History of the Club (The First Hundred Years)
The Club was formed in 1893 under the name of Holderness Road Presbyterian Harriers, with their Headquarters in the Schoolroom at the Church. Although most of the Church was pulled down in 1972 the Schoolroom still remains, today its part of the Green Man Public House on Holderness Road. The first President was the Vicar of the Church the Rev H.P. Slade, he seemed to be a very respected figure in Presbyterian circles of the day, as he was invited to attend the opening of the Newington Presbyterian Church in West Hull 1895. The Church was according to all reports, a very large building in Yellow Brick with a seating capacity of over 1000, and important enough to have tram rails to its rear entrance.
There appears to have been many other Clubs in the town at the time Speedwell Harriers, Central Harriers, Hull Harriers, St Marks Harriers, and Stepney Harriers were all operating at the time. Some of the Clubs even staged runs on Thursday afternoons to cater for shop workers who were off work on half day closing.
The Club changed its name in 1908 to East Hull Harriers and moved along the road to the Crown which was also known as Mile House, J. McMillan was elected President, a position he was to hold till the end of the 1st World war. The Club adopted a new badge but remained faithful to the White Vest and Shorts and were known as the ‘All Whites’
The Club introduced a 20-Mile race onto the local calendar, this was acknowledged by the Northern Athletic Governing body of the day as a bold step. The 1909 race made the headlines for the wrong reasons; very hot weather greeted the runners. The previous year’s winner Fred Rumsby a plumber by trade established an early lead, and looked like repeating his win. Later in the event he started to suffer, he eventually collapsed and was taken to a doctor’s surgery in a wheelbarrow, where he passed away in the early hours of the 4th April.
He died of haemorrhage of the lungs at only 22 years of age; his Gravestone can still be seen in Western Cemetery on Chanterlands Avenue (19458 Compart.) The sad thing is that both his parents lived to a grand old age. The Club holds in its archives the medals which Rumsby won doing his short career. It wasn’t till the early fifties that the Club staged another 20-Mile race, until John George Easey picked up the threads.
In 1914 the club staged Its Coming of Age Party at. the Grovenor Hotel, Carr Lane on a grand scale.
In 1920 G. T. Wilkinson a former Hon Treasurer of the Club, was elected to the Presidency, a position he was to hold till 1958.
The Club introduced their first Club Cross Country Championship, and a collection amongst the members raised enough money to purchase The Members Cup, the first Winner was F. K. Bentley. Joe Bullamore was the first athlete to win the trophy three times on the trot, the most prolific winner of the trophy with six to date is, Peter Moon a versatile performer who won the Northern Counties 3Km Steeplechase in the 70’s. Previously the Club Championships had been staged on the road, from the Crown premises to the Chapel in Bilton and Back, the record holder for the course Fred Smales who offered a Gold Medal to the runner who beat his time, such was claimed by Dave Rudd in the 20’s.
In the mid 20’s the Club had a dispute with the Hull & District Cross Country Association, resigning their affiliation of the Association. The problem seemed to revolve round EHH’ s contention that the lap scorers had miscounted the laps, hardly surprising seeing that the course was very short for the eight mile event something in the order of forty laps had to be covered. The matter was soon resolved however, and the Club has played an active part ever since.
During the 30’s Phil. Green was elected Hon Secretary and held many positions in the Club. He was an inspiration to the youthful Arthur McAllister who Green introduced into the corridors of athletic administration. Arthur served his apprenticeship well and climbed to the very top of the sport, at this present time Arthur holds the Presidency of the British Athletic Federation, and is well respected throughout the World for his sense of fair play. McAllister has never quite been given the recognition he deserves for uniting the Mens and Womens wings of the sport, whilst making sure that the sport does not fall in the wrong hands.
The Club was on the move again in the 30’s leaving the Crown Inn to make its HQ on land rented from Mr Hakeney, Oak Tree Farm, Sutton where it remained till the early fifties when it moved to its present site in the Paddock part of the Sutton Park Golf Complex, leased from the Hull City Council.
In the early fifties Major G. H. Stone made an unusual entrance into the Club, he attended an ACM to tender his son’s apologies for absence and left as Hon. Secretary. It was not the only time George saved the day, for in the sixties when no one stood as Hon Secretary to replace Ted Beaumont, Major Stone acted in this important capacity for a year.
In 1957 the Club changed its colours from the traditional white vest to red, but retained the white shorts.
