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St Helens Sutton
Athletic Club

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St Helens Sutton Athletic Club

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St Helens Sutton Athletic Club

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News Archives 2004
Jan Feb

February 2004 News

County Call Up

It's been confirmed the club has at least eight runners representing Merseyside in the inter-counties championships at Nottingham next month. Steve Mayers and Greg Williams run in the junior race, James Farghar and Dave Forrester compete in the under 15 event while Ben Clough, Peter Knowles and John Dumbell are in the under 13 squad. Merseyside Junior champion Laura Davenport also competes and we are awaiting news about Chloe Wilson, Sara McLoughlin and Zoe Woodward who are in the girls' squads from which the teams will be selected. Dave Twigg will represent Cheshire.


Ian White and Julia Eccleston have won the club's internal cross country championships according to provisional calculations. Ian's last two runs at Stockport and Leeds enabled him him to surge past long time leader, Barry Graney and win by four points. Ian Hayburn, who ran so splendidly at the National was third. Cecilia Fitzsimons finished second in the women's competition with Louise Casey third. Greg Williams defeated Barry Cunliffe and Steve Mayers for the junior men's award with Laura Davenport taking the junior women's title.

Coaching : Track and Field 2004.

The coaching strategy sub-committee met on Wednesday 20 February and agreed a formula for structural change in track and field coaching provision during 2004. The changes will be announced before the end of March after consultation with all coaches, parents and athletes. The commitment of the club to community development was confirmed. The importance of track discipline was emphasised and the diversity of quality training groups was approved. Subject to the agreement of the Committee as a whole, awards for Sports Hall athletics will  be incorporated into the annual awards for young athletes.

The club confirmed its strategy as a championship orientated club with League teams acting as the competitive vehicles through which individual and collective development is achieved. Training remains based on the enjoyment of participation and skill acquisition. Team selection and team managerial policies were approved, financial support underscored and recruitment of coaches solidified. Initial figures indicate the club has in excess of 150 athletes eligible for competition in the Cheshire, Young Athletes and Junior Leagues, a rise of between 600% & 800% in less than two years and a tribute to the club's success and its growing links with St Helens MBC and local schools.

Merseyside Squad

In addition to the four athletes automatically selected for the inter-counties the additional runners below are in the squad and may make the team depending on their performances in the National ; Tony Smith, Greg Williams, Steve Mayers, Mike Burke, John Dumbell. Good luck in the National lads.

League Venues:

We have agreed to stage the National Young Athletes Meeting scheduled for Cleckheaton on 18 July at Warrington and have agreed to do so. Please note the date as we shall be calling on your services. The Northern League divisions have been confirmed and venues will be confirmed shortly.

February Committee Meeting

The February Committee Meeting will be held on Thursday 26 February at the slightly
earlier time of 8.15 p.m.

Representative Honours:

Laura Davenport
, Chloe WilsonSara McLoughlin and Zoe Woodward have been included in the Merseyside cross country team for the Inter-Counties cross country championships at Nottingham on Saturday 7 Feburary. Laura's place is automatic but final selections for the other three places will be determined by results from the National cross country championships at Leeds on 21 February. The boys' squads will not be chosen until next week but the following athletes are guaranteed places by virtue of finishing in the top four  Ben Clough, Dave Forrester, Peter Knowles, and James Farghar.

National Cross Country Championships: Leeds

We are travelling to the National by cars this year. Some are making arrangements to stay overnight and others will be travelling on the day. Ray Vose is organising the senior, junior and under 17 men's teams, John Irwin and Phil Thomas are sorting out the youngsters. Please direct your enquiries to the appropriate organiser.

News From Committee:

London Marathon:

The Committee has confirmed that the club's entries for the London Marathon will be open to all eligible members of one year's standing whose subscriptions are up to date. On balance the Committee considered those members who take the trouble to enter the race of their own volition and are rejected should be given preference as by entering they show a commitment to participating in the event. Therefore, it is incumbent upon any member who is interested in a club place for the 2005 event to enter themselves. As per current practice, further preference will be given to club members who have not run the event before. Anyone chosen to represent the club in the Marathon may, if they wish, use the opportunity to raise sponsorship monies for the club. Members who are allocated a club place must wear a club vest. The three members selected for 2004 are Barry Graney, Janice Lawson and Ritchie Bradshaw.

