History: Club, McLeod, Lillington, Burns

Elswick Harriers

 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 Frank Melville (2nd from right, front row)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 – 1909 being without peer in the North of England.

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 five-mile Memorial Road Race 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.      

 Alex Burns (leading the way) 10,000m, Los Angeles 1932

js29855339

140210D_014

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 – Moscow, 1984 – Los Angeles and 1988 – Seoul) . Now the club’s president, here are just some of his athletic achievements: His crowning achievement came in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 10,000 meters final where he won  SILVER (Had justice been sought, Mike would have won GOLD).  TWICE GOLD MEDALLIST at the equivalent of the now, World Championships. BRONZE MEDALLIST at the Commonwealth Games. TWICE WINNER of the GREAT NORTH RUN. WINNER of the National XC Championships. 16 consecutive WINS at the Saltwell 10KM road race. 5 wins at the Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race. A fantastic running career spanning over 20 years. Picture immediately below centre:  A Silver at the Los Angeles Olympics 1984. Below: The Blaydon Race: Mike at the front & along side, Elswicks other international Ieuan Ellis.Athletics - 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - Men's 10000 metres Final Great Britain's Mike McLeod celebrates his silver medal win after the race in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

mike-mcleod

 

Mike McLeod winning the Great north run
Mike McLeod winning the Great north run
Mike in full race flight mode
Mike in full race flight mode
Combative at an international track meet
Combative at an international track meet
1984 olympic final: 3rd becomes 2nd place and a place in the history books is assured
1984 olympic final: 3rd becomes 2nd place and a place in the history books is assured

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *