athletics, bullying, Chariots of Fire, Childhood, Coaching, competition., cross country, crystal palace, dedication, Inspirational people, Lilian Board, Racing, running, school, sprinting, team, teenager, training, winter, Wirral athletic club
Today has been a day that has just happened as I have walked through it.
When I was in town I bumped into an old friend. We go back over 50years. I joined an athletics club when I was nine years old. John, who I bumped into was our trainer. He trained athletes for FIFTY THREE YEARS
For me being part of Wirral Athletics club was an essential anchor which stabilised my teenage years after problems with school and being bullied.
We trained hard and some of us did better than others in competition. But it is an area of my life that I am grateful for. It was healthy. We were a team and we travelled the country for competitions. Most of our training was at the Oval where some scenes from the film ‘Chariots of Fire ‘were filmed. At that time it was a cinder track. Years later it was changed to maybe an all weather track.
In the winter we worked hard with our intense winter training. John was and still is someone who is respected, and he brought out the best in us. He pushed us hard in the winter months.
It was never unusual to go for long runs on cold winter nights. I will never know how many miles we did. Winter training was essential for our racing in the spring and summer.
The best I ever did was become Cheshire Champion at 150yards when I was fourteen. I was also priveleged to go to Crystal palace. I cant remember if we competed but I do remember sitting in the middle grass area of the track and watching the Late Lillian Board running. Maybe we went to compete in a relay race.
I was always a sprinter but I did compete in a few Cross Country races. Never did well in long distance but I do have great endurance.
Athletics and competition were something I grew up with and it hasn’t done me any harm.
Several years ago John was honoured and recognised for his dedication and contribution to sport.
A worthy and well deserved honour.
Thank you John.