Athletics greats recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Former marathon international Mel Edwards and coach John Powell, who has guided the likes of Phillips Idowu and James Ellington, included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Myles and Mel

Former marathon international Mel Edwards (pictured above with his son Myles) has been awarded an MBE for services to athletics and charity, while prolific sprint coach John Powell is to receive an MBE for services to athletics.

Former Welsh Athletics chairwoman Lynette Harries has also been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and will receive an MBE for services to athletics in Wales.

Edwards, who had a marathon best of 2:18:24 and was second reserve for Britain at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, has dedicated his life to competing and coaching and is the longest-serving member of the Aberdeen Amateur Athletics Club.

Having completed 100,000 career-running miles several years ago, he was diagnosed with myeloma, which is a form of bone marrow cancer.

He has since gone on to raise money for charity and last year completed his “70 at 70” – a 70-minute run on his 70th birthday. At the time he told AW, “I am delighted that it went well and look forward to doing 80 at 80!”

Also receiving an MBE  is coach Powell who, in his nearly 40 years of coaching, has guided athletes including Phillips Idowu, Chris Lambert, James Ellington, David Bolawinwa, Dwayne Grant and Edmond Admaning.

He is also known for Met-Track, a scheme which he set up as a police superintendent to use sport to reduce anti-social behaviour and offending by young people across London. It has recently been boosted by assistance from the National Lottery’s Big Lottery Fund.

On receiving the honour, he said: “It was completely out of the blue. I thought it was a tax return as it the envelope had ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ on it. I was blown away by it.

“It’s a massive honour,” he continued. “I always thought the honours were for the Jessica Ennises and David Beckhams of this world so to be included myself is something else.”

Harries receives her MBE for services to athletics in Wales, having been involved with the sport in Wales all her life.

Following her competition days, Harries went on to hold many positions with Welsh Athletics (formerly WWAAA), eventually becoming chairwoman.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours list is the second of two lists published each year, the first being the New Year honours list which in 2013 included London 2012 Olympic champions Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford among those to receive honours.

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