The 1990s

During the early 1990s the club was involved in as wider range of athletic competitions as it had ever been. Apart from the track and field, cross-country, Champagne League and club races a large number of external road races were available each year, both locally and across the country. In order to try and concentrate efforts for the road and country section a Pounds for Points system was introduced in 1992 under the captaincy of Mike Lake. 

Under this system points were awarded according to finishing position in specified key races and for a time this helped encourage a concentration of effort. Other runners who came to the forefront in the late 1980s and early 1990s included Paul Marlin, John Redmond and Adrian Hill.

A number of senior runners performed extremely well during this period including Erik Seedhouse and Andy Lyons. Seedhouse, a former paratrooper, who had run some extremely fast marathons in the mid-1980s turned increasingly to ultra-distance events later in the decade. In 1989, he won the London to Brighton Race and finished sixth in the Duluth 100k. During this stage of his running career he had a string of victories including the South London Harriers '30' in 1990, the Barry '40', the Lincoln 50km and the Vanersborg 50km in Sweden. In 1991 he won the AAA 100km and by the middle of 1992, he was averaging between 120 and 130 miles per week and ranked eighth in the world 100km all time list with a pb of 6 hours 33 minutes.

Andy Lyons, who started his running career when at Cottingham School, joined City of Hull A.C. and went on to Loughborough University. Whilst there he began to be coached by City of Hull's Trevor Therkelson and won the British University Cross-Country title and the Northern Counties 5000 metres. He competed in the World Student Games in Sheffield in 1991. In 1992 he won a number of races including the Overton International Five Mile in 23.27. but in July that year, pulled on a British vest for the first time in the Welsh Games at Cwmbran, finishing fourth in the 3000 metres behind two Kenyans and an Australian.

Mike Lakeand Brian Ward in action on the road
Mike Lakeand Brian Ward in action
on the road

The Senior men's Track and Field Team who were promoted to Division One in the Northern Men's League consolidated their position over the following couple of seasons finishing 3 rd in 1994. The changes in the club's structure in the late 1980s and the hard work of the coaches seemed to have helped develop talent throughout the ranks. The club was enjoying one of its best periods of success although in 1994 the retiring track and field manager Captain, Mark Ding still felt this represented an under-achievement given the talent theoretically available by that time. Indeed, the diffusion of effort across a wide range of events coupled with the reluctance of some athletes, especially those Senior members with family commitments, to travel far on a weekend was a perennial problem for many clubs. In some years the club failed, as it had on occasions in earlier decades, to turn out teams in key events such as the Northern and National Cross-Country Championships, despite the sterling efforts of Captain Pat Howdle, the former Olympic Biathlete who had joined from East Hull Harriers in the early 1990s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official programme
Official programme

In the meantime the club's veteran performances continued to improve. Since the 1970s an increasing number of road and cross-country runners continued to compete after they had achieved veteran status on their fortieth birthday. In the 1980s, for example, Pete Flatman ran a number of sub-50 minute ten mile road races on becoming a veteran. Increasing participation by veterans of all ages was a national as well as a local trend and is a most positive physical manifestation of the Sport for All concept, although it has meant that there has sometimes been a shortage of officials for some events as many have been competing instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another picture of the Wales Camp in the 1980
Another picture of the Wales Camp in the 1980s

By the time many runners reached veteran status their families have grown up and a number probably have more time to train and race. Some of those, who took advantage of the trend towards early retirement in the later 1980s and 1990s, have really been able to capitalise on this situation to become formidable over 50 year old competitors, and Steve James is perhaps the best example of this. Steve, who joined the club from Southport Harriers when his wife took up a post at Hull University had already taken early retirement before moving to the area. He had been a formidable competitor in the 1950s, winning the Oxford Mile, the year after Roger Bannister ran under four minutes in 1954. Steve held a string of veteran records and won a host of titles before and after joining the club. He took the Yorkshire Veteran 50 cross-country title in 1992 and 1993. In 1995 he took the over 55 title and was in fact first finisher in the over 50s competition. He rounded of the year at the World veteran's Championships in Buffalo, taking Gold in the 10,000 metres, Bronze in the 5,000 metres whilst finishing fourth in the cross-country and sixth in the cross-country. Unfortunately, for the club, his wife's career took him back to Lancashire that year and he rejoined Southport Waterloo who he has continued to represent on the national veteran stage although he continued to join the City of Hull training camp in the Peak District during several summers and maintains his links with the local runners.

 

 

A Run from Peter Jarvis's House on Boxing Day in the 1980s
A Run from Peter Jarvis's House on Boxing Day in the 1980s

The later 1990s also saw the rise and rise of Darren Bilton. Darren had made a promising mark as a Junior and young senior but had drifted away from competitive running for some time before making a comeback. In 1996 he finished third in the Ferriby 10 with a time of 51.13, some three seconds behind Paul Marlin and by 1999 had taken up the Marathon in a most focused fashion, finishing 38 th overall in the London in 2.21.34, following that performance in November with victory in the Roundhay Park 5 mile with a time of 24.56. As a result he was selected for the North of England in an inter-area match in Portsmouth, finishing fourth counter in his team with a time of 24.36.