THE 1950S

Frank Staniforth's road running legacy endured and within a few years Hull Harriers had the largest Road Section in the country, fielding fifteen competitors in the 1954 Doncaster to Sheffield Marathon. The club was guided through the 1950s by Arthur Nendick who - apart from being Hon Secretary throughout most of the decade - made a speciality out of longer distance racing as a veteran.

Dennis Briggs joined after making a name for himself as a runner during National Service at the end of the 1940s. The decade also saw the rise of Dave Plewes, Peter Jarvis, Frank Lucop Fred Fussle and Harry Benson amongst others, many of whom went on to win Yorkshire Cross-Country Honours and captain the club. In 1958 Geoff Monaghan won the club's first Yorkshire Individual title and two years earlier the Ferriby '10' road race had been opened up to other clubs. Indeed, the 1950s really saw the club widen its activities in terms of track and field and road running as well as its traditional cross-country. However, the conflicting demands of such a wide spread of activities sometimes caused problems.

In earlier decades, when cross-country was the main raison d'etre , activities were quite clearly defined. Although the club still made a major event of opening the cross-country season with a first run in September and wrapped it up with a the final run the following March, an increasing number of club members ran on the road or competed in track and field events throughout the summer. Whilst many members competed in all three areas a sizeable number preferred to specialise in one or the other and the conflict of interest this generated was sometimes a source of friction. Moreover, during the 1950s the traditional Saturday afternoon paper-chases came under growing pressure for a number of reasons. The increasing number of road race fixtures took some runners elsewhere whilst the growing number of people working a five rather than five and a half day week meant that Saturday morning was sometimes a more practical time for people with young families to train. More and more houses were built across former agricultural land in West Hull and Haltemprice where many chases had traditionally taken place whilst the practice of hares laying the trail almost when and where they liked was difficult to maintain as landowners and farmers increasingly complained about trespassing. Paper-chases had to be planned more carefully in advance and this took away some of the spontaneity. The uncertainty surrounding the legality of laying traditional paper trails under the new Anti-Litter legislation of the late 1950s was probably the final straw and Hull Harriers ceased paper chasing in the early 1960s. As the working week became shorter the Saturday afternoon training session gradually faded in importance and many races are, of course, now run on Sundays. East Hull Harriers have remained true to the old tradition and have maintained Saturday afternoon paper chases into the New Millenium.

But during the 1950s, however, races were still run on a Saturday afternoon and, as many people still worked a five and a half day week, training had to be fitted in when and where possible. Most road running, and even racing, was done in ordinary canvas tennis shoes. A not untypical training schedule for one of the club's top distance road runners at that time would be either a race on a Saturday afternoon, usually after a morning at work and lunch, or else a twenty mile training run. This was followed by a ten-mile outing on a Sunday and eight or ten mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday club nights. Such outings were generally straightforward runs without the benefit of speedwork sessions such as intervals or fartlek.