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Oswestry Olympians are in the process of transferring all of the existing information, records and club information to this new website. While this process takes place, if you can't find what you're looking for you may be able to find it on this legacy copy of the old club website - click here.

Oswestry Olympians

History & Tributes (6)

Club History & Tributes

Monday, 14 January 2013 17:41

Club History

Oswestry Olympians are unique - we are the only club that are members of both English and Welsh Athletics. Our members straddle the English/Welsh border and compete in Championships both sides of Offa’s Dyke, and can choose the national affiliation they need.

We were founded by the legendary Doug Morris, and other local athletes in November 1980. The catalyst for the formation was that Park Hall Stadium was being passed back to local use by the Royal Artillery and Infantry as they ended their years based in Oswestry. (Park Hall encampment had once housed over 14,000 troops during WW1). The Stadium had an athletics track, which was in a state of disrepair. Through investment by the kind local Councils of the time and hard work by volunteers, it was brought up to standard with an all-weather micro-gravel surface, and athletics was able to take place there again.

The new club had both junior and senior members. The timing also neatly coincided with the arrival of jogging as a leisure activity, which the club embraced, together with athletics, road, cross-country and fell running.

The club colours were decided as black to represent the industrial, railways and mining legacy of the area, red for Wales and white for Peace.

The club grew in popularity and the junior section began competing in Sports Hall athletics under the coaching of Andy Knott and Arnie and Kathy Wray. The club was so successful, that they won the Shropshire Sports Hall Championship for 10 years in a row, between 1993 and 2003. An amazing achievement given that the competition involved the much larger clubs of Telford AC and Shrewsbury AC.  Our juniors compete in Athletics Leagues, consistently manage to get members to English Schools Championships and some also go on to compete at a junior level for their respective home nations.

Doug Morris also launched a series of popular road and fell races over the years; including Oswestry 10 miles, Park Hall 5k, Ellesmere 10k, Gyrn Gallop, Mynydd Myfyr and the famous Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon. Any funds raised from these races were always donated to local good causes (That was Doug!). There was usually always a race for youngsters included too, which allowed a family feel to his events.

The club competes in the North Wales Cross Country League (5 meetings over the region during Autumn/Winter). The league has grown over the years to become a challenging competition for runners of all ages and abilities. Oswestry Olympians traditionally host the last (prize giving) race meeting in February, where as many members as possible are encouraged to either run or marshall, set up/down or help serve teas

Between 1990-2000 the club came under the Chairmanship of the phenomenal Mick Ward. Mick had been British Amateur Cycling Champion the late 1950’s, and had recently retired to our area and taken up running too - in his fifties. Mick was so good he still holds many club records over the age of 50. Some of his age group records are better than senior age group times!

In 2003, many Olympian members were also competing in the growing sport of Triathlon, so OO Tri section was formed so they could compete without having to join another club. The club has had great success (they do train very hard) as OO Tri athletes have competed in national championships and been selected to represent Great Britain on many occasions all over the world. Members have competed in Ironman events and have qualified and competed for the World Championships in Hawaii. There is a very active junior section here, coached by senior members.

The club had hoped to install a proper athletics track surface at Park Hall in the early 2000’s, and began raising funds and lobbying local councils. Despite being an incredibly successful club in Shropshire at the time, Oswestry was not deemed ‘demographically important’ within the county, and instead a track was installed in Shrewsbury.

Use of Park Hall Stadium track was lost around 2006 (the local Town Council had sold off the stadium and land to TNS Football Club). Despite many years happy previous co-existence between Oswestry Olympians and Oswestry Town FC (one of the very oldest in the world, founded in 1860), they had run into financial difficulties and folded. The closest local club TNS, merged with their remnants, bought and took possession of the stadium and embarked on re-development. To accommodate an artificial football pitch, the track was trashed.  Oswestry Olympians currently goes to either Wrexham or Shrewsbury for track training sessions.

Still, we are extremely fortunate… we have the beautiful North Shropshire and Welsh border country to go running in!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 11:23

John Rowlands - A Tribute

Sadly, John Rowlands passed away on Saturday 16th January 2010 aged 61.

Most probably many current Olympians would not have met John but may recognize his name from the many club records he still holds from 20 years ago. Those Olympians lucky enough to have known him will agree that he was so much more than a great runner - just ask Gordon, John Richards or Margaret next time you see them. He earned everyone's respect and was a man whose opinions were always worth listening to. He also possessed a mischievous sense of humour and a depth of local knowledge which was second to none. His commitment to his family despite his illness was so unselfish, so typical of John; he never ever made a fuss or looked for any sympathy. He just got on with the job of being-John.  

I was lucky enough to have known John for 30 years during which time we must have run thousands of miles together over the hills and country lanes around Oswestry. However, I will remember John not just as a runner but as a best mate, someone I could rely on for help and advice, someone whose character was like no other. It was only over the last few months that John became too ill to run but he still lived every day to its fullest.

A truly great man and friend John we will all miss you so much.

Written by Steve Nicholls

In 2003 - the target was simple, by running a Club (Seniors and Juniors) Relay around the Park Hall running track, the aim was to beat Paula Radcliffes world marathon record of 2:15::25 which was set in London 13th Apr 2003 and to raise oodles of cash for the club track fund.

 

The first leg was shared between  Doug Morris Club Life President and Junior Olympian Kezia Ogden and then after that mixed groups of athletes ran in 15 Lap batch relay legs varying from 50m - 200m legs depending on age and ability.

This was no mean challenge, running over105 Laps of the track !

Approximately 123 Club Members either ran or helped out in some way on the day.

And did we do do it ?

The club achieved a time of 1 hour 54 Minutes and 28 seconds and raised well over £2,000 in sponsorship.

See the attached team photo and see if you recognise any faces who were proud to say that they were there on the day that Oswestry Olympians beat Paula Radcliffe. 

     

 

Attached is a hand scripted list from Margaret Morris, of the Oswestry Olympians who finished the Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon back in 1998.

I few familiar names from the past and a few still running ! 

 

16th May 1982 - the date of the first Oswestry Olympians 10 Mile Road Race.

50p to enter or £1 if you entered on the day !  196 Runners took up the challenge.

The race was won by R. O'Hara of Sparkhill Harriers in a very respectable   50min and 7 secs

First Oswestry was Chris Hall in 57 min 14 secs.

First Oswestry Lady Margaret Webb 65 Mins and 9 secs.

 

There was also a fun run classification for Non -Club Runners.

Soon to be club runners mentioned are Leon. Dallow, Gordon. Manson, Mike. Harrington and  Ian. Watkins !!

 

Monday, 29 May 2017 19:19

Mick Ward on tour

Hi Dave,

I wondered if these photos and results might provide  interest and inspiration  on the Olympians Facebook page, Olympians Club Records and the Olympians History and Tributes page on the club website.  Mick's result, at the World Vets 25km Road Racing Championships, was not publicised at the time, nor was it recorded in the Club records as computers were not being used as extensively as now.

In July 1994, Mick and I travelled to Canada where Mick took part in the World Vets 25k Running Championships.  Mick won Bronze in the V60 category,  in a time of 1h.38min.16secs,  on a hot 31st July, beaten by the famous Ed Whitlock. The GB team also won Bronze in the event.  Mick is pictured in his Oswestry vest on Ed Whitlock's heels at 17km, and in the  GB Team photo receiving Bronze Medals .

 Mick Ward 1

We have  a few other photos of this event and about 100 photos of our trip to Canada which also involved a canoe/camping trip in La Mauricie National Park.

 

Barbara

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