The grandson of a Glenties blacksmith was first home in the Liverpool marathon on Sunday week last.
John Joe McCole, who was born and reared in Liverpool and is a member of the Liverpool Harriers Athletic Club, is the grandson is the late Joseph McCole, Glen Road, who was the last blacksmith in Glenties.
His father is Patrick McCole. Patrick emigrated from Glenties in the 1970s to Liverpool where he settled and set up home. Patrick was one of a family of 12 and John Joe has still many cousins and aunt and uncles here in Ireland and in the U.K.
“We are all very proud of him. It is a big achievement and it has got great coverage over here in the papers,” said his aunt Kathleen Gorry, who also lives in Liverpool and whose late husband Michael was from Fort Dunree just outside Buncrana.
“It was his first marathon but he has been running all his life and is a member of the Liverpool Harriers. His dad Patrick emigrated to Liverpool 35 years ago and has been living here ever since and has a family here.
“John Joe’s grandfather was Joseph McCole, and was the last blacksmith in Glenties and we still have many cousins and friends in Glenties and Donegal. Phil Diver in Ardchicken, Donegal Town and Joseph Gallagher, Gweebarra, both blacksmiths too, were cousins of ours.”
John Joe McCole is 32 and a teacher at St Cecilia’s Junior school, in his native Liverpool ,completed the race in an impressive time of two hours and 34 minutes and had over two minutes to spare over the second placed finisher Ian Streeter and in excess of five minutes ahead of the third man home Jason Cherriman.
An accomplished athlete on the UK race scene he has clocked an impressive 14:18 for 5000 metres and has also run a half- marathon in a time of one hour, eight minutes in the past.
He ran the race on behalf of the Montse Benitez Foundation, a charity under the direction of former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez and his wife. John Joe received a congratulatory message from the former Liverpool boss following the race.