Blackrock Athletic Club was founded in 1944. From a small beginning during World War 2 it has developed into the biggest athletic club in the country. The club evolved from a volunteer military unit and started out with around 20 members, many of whom first came into contact with athletics through inter-service (army) competition. Joe Hodgins brought the first national title in 1950 and since then it has grown from strength. In the initial stages, it catered for men only. The main reason for the exclusion of women from athletics stemmed from the church’s opposition to them participating in a sport that demanded physical exertion. It was to take a further 25 years before there was a change in attitude in this respect, which allowed for the introduction of athletic competition for women. The club has benefitted immensely from this development. A few efforts were made to get juvenile athletics of the ground before the current junior section was established in 1980. It has continued to grow and expand and today there is a queue up of young children waiting to get in. A Fit4Life section was introduced to the club in 2013. This development allows runners and joggers to enjoy all the benefits of running in a social, safe and organised environment. The club has come a long way in that it can now cater for everyone, irrespective of their ability, that wants to run. The club’s training grounds is at the picturesque Carysfort Park, Blackrock where it has been in situ since 1994.      

Blackrock Athletic Club - book by Tom Kelly

Blackrock Athletic Club has travelled an epic Journey since 1944. From its small beginnings during World War II, Blackrock AC has grown to be one of the biggest running clubs in the country and now proudly counts a double European champion among its ranks.

This charming history of the Blackrock AC brings together the voices of many past and present members. They recall the club’s various homes over the years, including a haunted house; they tell of the Christmas Day toy run to the local orphanage; and they remember trips to competitions all over the country on furniture and chicken lorries.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history of Irish athletics, Blackrock Athletic Club: An Epic Journey 1944–2019 will delight and fascinate in equal measure.