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Walking Tall

Deemed too small for his school Gaelic football team at the age of fourteen, Rob Heffernan took up race walking on a whim. Driven by a fiercely competitive nature and a dogged desire to be the best, he strode his way to the pinnacle of the sport, winning bronze in the London 2012 Olympics and becoming world champion in Moscow in 2013. In 2016, he became the first athlete to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games for a fifth time. In this no-holds-barred account, Rob describes his battles with injury, depression and poverty on his way to the top. Even when at his best, he found himself cheated out of medals by those who crossed the dark line into doping. He candidly tells of the confrontations with Athletics Ireland and the Irish Sports Council that raged in the background to his struggle for that prestigious Olympic medal. This is the inside story of how one boy’s dream led him from the council flats of his tough upbringing to the winners’ podium. It is also a heartfelt chronicle of the sometimes nightmare-ridden journey to become a top athlete in this gruelling sport.


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Publication Date

October 2016




Paperback, 283 pages

Country of Origin



The Collins Press


By Rob Heffernan

Availability Status


Rob Heffernan, from Togher in Cork city, opted out of the life mapped out for him at a young age. Instead of following his father into a trade, he put everything into race walking, and made his way to the very top, winning an Olympic medal, a world title and many other awards along the way.

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