Many Clubs failed to understand the ‘Litter Act’ when it was introduced in the 60s, but the Club organized its activities round the new law, and still lays paper trails on Saturday afternoons during the Winter Months. It would be hard to break the tradition that was set from the formation, and carried out so successfully by the likes of Alan Wiillerton, & Dicky Dobson, who both spent 50 years in the sport, passing their art on to Bill Hearfield, Ted Lawson, Guy Buckley, Colin Young, Brian Smith, Bill Rands, Pete Harrison etc.
Ben Hooson was probably the first Club athlete to try Ultra distance, when he participated in the Butlin Walk 1960 Land’s End to John ‘0’ Groats’, he was the forerunner to the likes of John Towers, Colin Dixon, Brian Jennison, Andrew Thacker, James Rogers, Jonathon Whitehead, Keith Scurr and others. It is many years since the Club staged its first 24 Hour Track Race at Costello, in recent years the 24 hours has grown to be a major event in British and European ultra running.
The Club Title was extended to include ‘and Athletic Club’ during the sixties, at this period the Club turned down the opportunity to move onto the side of the Alderman Kneeshaw Running Track which was being developed.
In 1968 a Dinner was staged to celebrate the 75th Anniversary, the event at Goodfellowship, Cottingham Road was a very formal occasion was presided over by Major Stone who gave one of the best ‘after dinner’ speeches, starting with the ‘Thin Red Line’ and gripping the members attention throughout with great skill.
The seventies saw the completion of a permanent building, drawn up by Alan Hugman and built by Bill Edwards a former Club Champion. The new HQ was opened by Dave Slater an International Cross Country Runner from Skyrac AC West Yorkshire. in 1977, the new building also catered for lady athletes a new innovation which followed the trend.
Financial help in the way of sponsorship from the Hull City Council, the new Humberside County Council the Sports Council, and an Interest free loan from the National Playing Fields Association, and Phil Grayson, Pete Collinson and Grahame Brummitt who willingly served as guarantors, who made a dream come true for the then Club Secretary Pete Dearing. It was Pete’s enthusiasm backed by a hardworking Committee, prepared to burn the ‘Midnight Oil’ that produced the goods. Peter Elletson gained his Junior International Vest for Cross Country representing England at Glasgow where his country gained gold Medals, Pete finished in front of Said Aouita (Morocco) that day.
By 1980 the premises had to be extended to keep pace with the new demand imposed on by the influx of the ‘fair sex’ it was extended further to house the ladies and provide weight training facilities, again it was made possible through sponsorship and the Club Fund Raising activities and a very active committee.
The Club has always recognized the draw of the Humber Bridge as a focal point in the area, and staged the first athletic event over the Bridge with an Open 10 mile race. In more recent times the Club was one of the few North Bank Establishments who were prepared to keep the Humber Bridge Marathon race going. When the County Council found they could no long finance the race, the Club were proud to stand firm with members of Cleethorpes at the various meetings.
Dave Ottaway captured the Northern Counties 800 metres early in the eighties, and the 1500m title in the 90s,
During which time the club enjoyed its best years in track and field athletics.
The nineties produced two ‘Firsts’ for the Ladies when Julie Kemp (later Julie Harvey) was elected Vice President and her sister Linda Thacker became the first Lady secretary, following on from their Father Ron Kemp an outstanding President during the eighties, and a double cross country champion 1954/55 and 1971/72 seasons.
There have been many famous people pass through the Club on their way to stardom in other activities Roy Sandstrom (Olympic Sprinter), Patrick Howdle (Olympic Biathlon), Stuart Travis (International Judo), Zook Ema Chris Young (Both later played for HKR) the late Mike Noble who was an MP, and the late Ernie Price who played music in famous Bands, to name but a few.
The Club has never been slow at coming forward in staging events, having hosted the Northern & Yorkshire Cross Country Championships on the Beverley Westwood.
Only a casting Vote at a Committee Meeting prevented an application being made to stage the National at Beverley.
However, its on the road where the most promotions have been staged, the Open 20 Mile, The Major G. H. Stone Half Marathon and Summer League are all well established races, and coupled with two Fun Runs a year the Club caters for all standards.
The Club is proud to have reached 100 years from a single source, when others have fallen by the wayside, and presentation nights are always well attended with old and new members alike.
President 1973 to 1981 and 1991 to 1993.
28th October 1993