Blue Plaque for James Viscount Bryce

Blue Plaque for James Viscount Bryce
Unveiling the plaque to James Viscount Bryce at 13 Chichester Street, Belfast on Friday 10 May 2013

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Blue Plaque for Dervock Olympian Gold Medallist

July 23 is the date of the traditional Kennedy Kane McArthur annual half-marathon in the County Antrim village of Dervock. On that day this year Dame Mary Peters, Gold Medallist at the 1972 Munich Olympics in the womens penthalon, will unveil a blue plaque the McArthur, the winner of the marathon at the Stockholm 1912 Olympics.

Kennedy Kane McArthur 
Kennedy Kane McArthur was born on 10 February 1881 in Dervock. He was the local postman and was often to seen running along the country roads with his post-bag. He emigrated to Johannesburg, in South Africa, where he joined the police force and took up running again, this time seriously. Following success in a number of territorial and national track and cross-country championships he was selected for the South African athletics team that travelled to the London Olympics in 1908.
McArthur ran his first marathon late in the 1908 season beating the South African Olympic silver medallist, Charles Hefron. After a period of competing at an international level he was selected for the 1912 Olympic team.
The Stockholm Olympic marathon took place on 14 July 1912 in sweltering heat. McArthur almost collapsed as he neared the finishing line. However, he rallied and finished in the new Olympic record time of 2 hours, 36 minutes and 54.8 seconds  - 58 seconds ahead of his team-mate Gitsam.
After his victory McArthur visited Dervock where he was given a civic reception in the Town Hall and a bronze plaque was unveiled in his honour. Within a year of his triumph McArthur's sporting career was cut short by an accident and he retired from athletics. Between 1931-36 he lived on the family farm in Dervock after which he returned to South Africa where he died in 1960. His trophies and other memorabilia are on display at the Potschefstroom Museum in Johannesburg.

Ballymoney Borough Council is supporting the plaque and the Mayor will speak at the event.

McArthur will join other sportsmen, golfer Fred Daly, footballer Joe Bambrick, GAA founder John McKay and boxer Rinty Monaghan who have been commemorated with a blue plaque.

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