Club night makes its first visit to Yorkshire

Spenborough & District AC was founded in the summer of 1965. It was originally part of Airedale and Spen Valley Athletics Club, which was based in Bradford, and it did not include females. However, a number of girls training at the Princess Mary athletics track asked their parents if they would form a club for them. Before the club was registered, a few boys asked if they could also join and the new club was then registered with the Northern women’s and men’s athletics associations.

As there were no track and field leagues at this time, competition was sought by going to trophy meetings in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Cross-country running was another form of competition, but there was only a men’s cross country association and to accommodate the girls and women a few clubs from Yorkshire and Lancashire got together and formed the Northern Women’s Cross Country and Road Running Association. The first meeting was held at Spenborough, running around a golf course and the former coal tips which covered the area. In 1970 a stand was constructed at the track and by 1974 the club become one of the few in the country to have a synthetic “tartan” track.


The new all-weather track gave the club athletes an opening to better competition and brought a number of good athletes to the club, including Peter Crampton, who won the European junior title over 400m. He went on to be a member of the GB 4x400m squad and ran in the 400m hurdles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

The club enters teams in local and area track and field competitions as well as cross-country and road races. Besides hosting area and local league meetings, the club also organises two road races and two open track and field meetings and has revived its open cross-country races this year. The club is currently thriving with more than 300 members. It manages the stadium on Monday and Thursday training nights, thanks to club secretaries Marjorie Bain and Julie Aspindle arranging a rota to collect fees from members as they arrive.


On the floodlit track, the sprinting groups are out first doing their warm-up and drills under the direction of Stuart Hall. Nearby, Ian Horsley takes some younger sprinters through their drills. Meanwhile, near to the hammer and discus cage, the club’s throwers, pleased the lighter nights are now here which gives them the opportunity to throw on to the infield, do their medicine ball training as well as conditioning work under the direction of Steve Anthony and Sheila Bolland.

Many of the middle and long-distance runners train out of the stadium on a Monday, running on the paths and hills in the Spen Valley. Jackie Carter arranges many of the seniors into groups and sorts the routes.

A group of older teenagers, under the direction of Debbie Rowlands, run intervals or repetitions on the track, while the older runners, led by Kevin Ogden and Mick Dransfield, do intervals.

The club has three development groups for young athletes aged from 8-16 years. Chris Drake supervises a group of older children through various disciplines, while development coaches Tracey Mitchell, Frank Reddington, Emma Rawnsley and Jake Darby arrange a variety of sessions for the younger children.

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