NI athletics community shocked by sudden death of popular runner

Irwin Spiers
Irwin Spiers

The Mid Ulster athletics community has been plunged into mourning following the sudden death of Cookstown man Irwin Speirs.

Irwin, from Church Street, died earlier today in the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was a native of the Beagh, Maghera.
In an online tribute his club, Acorn Athletics Club said: "It is with deep regret that we have lost one of our founding members, coach and friend to everyone in the club Irwin Speirs.
"Words will never do justice to how highly Irwin was thought off.From our fastest runner to the slowest he encouraged you the same and with his special brand of encouragement got the best from everyone.We will miss Irwin very dearly.
"We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Irwin's wife May,daughters Emma,Jennifer and Sarah and all the family."
Sperrin Harriers AC said in a Facebook post: "The entire Sperrin Harriers club wish to pass on their deepest condolences with the unbelievably sad loss of Irwin Speirs.
"A former founding member of the Harriers, Irwin was held in the highest regard, an amazing runner in his own right and a friend to everyone in the running community and beyond.
"He was Mr Parkrun and Musa will not be the same without him.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Irwin’s family, friends and his club Acorns AC."
And Termoneeny Running Club said its members are deeply saddened by the passing of a true gentleman.
"We will forever miss his presence at MUSA Parkrun but will always remember how welcoming and encouraging he was to all of us.
"Irwin did so much to enrich our local running community. We are grateful and honoured to have known him.
"Our sincere condolences are expressed to Irwin’s family, the MUSA Parkrun community and his running club, Acorns AC."
A funeral service for Irwin will take place in Derryloran Parish Church on Sunday at 1.30pm, followed by burial in Cookstown Cemetery.