How it all began
It began one evening when I met John Tedder at a church PCC meeting. With great pride, he showed me a London Marathon medal he had won the previous Sunday. I was very taken with it, as he was the same age as me-45. It inspired me to have a go despite having a cycle racing background, not running. So I started training. Some weeks later, at a village meeting, I told Bob Rutland and Graham Turner of my ambition. They were also inspired and we started training together. Then we were soon joined by Norman McNicoll.
We learned that we were more likely to get accepted if you were an AAA (Amateur Athletics Association) club so we decided to form a club. We met at Graham’s house for a meeting and as I was the only one with a briefcase, I was elected General Secretary. We all put in £5, registered with the AAA and TAC was born in October 1981.
We were joined soon after by a group of runners from Ron the Rocket’s running class at Banstead baths and the club grew. We entered the 1982 marathon by driving up to London and posting our entries at the main post office at 12.01 am. We were the first to enter and we all got in. Geoff Burrows (a cycling friend of mine) worked in the Murco garage and his boss had a very old coach who said he would drive us all to the start with our families and collect us after the event for £26.
Mad Training Runs
Whilst training for the marathon, Geoff B, Graham Turner and I thought we would like a long run. So one Saturday morning we ran from Tadworth, through Reigate, past Crawley to the top of Pease Pottage. We thought that was about 26 miles-it wasn’t. Truddi, Geoff’s wife, who was following in a car with my daughter, said it was only 25. So Geoff ran back down the hill and up again.
Another crazy run was when 4 of us ran from Tadworth to Kingston, then along the river to Hampton Court, to Esher, Clayagate, Tolworth and then Epsom in around 3 hours.
The Tadworth Ten
This came about when I was on The Church of the Good Shepherd PCC and we were very short of cash (nothing new) so I suggested a running race to raise funds. Despite not knowing much about how to go about it, we agreed to have it on New Year’s Day so I could use the church hall and canteen with church members acting as marshalls. We didn’t have a marked 10 mile course so we borrowed a measuring wheel. Geoff laid in the boot of my car and I drove around Tadworth until we covered 10 miles. Ernie Illies, a local timekeeper, agreed to time the event and once again Geoff Burrows came up trumps. He had a friend who had a race pace car with all the flashing lights which could lead the race from outside the church, around the course and to the finish in The Avenue. We advertised the event at £2, with prizes Bob and I had scrounged from Shinner’s in Sutton.
We thought we might get 100 runners. 600 turned up and Tadworth was shut down. It poured with rain and the plastic finish results board ran in the rain, causing lots of the results to just melt away. So Graham and I made lots of the times up. Nobody complained and we made over £1,000 profit. The following year, TAC took over the running of the event.