Doncaster Athletic Club
I think most people at the club are aware of my policing background, something that has pretty much shaped my running career and my position as club chairman. At the age of 35, after a few years in CID I was promoted to sergeant but at the time due to the nature of CID work, long hours, fast food and not a lot of exercise I joined a small team of men to compete in an army assault course, for charity. The preparation involved some running and general fitness. My first 500m training run found me leaning over a wall, being sick. Despite the set back I carried on and our team won!
I started entering 10k road races in the region and slowly progressed form page 5 in the results to the first page, yes I had the running bug, racing at least once a month reaching a personal best of 36m 36 secs at the Percy Pud 10k. I progressed onto half marathon races and eventually the London Marathon in April 1997. I trained out of a magazine and joined a local NSPCC marathon group. I completed the race in 3hrs 20mins, which was a fantastic experience.
After the marathon, my half marathon race finishing time was stuck at 1hr 32mins, so I joined Doncaster and Stainforth AC in October 1997 and never looked back. That winter I trained with the club elite group, which was hard including a mile and half speed sessions with 2mins rest, 600m repetitions in Sandall Wood and 16 miles long run-on Sunday mornings. I ran the Doncaster half marathon in April 1998 finishing in 1hr 22mins, I was delighted!
I started competing for the club after that, regional relays, cross country, everything although I was never drawn to the track. I trained on the local pit tips and motorway bridges, a bit of an Alf Tupper (for those old enough).
The pinnacle of my career was promotion to Superintendent, a much sought-after rank and I was posted to the Force Operations in Sheffield as Task Force Commander. I was in charge of all the elite policing elements of the force, including firearms, public order, dogs, search, mounted and the force helicopter. I was licensed as silver commander in public order, firearms, vip protection and chemical biological commands, at one stage training with the SAS at Porton Down. I joined the force cross country team, eventually taking over the team leadership, after 4 years of hard racing and training I won the regional vets trophy.
I have been lucky enough to retire at the age of 52 years, after a fantastic policing career and now after 17 years of retirement I have been club chairman for over ten years. My previous experience of managing large budgets, managing change and working in a team with others, has given me natural skills of a chairman, although I am still learning about different aspects of athletics every day. My proudest moment so far was 2019 when the club won Athletic Club of The Year, against 324 clubs throughout the country!
The challenge now, is the future of the club and how to manage succession in a number of roles, not to mention mine. I think about this all the time, there is no easy answer although I am in good health (still out running 3 times a week as 70yrs approaches) the club does need member support in everything we do. There is a new chairman out there somewhere, just a question of time……….
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