Elswick Harriers are the oldest established athletic club in the North East of England having been founded in 1889. In the same year, the Amateur Athletic Associations recommended rules become compulsory for all athletics in Britain.
The clubs first Head Quarters were in the Chesterfield Arms on Elswick Road before moving to the Black Bull in Stanhope Street. Over the years the club has had various bases before finally in 1994 settling at Newburn Activity Centre, Grange Road, Newburn. The club competes in both local and national competitions and are always actively seeking new members of all ages and abilities. This photo is credited as being taken in 1902 and shows the trophy we still use for club champion. It appears to look like a Victorian pub and the trophy was donated by Mr. McConnachie (landlord of the Grey Bull at the bottom of Stanhope St) the club’s second home. Elswick Harriers have had many famous characters in their long history with Frank Melville being the first famous name winning the 1908 Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race, and in the years 1907 –
The 1920’s were a golden age for the club despite the harsh economic times with many of the poorer runners struggling to afford a pair of sandshoes. It was during this period that Norman Woodcock started running for the harriers, but it was only when he retired that he came to prominence in the club, and it was largely down to this man that the club survived after the Second World War. As one member said of him: “Norman Woodcock was Elswick” A Memorial Run Event is now held in his memory. The 1930’s produced the great Alex Burns (pictured below left: The 1936 Olympics in Berlin, here is Alex, LEADING the 10,000 metres final and centre picture is Alex in his 90’s). Alex represented his country over 5000 and 10000 metres at the 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin Olympics. A truly wonderful athlete, Alex sadly past away at the grand old age of 95 in May 2003.
The great Alan Lillington pictured above right, at the clubs 125 year celebration evening at the mansion house, Jesmond, represented Great Britain in the 100 metres. Alan reached the 2nd round of the 100 yards, only pipped to the line by the eventual winner & gold medallist. Mike McLeod has been a member of our club since 1966. An Elswick Harrier who combined talent, sheer hard work and a love of running to become a THREE TIME OLYMPIAN (1980 –