National Young Athletes Road Relays:Sutton Coldfield 4 April

The club will be contesting these championships for the first time we can remember and notices have gone out to the athletes. The club will receive 20 for each marshal it can provide on the day. If you can act as a marshal on the day please let John Irwin or Phil Thomas know as soon as possible.

Young Athlete of the Year 2003:

Dave Forrester
and Vicky Johnson won the male and female young athlete of the year awards with the performance of the year award going to Dave Twigg for his three Cheshire titles and Caroline Morley for her sparkling debut over 400 metres hurdles. Caroline received the Rebecca Clague Trophy provided by the Clague family in memory of Rebecca. The Chairman's award to the volunteer of the year went to John Irwin for his non-coaching work which included setting out courses, attending many outside meetings on behalf of  the club and keeping a tight rein on the club's finances. A new award for supporter of the year went to Layla Tapley.

Coaches' Sub-Committee:

There will be a meeting of all interested coaches to review the current season and consider strategic plans for road, track and field in 2004. All coaches are welcome to the meeting at the Bull & Dog at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 18 February at 7.30.p.m.

Sports Hall:

Following a successful first season at Level 2 the Committee has decided that, with effect from September, Roseanne Hutchinson and Joe Ehlen will take on full responsibility for the organisation of the Sports Hall teams including transport to venues. They will formulate  the strategic developmental plan for a seamless transition from Sports Hall athletics to outdoor track and field through programmes for individual athletes.

Chairman of the AAA

The club has decided to support George Bunner for the vacant post of Chairman of the AAA in succession to Dave Cropper. George, a founder member of Frodsham Harriers is a former AAA's Junior 880 yards champion and English Schools' medallist. He created Sports Hall athletics and gave it to the children of the world.

Selection Coordination:

The Committee has decided that representatives at all external selection meetings must coordinate their policies with the Executive Committee beforehand to prevent any conflict of interests arising. This decision is consequent upon the club's athlete-oriented policy of personal development and team building both of which remain essential to the club's future success.

Sutton 5K Road Race and Fun Run:

Entries are well ahead of last year's figures and anyone who hasn't yet sent their form is urged to do so as soon as possible. Janet Holmes is waiting to process them. Please remember entries on the day will only be permitted if the 250 limit for each race has not been reached.

Making History:

Charles Gaines of LPS recently gave the club a copy of an article written for Pembroke's club magazine by Tom Fillingham. Tom was a member of the Sutton Harriers team which won the National cross country championship in 1947, 1949, 1950 and 1951 and finished second in 1948. He was also Assistant Secretary of the club in 1951 when he explained Sutton's formula for cross country supremacy.

Tom wrote that Sutton did not have a secret training method. The team didn't train together all the time. What they did do was work hard in training according to their abilities and needs. The key to Sutton's success was its team-spirit, "the friendly camerarderie which (exists) in our team." Teams rarely achieve success where runners lack pride in their club or speak "disparagingly of their club and committee."

But a team can only succeed when it can be confident it can rely on each individual member to get their head down to work for the rest of the team. The team was apparently out of the medals in 1948 when the last of the three mile laps started but encouraged by a vocal set of supporters the lads came through strongly to finish only 20 points behind Belgrave and take the silver medals. "All the training in the world does not make a team a success; that depends on self-motivation, ambition, hard work and the support of 'a fine body of officials'".

Tom recalled how in 1947 they met for an emergency committee meeting on the night before the National which was held at Apsley in Hertfordshire. It was the year of the great snow and all the roads in the Midlands were blocked so they decided to take the night train even though the club only had eight runners one of whom had a severe cold and another was only eighteen.

It's perhaps worth recalling that they didn't sleep much on the train and tried to get a few hours rest in a factory near the course. When Joe Binks, the respected athletics correspondent of the News of The World heard their story he said, "Sorry lads you've no chance". Tom noted, "As you all know, we went and we won; and it is that same team spirit that has kept us going since."

As Tom reminded his readers, "We have very few crack runners in the team and only one has held a Northern title but we do have runners who have the guts, determination and will to win." He also provided a racing hint which is as valid today as when he wrote it 52 years ago. "When running distance I find it fatal to look too far ahead, just get your nose in the right direction, keep your eyes on the ground twenty or thirty yards ahead and the miles will roll by". Good advice. Try it at the National.

National Appointments:

Grade one field event official Roger McCall has been appointed to officiate in three National events this year. Roger will be at the Gateshead Grand Prix on 27 June, a clerk    of the course at the AAA's Seniors on 10 July and at the AAA Under 17 on 14 August.   Many congratulations.