John Halligan



Manx Harriers celebrity page no.1

John coasts to victory in Round 1 of the Manx Gas Cross Country League at Nobles Park in October 2005 (photo by Adrian Cowin)

Article by Andy Fox – commissioned by

John first got involved in athletics in the mid 90’s through the Junior Development squad which the IOMAA ran after the MSR run ‘School of Excellence’ stopped. John was also in my GCSE History class at this time so could not escape from athletics even if he wanted to!!!! He proved to be a young athlete of great talent. He won numerous medals at the Lancashire Championships at Cross Country and track in the U17 and U20 age groups. John also did very well at the Merseyside schools championships. In the ‘English Schools’ on the track he ran 4 mins 37 secs for 1500m SC as an U17 which is a Manx record and the second fastest by a Manx Athlete of any age group including seniors. He came 13th in the under 17 National Cross Country and I think in the 30’s as a Junior but only ran once.

As a Y12 he came 10th in the Y12 and Y13 English Schools Cross Country Championships. He was selected to run in an International in Ghent representing the North of England in November 2000 but was hit by a car when walking home from a party; thankfully, no life threatening injury but enough to stop his running from November to January. In this earlier period he did not have a formal coach. I took an interest in him, dragged him to training, cajoled him into doing races etc. He has done few local Cross Country races as he mainly did schools stuff or off Island events!!!

In January 2001 he started training relatively hard (for him that is!!!!) in a group including myself, Chris Quine, Colin Moore etc. This lead on to him winning silver medal in the 2001 Island Games (just ahead of me I am afraid to say) in the 3000m SC in a time of 9mins 36 secs. This is a Junior Manx record and ranked him in the top 15 or so in the UK that year. John then went to College and basically did little running for 3 years. I tried to keep him involved by getting him in Millennium Way Relays and running for the B team in Northern League in the summer hoping he would come back to the sport. John loves competing but not necessarily training!!!!

This is the second year he has been home from College. Last Christmas I bumped into him at a Twisted Angels gig in the Trafalgar. We got into some banter and had a bet. If he won the second leg of Millennium Way Relay I would stop training for a period of time (2 weeks I think). If he lost that leg he would do 8 weeks training and see how his fitness progressed. (You can tell who was the most under the influence from the relative severity of each forfeit!!!) John claimed that racing was 9/10 mental and 1/10 physical. I agreed but only if both athletes were similarly trained etc. In the end John ran the third leg due to the weather affected race last Christmas. He set off in the lead up the hill at Crosby at a good pace only to be passed after a mile and a half walking as his body ran out of energy!!!! I think he came about 8th on the leg.

John hands over to Paul Clarke at St. Marks in the 2004 Millennium Way Relay (photo by Murray Lambden)

John stuck to his word and came training. He lost a stone in weight and started going quite well. He ran well in the 5K relay at Easter and in the early Northern League races starting to really get the bit between his teeth in the training sessions and then the rest is history as they say. Island Games medals followed and then a first Cross Country league win in emphatic style.

John followed up his silver medal in 3000m SC at the Shetland Island Games 2005 with a team silver in the Half Marathon with coach Andy Fox and Darren Gray. John finished 4th overall in 1:15:41 (photo by Graham Davies)

John is now training seven days a week and keen to see how well he can really do. He has a full schedule now like all of my athletes but I would still describe him as an "Alf Tupper" type figure. He trains hard on a Saturday morning and then turns up to play for Ronaldsway in Division 2 of the Manx football league – these games usually result in a defeat!!! It will be interesting for us all to see how he goes over this next year I think!!!!

John is definitely an athlete of great talent. He is keen to go back to University to do a teacher training certificate. Hopefully by that stage (next September) he will be so far advanced with his fitness and his running in general he will be able to keep things going for the season 2006/07 and the Island Games in Rhodes.



 visit Alf Tupper’s Website



return to top

return to home page