Part 5: 1977/78

Written by Arthur Evans, c.1985, in the Club Magazine Issue 7

I will try to carry on with the history of the Club from where John Heaford left off at the beginning of 1976.

From the beginning we kept a meticulous account of the Club records, updating them every week: the first records were naturally not very good, but kept improving. John Heaford also made lists of athletes who reached AAA standards. We were still recruiting youngsters at an alarming rate, but also the drop-out rate kept apace.

The track matches flourished with the youngsters being accommodated at the Gatley Track Matches for Young Athletes, the whole Club competing at Stockport, Stretford and Salford. We entered the Warington Knock Out competition every year, and in 1977 and 1978 we reached the final, due to big turn-outs and good performances, but in each final at the end of the season, we had a poor turn-out due to holidays and end of season drop-offs.

We joined newly formed Cheshire Track League 1977, which provided good competition, but the club who could cover all age groups and all events came off best. John Heaford had a system of Team Managers where each age group had its own Team Manager. Seven or eight were needed altogether, this worked for about two years. In the Cheshire relays the Girls won the Under 15 4 × 100m relay, and the Club won this for the next three years. The Under 13 Girls won the Cheshire 3 × 800m relay in 7m 50.0 (J Morgan, H Duncan and W Haworth), which at the time was a national record, as it was a new event. We won a “Wardman” Trophy at Kirby which was a complete programme of relays.

During 1977 and 1978 we had the services of Alan Buckley (Holmfirth Harriers) who ran for us second claim. Seniors were still slow in coming in, Pete Roberts being the only sprinter to join, but John Wellwood and Brian Norris came to us from Manchester A.C. when that club merged with Manchester M&D. A young jogger named Con Jones also appeared in late 1977.

A film night and Trophy Evening was held every November, when the awards for the track season and the previous cross-country season were presented. We tried to get a celebrity each time and in 1975 we had Dr Ron Hill of marathon fame and in 1977 Sharon Colyear of Stretford.

An athlete named Christine James was second in the Women’s AAA Under 17 Long Jump Championship, and to this day claims she actually won it! She confidently went forward for her medal only to be told that she had tied with Kim Hagger (1984 Olympic pentathlete) – official protests were lodged, but she finished in second place.

The cross-country season on 1977 saw he Girls strike gold in the Cheshire Under 13s – we had 3, 4, 6 and 7, won the team title and four girls ran for Cheshire. We joined the newly formed Cheshire Cross Country League and also the Manchester Cross Country League,

Early in 1978 the Club took part in the first Cheshire Indoors Competition which we won, and half the Club went on to represent Cheshire Indoors at Ron Pickering’s Sports Centre – Cheshire won again.

As a result of the 1977 efforts and publicity, the Macclesfield Forest Round Table gave us a large donation, which together with the proceeds of a sponsored run, enabled us to purchase the present high jump equipment, which arrived in about March 1978.

We even entered a team in the 1978 National at Roundhay Park, Leeds. We probably finished last but for the record the team was Brian Morris, Brian Kemp, Andrew Smallman, Paul Carroll, Peter Smallman, Con Jones and non-scorer myself [ED: Arthur Evans must have been about 50 at this time!].

Why did Andrew Street give up running for the high jump? When did Andy Heathcote and Tom Parker come onto the scene? See the next edition.