As I have been away from the sport of athletics for many years, I thought I best offer a brief introduction as many on the scene now do not know me from Adam.
My Dad took me down to a fairly new club in the shape of Wallsend Harriers back in the Autumn of 1977.
I was a skinny little kid having just had my 11th birthday who was rubbish at football.
In the 1980s running was booming and Wallsend Harriers had a multitude of kids in various ages and abilities all pushing each other to make the team and to pick up those elusive prizes.
Success did come through the ages and a bag full of prizes and medals followed.
I am the proud owner of a number of county medals (all team on the country), one individual on the track. Yep that’s right I was 3rd in the 1981 boys (U15) 3km.
On the country my proudest moment was when as a senior the team(Wallsend) picked up Bronze medals at the North Eastern Cross Country Championships at Silksworth in 1987.This was no mean feat considering the strength of the likes of Morpeth, Gateshead and Sunderland to name a few well known clubs.
Four of the team including myself had all come through the ranks as kids to seniors. A real proud day for all involved at the club.
As a senior I tinkered on the track with pb’s of 8mins 45 sec for 3km and 15mins 14 secs for 5km. I simply didn’t have the speed.
I also enjoyed fell running winning the Chevy Chase (17 mile fell race) as a 20 year old, 10 years after my Dad won it.
Not a lot of people know this but Ian Twaddles Dad Bob has also won the Chevy Chase, and so too has Ian. What a small world.
As with all in the North East we all did cross country and the Harrier League.
My highest position was a 2nd at Prudhoe, like father like son as he also finished 2nd at Prudhoe some 10 years or so earlier.
My love was road running with pbs of 31mins 14 sec for 10km,52mins 45 secs for 10 miles and 71mins 45 secs for the half marathon. These times were all ran between 1988 & 1993. It was certainly easier in those days as we were pulled to quick times due to the local competition at the time.
Believe it or not 31mins 14 secs didn’t even get you top 20 at the Heaton road races in 1989 this got you 21st place and 71 mins 45 secs for the Great North Run in 1988 only got you 136th!!
I left Wallsend Harriers in the November of 1989 and joined Elswick in the February of the following year. My nick name at the club was injured Atkinson, as I would often get injured. It was a vicious circle get fit run quick get injured. I did have some very happy times at Elswick running in the National 6 stage finals and also the National 12 stage finals.
My last 10km road race ironically enough was running in the colours of Elswick and on the old Wallsend Harriers 10km road race course running it in 1993 for 10th place in a time of 31mins 22 secs.
Injuries prevented me from competing and I hung up my racing shoes. I did go back to Wallsend a year or so later but only ran the 12 stage relays as the mountain bike bug had started to bite.
What I can say about my running life is that I have made some exceptional life long friends, the list would be as long as this intro.
My next blog will be along soon, my aims and why I am putting on the running shoes again at the tender age of 45 and being away from the sport for nearly 20 years.