caffeine, which Shane just couldn't get that elusive qualifying time. Frank really was pulling strings to get him extra opportunities.

[00:25:25]

He had almost given up on getting the qualifying time. He was close, but not close enough.

[00:25:30]

I remember one in three or four races in the space of fourteen days. There was a lot of race and, you know, and June 15th was the cutoff date. And I started to get desperate. And I came back from running those four races and I went into Frank Greeley's office, the road the Irish Runner and Charles Cross. And there was one race left Madrid Wednesday night, and I had kind of exhausted everything I could do.

[00:25:54]

And I for one thing, I said, you can have the use of the phone if you want to try and get into the meat.

[00:26:03]

So I called the meeting director up in Madrid. Excuse me, sir. I want to run your race. Who is this? I said my name is Shane Healy. I want to run your race on Wednesday night. No, no, no, no. The Olympic champion for me, Katya is running and he's going for the world record. No, no, no. Fielder spoke on the phone. I call that man. I was so desperate.

[00:26:23]

I called in about six times that day.

[00:26:26]

I went down to the basement of where we were working up and Harold's Cross Road, and he was on his knees on the phone. This is his final call to your man.

[00:26:35]

And I said, Sir, it's just a Saturday morning. And I said, Yes, sir, you don't realize I'm desperate to get into your race. I'll pay for my flight. Just please put me into your race for Wednesday night.

[00:26:46]

He wore the day down and I said, listen, you're great, man. You're in. Let me know when you get to the airport tomorrow what time your flights are in.

[00:26:54]

You'd have very poor chance of getting in because this is the final throw of the dice for qualifying for the Atlanta Olympics.

[00:27:03]

So I went down that they got the plane ticket that night. I stayed at home and Coughlin's house and I remember getting up at five o'clock that morning. It was dark. The first part of the and fifty wasn't built yet.

[00:27:15]

And I remember driving to don't sink down to the old roads, you know, look in all your old caravans and stuff. And it was a very lonely road and was all by myself. And I think it is this in vain, you know, the little demons that come into your head. I said, no, this is it. This is your last chance. The last chance saloon. So I go on the plane and then as we're flying into Madrid, the captain goes, welcome to Madrid, an altitude of 3000 feet, 38 Celsius.

[00:27:45]

So I got to the stadium and they hate was just stifling. I was looking down the sideline for me and captured it to my right and all Kenyans and all lined up, ready to go. I looked down to track the back street and all I could see was these mirage is just rise enough to track the heat and the sweat just coming off me like and looking down.

[00:28:07]

I banged the gun, went off, just took off. 40 is Philip Candie of Kenya flying. He looks to be helping with the peace making the road to Syria in the lead catcher in third place at the moment coming up to 400 meters. I can't hear the first and last at the 500 mark. I couldn't breathe.

[00:28:31]

Not ideal conditions running at the altitude of Madrid. It certainly does have an effect on the middle and long distances coming into the 800 meter mark, given the law to behold hold, then they get a second wind coming through, threatening in third place.

[00:28:45]

But he made it with a victory here. That is really a big surprise. Plus the timing.

[00:28:51]

The first finisher came across and it came across, you know, on the legs were gone in the heat did the Spanish guys knew my plate and they knew I was desperado.

[00:29:00]

One of the Spanish guys came over here. And you see the results are around three thirty six point five eight.

[00:29:06]

They're on a personal best, ensured Shane's place on the Irish team for the Atlanta Olympic Games.

[00:29:13]

I was the proudest day in my life. I was going to go to the greatest show on Earth that Willy Wonka, the golden ticket. My name was on it.

[00:29:21]

I was absolutely chuffed and just flabbergasted.

[00:29:25]

And I just felt light, easy just to dream of dreams.

[00:29:32]

The Madrid race was exactly one month before the Irish team flew to Atlanta. There was time for some final preparations back in Dublin before Shane walked out with Team Ireland for the opening ceremony of the 26th Olympic Games, where Muhammad Ali lit the flame at the Centennial Stadium as a huge audience watched on television.

[00:29:51]

They loved Ireland walking out onto the track. Just I have to pinch myself. That was the opening. So what caught my attention was the millions of flashes, the cameras. The atmosphere was hitting you from all angles like it was the flash, the photography, the rose of the crowds.

[00:30:11]

And it was just, yeah, wow. And you're competing for your country. Much greater honor. Wow.

