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Oswestry Olympians are in the process of transferring all of the existing information, records and club information to this new website. While this process takes place, if you can't find what you're looking for you may be able to find it on this legacy copy of the old club website - click here.

Monday, 14 January 2013 17:41

Club History

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Oswestry Olympians are unique - we are the only club that are members of both English and Welsh Athletics. Our members straddle the English/Welsh border and compete in Championships both sides of Offa’s Dyke, and can choose the national affiliation they need.

We were founded by the legendary Doug Morris, and other local athletes in November 1980. The catalyst for the formation was that Park Hall Stadium was being passed back to local use by the Royal Artillery and Infantry as they ended their years based in Oswestry. (Park Hall encampment had once housed over 14,000 troops during WW1). The Stadium had an athletics track, which was in a state of disrepair. Through investment by the kind local Councils of the time and hard work by volunteers, it was brought up to standard with an all-weather micro-gravel surface, and athletics was able to take place there again.

The new club had both junior and senior members. The timing also neatly coincided with the arrival of jogging as a leisure activity, which the club embraced, together with athletics, road, cross-country and fell running.

The club colours were decided as black to represent the industrial, railways and mining legacy of the area, red for Wales and white for Peace.

The club grew in popularity and the junior section began competing in Sports Hall athletics under the coaching of Andy Knott and Arnie and Kathy Wray. The club was so successful, that they won the Shropshire Sports Hall Championship for 10 years in a row, between 1993 and 2003. An amazing achievement given that the competition involved the much larger clubs of Telford AC and Shrewsbury AC.  Our juniors compete in Athletics Leagues, consistently manage to get members to English Schools Championships and some also go on to compete at a junior level for their respective home nations.

Doug Morris also launched a series of popular road and fell races over the years; including Oswestry 10 miles, Park Hall 5k, Ellesmere 10k, Gyrn Gallop, Mynydd Myfyr and the famous Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon. Any funds raised from these races were always donated to local good causes (That was Doug!). There was usually always a race for youngsters included too, which allowed a family feel to his events.

The club competes in the North Wales Cross Country League (5 meetings over the region during Autumn/Winter). The league has grown over the years to become a challenging competition for runners of all ages and abilities. Oswestry Olympians traditionally host the last (prize giving) race meeting in February, where as many members as possible are encouraged to either run or marshall, set up/down or help serve teas

Between 1990-2000 the club came under the Chairmanship of the phenomenal Mick Ward. Mick had been British Amateur Cycling Champion the late 1950’s, and had recently retired to our area and taken up running too - in his fifties. Mick was so good he still holds many club records over the age of 50. Some of his age group records are better than senior age group times!

In 2003, many Olympian members were also competing in the growing sport of Triathlon, so OO Tri section was formed so they could compete without having to join another club. The club has had great success (they do train very hard) as OO Tri athletes have competed in national championships and been selected to represent Great Britain on many occasions all over the world. Members have competed in Ironman events and have qualified and competed for the World Championships in Hawaii. There is a very active junior section here, coached by senior members.

The club had hoped to install a proper athletics track surface at Park Hall in the early 2000’s, and began raising funds and lobbying local councils. Despite being an incredibly successful club in Shropshire at the time, Oswestry was not deemed ‘demographically important’ within the county, and instead a track was installed in Shrewsbury.

Use of Park Hall Stadium track was lost around 2006 (the local Town Council had sold off the stadium and land to TNS Football Club). Despite many years happy previous co-existence between Oswestry Olympians and Oswestry Town FC (one of the very oldest in the world, founded in 1860), they had run into financial difficulties and folded. The closest local club TNS, merged with their remnants, bought and took possession of the stadium and embarked on re-development. To accommodate an artificial football pitch, the track was trashed.  Oswestry Olympians currently goes to either Wrexham or Shrewsbury for track training sessions.

Still, we are extremely fortunate… we have the beautiful North Shropshire and Welsh border country to go running in!

Read 4869 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 11:21
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