The late Mary Hanley. Photo: Trim AC Facebook

Athletics world in mourning for Mary Hanley

Clubs pay tribute to Na Fianna runner

Athletics clubs across the county and country are tonight mourning the loss of Mary Hanley, a member of Na Fianna Athletic Club, who died this morning following an illness.

Extending sympathy to her family, Dunshaughlin Athletic Club said Mary was one of the best distance runners Meath has ever produced, who after a brilliant underage career, went on to win six Meath Athletics senior cross country titles between 2001 and 2007 leading her beloved Na Fianna to four team titles.

“She was first lady at our 10k road race in 2006 and 2007, recording times of 37.17 and 37.31, and leading her club team comprised of her sister Bridgie Clarke and close friend Maggie Higgins to the team title in 2006.

“Mary went on to win numerous provincial and national honours as well as virtually every road race around and was one of the toughest but yet nicest runners on the block.”

Rathkenny Athletic Club said Mary was a top class athlete, who was a very familiar face in athletics throughout the county and beyond, and was a regular prize winner at its road races over the years.

“Mary was always willing to give advice and help others along the way and will be a huge loss to her family, friends, clubmates and the wider athletics community.”

Runner Fiona McGann Diskin of Kiltale said: “Today I lost my dear friend Mary Hanley. We ran in Trinity College, Merrion Square, Ringsend Park, and Herbert Park to name but a few for the last 25 years and we rarely missed a session pre-Covid.

“I have great memories of our training runs, be it our training camp in Portugal, sliding on the snow and ice with Joe and Noel or the gut wrenching sessions on Ringsend track. We had so many fun times and laughs along the way….. I was blessed and privileged to have had you as my training partner and a great friend for almost 25 years as was The Trinity Rehab Runners. My thoughts are with your family at this very sad time.” said Mary was an incredibly warm, caring and hugely popular lady in the running community as well as in her daily life.

“We knew Mary from attending our events over the years and we are so glad to have known her. Mary was a very talented and competitive athlete who brought so much joy to the people that she came into contact with. She was great supporter of Meath athletics and a great ambassador for her club Na Fianna AC. Mary will be sadly missed but certainly not forgotten as she brought so much to athletics and road racing.”