[00:30:20]

I actually got to meet President Bill Clinton.

[00:30:24]

I declare open the games of Atlanta celebrating the twenty six Olympiad of the modern era.

[00:30:37]

It was a couple of days before the first round of the 1500 meters and the cafeterias are massive at the Olympic Games, and I noticed all these athletes sitting down this one table and curiosity got the better of me. I, I just rolled over and just looked over know to behold. I couldn't believe it was Bill Clinton, President Bill Clinton sitting down and talking to of all a Cuban athlete. You know, there was fantastic like and he got up and started walking and shaking the athlete's hands.

[00:31:04]

And I got to shake his hand. And I asked him, I said to him, I said, what's happening in Northern Ireland? I just. And he says, Young man, I'm working on it. And he said, best look in your event, and that was it shook the man's hand, Bill Clinton. Competition in the 1500 meters is intense. There are three rounds, heats, semifinals and a final. There were 57 world class runners, including Shane Healy, competing for three medals.

[00:31:32]

Would his mother or sister or someone else who had made the connection be watching? The crowd was savage. I think it was 90000 in that stadium. You know, I in the world championships, not the Olympics.

[00:31:43]

This is the cream of the crop 4000 miles away in Dublin. Coach Coughlin watch the race in his role as an auto analyst.

[00:31:51]

I worked with them for the last six months. He did everything he was told and he ended up getting the qualifying time and hopefully he get through to the next round.

[00:31:57]

I wanted to start in line. I said, OK, stay Milpark. Don't touch different. We'll see how he gets on. Indeed, George Hamilton and Frank O'Mara were on commentary. Here they go. Then Shane Healy takes in the fifteen hundred meters from Man. It's wearing white and he's in there. It's a 60 second, second lap that stood up. Now you can see the punch coming together in one huge group. And this is where this have got to have got to be very, very careful.

[00:32:24]

Shane Healy is coming down. They got Braxton really badly, badly right now. He needs to find some way out of this quickly. Shane Healy boxed in on the curb and in sixth position still. Belsize Shane Healy just gets himself in a gap and they went forward. So he went from eight to 15. He has a good chance of qualifying. There we go to 55. A 100. That's quick. I mean, a 41 second 300 meters from here and are going to run 336 would give him a great, great chance that would obviously shooting a qualification.

[00:32:53]

Well, he's going to certainly got to give it a real he's just box there on the right side to have his line taken. But he's through and he's finishing in position. Shane Healy was very, very proud of him.

[00:33:03]

However, he made a big tactical error. He got himself boxed in with two laps to go. He wasn't able to get out of it at all. Fair play to him. He didn't panic. He couldn't get out even the 110 meters to go coming off the last turns and he forced his way up on the inside.

[00:33:17]

Now, I was really concerned at Shane's time of three minutes, thirty seven point two eight, his second fastest ever got him through to the semifinals. Three days later, we pick it up as the bell sounds for the final lap.

[00:33:29]

So he scores career Shadadi finding the pace a little hot at this stage. His time was three minutes, thirty nine point eighty one. Shadadi has drifted off the back of that. My goal was to get to the Olympic semi-final because when you had mostly El Guerrouj Cockshell Shadadi coming off. Now, honestly, look, we only got five years of really solid running. I've done well to get to the Olympic Games, to the semifinal. If I had a little bit more maturity under my belt, maybe a couple of more years of tough, tough race, and then I could have made the final.

[00:34:08]

But no, not not that. Yeah, no, I think I ran to my limits.

[00:34:12]

Yeah. However, Shane's hopes of finding his mother in 1996 weren't realized. To this day. It's just it's not a day that goes by. I always wonder where they are, what to do. And it's just sad, really.

[00:34:29]

When they had been together at Adam State, Daniel Corfield reckoned he had a better chance than Shane of making the Atlanta Olympics Corfield mistakes.

[00:34:37]

Did I think he would be a semifinalist in the Olympics three years later? Definitely not. You know, that's a testament to just sheer willpower and work ethic and just single minded drive. I have not met anyone who has worked harder, though, like in my travels, he's he is at the at the at the very top.

[00:34:55]

The pair were reunited in Dublin. I moved in with him and some digs in and fair house. That was probably the first time I ever got to meet anyone from his family. You start understanding, like the the difficulties, you know, and the hardships that he had dealt with when he was younger and just the amazing attitude that he had despite those hardships.

