Dick Hodgins, best known as “Mr Cork City Sports” has died after a short illness.
Between 1992 and 2011, Dick was chairman and meet director of the Cork City Sports, tirelessly persuading athletes from all over the globe to come to Cork and quietly badgering journalists to give the meet the coverage it deserved. Under his stewardship, the Cork City Sports became a high profile international meeting, at one stage ranking No 3 in its class in Europe. He was working hard in his role as meet director and athletes coordinator until his untimely death.
While most people will know Dick for his exceptional administrative abilities, he had a distinguished career as an athlete. As a youngster, he was the first schoolboy to break five minutes for the mile when he ran ran 4 mins 48 secs at the South Munster Schools championship at the Mardyke. In July 1963, he won the Irish 1500m title at Cork City Sports; the first of 14 Irish titles over the next 12 years.
In 1967, the year BLE (forerunner of Athletics Ireland) was founded, Dick became the first BLE champion when he won the Cork to Cobh ’15’. Later that year, he ran the 5000m at the Europa Cup – the first BLE track and field international. The Olympic year of 1968 saw Dick winning the Irish 10-mile track championship, recording a time of 48:48 on the cinders track at Santry. Injury ruled him out of that year’s Olympics where he had hoped to qualify in either the 10,000m or marathon.
In his first international marathon in Spain the following year, Dick finished only 11 seconds behind the Olympic champion Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia in 2:25:02. He went on to run marathons in Kosice, Enshede, Prague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In 1975, he won the National Marathon in Galway in 2:19.46. Dick finished third in the first ever Ballycotton ’10’ in 1978 and was runner-up to Liam O’Brien three years later in 1981. In his last marathon in Cork in 1984, he won the M40 title with a time of in 2:33:28.
His daughter Jill became an Irish hockey international and in 2012, won the Seville Marathon in a personal best time of 2: 46. 58. Her father could not have been more proud.
To the entire Hodgins family and Dick’s many friends in athletics goes our deepest sympathy.
* Thanks to the Cork City Sports site for information on Dick’s athletics career.