[00:35:18]

It was amazing. He seemed to know everyone. There was no place he didn't seem to have a VIP pass to in Dublin.

[00:35:25]

I thought it was just like any time we would, you know, go out just to, you know, to see people, to chat with people, to go down through whatever we always were able to get in every place.

[00:35:34]

We went for free, never paid a penny just again. His unwillingness to take no for an answer got him indoors almost everywhere.

[00:35:43]

Injury funding, desire dancing. The last time Shane wore the senior Irish vest was at the 1997 World Championships. Within a couple of years of Atlanta, he had drifted out of the sport to many years and many pounds.

[00:35:57]

Later, before I saw Shane Aymond Cocklin again and the many pounds later it was, Hey Shane, what happened to you?

[00:36:04]

There was a transformation that I did absolutely nothing. I probably I probably put on about freestyle. I if I went up to I remember I went up to thirteen stone eight pounds on the scales. I didn't do any no physical activity whatsoever. Danced the landlord out by partying all the time. Not about a but yeah.

[00:36:23]

No but Shane was still Shane and your great Shane. What do you do. You know a little bit of distance, a little bit of that and a little bit of the other. Well Shane, what do you really do?

[00:36:32]

You know, I love classic cars and I bought and sold classic cars. I bought a house and sold it on did it or bought a house and sold on my own house. But in the financial crash of 2008, life took another turn. Just say overnight, that's when the business went buying, you know, like nobody is buying classic cars, the asphalt you're at all like I had a lovely house and later I lost that to the banks. So I was gone.

[00:37:00]

That was very important to kind of set me back. And, yeah, I was in my 40s then as well, like and it was hard to find where you couldn't get a job. Like, it was really hard, like who wants to hire as many as 40 like and you know, and so I retrained and I got into caring and I am a carer now. So that's what I do. I work for the visually impaired. I look out the blind people, some with intellectual disabilities.

[00:37:25]

And that's what I've been doing for the last six or seven years. The latent runner and Shane finally emerged, he started training with Ayman Cocklin, son John, also an Irish international.

[00:37:38]

When I started back in 2012, those first couple of miles was how I came a long way in eight months. But Dan. I had a horrific injury with John Cocklin on the track. I had a finnemore session that night, Tuesday night, and I forget it was a frosty night, it was really cold. Not thinking nothing of it warm down came home two o'clock that night, I woke up with excruciating pain.

[00:38:11]

I had to tell my wife, Jennifer, Jenny, I need help. I had to wake up. I said he had he had to call an ambulance.

[00:38:18]

Where I turned out was I tore my intercostal muscles from using my breathing, was pushing myself too hard for months after I couldn't run. It took me a year to get over that injury.

[00:38:29]

And it was almost four years before she went back again to running and now to the final of the men's 1500 meters.

[00:38:38]

This was 2006 and I was looking at the Olympic final in the 1500 meters in Rio.

[00:38:45]

And I said, oh, my God, it just dawned on me to Ireland where all our great minds we had nobody in the 1500, nobody in the trophy case.

[00:38:55]

People, nobody in the 5000, nobody in the 10000. And we had three guys in the marathon.

[00:39:02]

And I said, we're on a track.

[00:39:04]

What's happening here? And plus, I wasn't happy with my weight. It wasn't in a great place mentally to thinking like you're 47, you're feeling overweight. Didn't like what I saw in the mirror. And yeah, there was a little bit of depression there.

[00:39:21]

I say it was. Yeah, I said I just need a good feel story, Aissa.

[00:39:26]

I'm going to set myself a goal and I'm going to train I want to break the over 50 world records.

[00:39:32]

That's my goal.

[00:39:36]

The doubling track club was the perfect vehicle for Shane to slay some mental demons and get in shape for some world records.

[00:39:43]

It's February 2020, and Shane has a busy schedule of races already this month in Armah, he has set an over 15 world record for the five kilometer road race, completing the course in 14 minutes, 57 seconds, equating to an average speed of just over 20 kilometers per hour. Five days later, he's after the indoor.

[00:40:04]

My record is romantic element with demands the mile, you know, bring back to big, big push.

[00:40:12]

That's Dave Matthews, who runs the 800 meters at the Atlanta Olympics. He's the meeting director. We were blessed here tonight.

[00:40:19]

We have our Shane Healy, who's come for an over 50 world record, but also within the same race with Keen Mike Phillips from Longford, AC in 19 year old. He's going to try and break the four minute mile, which has never happened here in the national arena.

[00:40:32]

Coach velum Kelly and some other vocal supporters are there for Shane.

[00:40:36]

Yeah, I think he might go off too fast. Like and Shane being Shane for I think for twenty three is the record and he wants to go out for 16. Shane is ambitious and I suppose what's gotten him where he is.

[00:40:47]

Shane does go out fast like it's the second half of the race or Alyda hopefully he'll have the energy, especially when you get older, the elasticity goes, he won't have the power at the end.

[00:40:56]

So he needs to try and save a little bit about Shane at work, work, work, work, work. Go on, come on. Come back and said, hey, hey, hey. Twenty six has been cleared up. Just you know, it's like the world my life one.

[00:41:23]

I think he was a bit too fast at the start really. The positive thing is he actually looked better at the close, but normally he climbs right up and he looks stronger than I look.

[00:41:35]

It's had no go in the last 400, 500. But look, not to worry. You just get on don't dwell on a negative run. Just keep going on that. The great thing about athletics is you can put a bad experience behind you and just move on to the next race.

[00:41:51]

So it proved less than a fortnight later, first in the heat and then again in the final. The next day, Shane broke the over 50 world record for the indoor 1500 meters at the National Senior Championships.

[00:42:02]

I was delighted to make the final of our 51 year old. I was just absolutely chuffed. I don't know if it'll ever happen again, but when I told the line against all the young fellows, you know, I was the oldest in the race by over twenty years. Just as the race progressed, I got stronger and stronger, like I knew I had broken the world record. And it came across and I seen the clock go from four four zero to four zero one.

[00:42:26]

I said, yes, I knew I took a big ol chunk off my world record.

[00:42:35]

Shane should have been chasing one of the records he covets most the outdoor mile at the Belfast Milers Club meeting today. But the covid-19 pandemic ruined the racing calendar. Instead, Shane and his fellow runners, his friends are building strength in today's Dublin Track Club session.

[00:42:52]

OK, but together, Shane, you've got it all nicely.

[00:42:56]

Farlam Kelly is cycling alongside the group coaching that's got again rhythm and form, rhythm and form. Don't get lazy, get focused and still control the rhythm guitar. Heal. Yeah, just that relaxing a little bit. Yeah. I think a little shallow. You can kind of start winding down here with a little bit like player and s serious workout today anyway. You're playing today. Yeah it's impressive but just run controlled how I coach got the crown of the head up to the sky again.

[00:43:38]

Yeah. There you go.

[00:43:41]

On the way towards the car park Shane is preaching positive. Good job young guys. Well done. Remember, you're the future of athletics.

[00:43:49]

Ireland's young gone and full of energy before another five k the final warm time. Shane offers his summary of the session.

[00:44:01]

Oh, good.

[00:44:01]

Yeah, we've got a little bit too hot in the first week. But look, the last week around, a lot more controlled legs were a little bit banjaxed after this. So I don't think it's too bad for somebody else. Nobody 52 years old and everybody helps each other. Even when we're hurting, we give each other a pat on the back. I like as a runner and coach, they come to me for guidance. I do my best to give them positivity in their lives.

[00:44:24]

And they asked me, how do you make the Olympic Games? I said to perseverance, dedication and an unshakable belief in one's self. Before his father died in 2014, Shane made one more attempt to find his mother and his sister, Lorraine.

[00:44:42]

I went over to Yorkshire to try to trace my to my mother's roots to do some investigating.

[00:44:48]

But I only have one cousin alive over there, Charlotte and I still couldn't contact her because my dad said to me, he said, look, go to Walpole Road in Huddersfield in England and look you up. And I think he she lives in numbers 55 or 50, Walpole Road and NALGO. Whatever happened that night back in 73, mom does not want to be found. She knows how to find us. She knows all my uncles, aunts and relatives are in Roscommon still now.

[00:45:17]

But for some reason, I don't even know if she's still alive. I don't know. She'd be 81 now, I guess. And my oldest sister, Lorraine, I should be 54.

[00:45:27]

I don't have any regrets, I'm happy with how I lived my life. If I know I don't have you guys, because you know what was exciting here was some hell of a ride, that's all I can say to you.

[00:45:49]

You've been listening to Shane Healy back on track from the documentary on one, it was narrated by Gary Maurin and produced by Gary Moore and Tim DesMoines. Until next time, thanks for listening.