Race Report 01/12/20

Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers is an inclusive club, with fast or slow, young or old, all made welcome and encouraged. The oldest member, Ian Codling, got even older this week, becoming an octogenarian! His philosophy is, one foot in front of the other, keep going until the end, for as long as you are able until you are forced to give up for health reasons – or lack of motivation! Ian is never short of that. He actually only took up running 20 years ago, following a sporting lifetime of playing, and then managing, football with Thirsk Falcons. He was forced to give up when it became necessary for him to have a hip replacement. He began, as many boys do, kicking a ball about in the school playground, and when he got to senior school, he eventually got into the school team as well as playing for Falcons. At least weekly football continued throughout university, and he turned out for more than one faculty team! When he came back to the area to teach, he was a regular with Falcons and one memorable occasion was a match against the Northern TV All Stars, a team of stars who obviously loved football, and would appear at charity events. They were raising funds for the Thirsk Swimming Baths, which people may not remember was built originally from public fund raising under the enthusiastic guidance of the late Harry Woodhead among others. Another memorable occasion was when Falcons beat Harrogate Town – and look where they are now – in the Harrogate League, and they even won their division an odd time.

Ian took up running during that stage to keep fit during the closed season, and did the Northallerton to Thirsk 10 mile race on a couple of occasions – in one of them, Brendan Foster was an entrant – with a couple of colleagues from school. Little did he know then what a big part of his life running would become, and he is always a regular attender at Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers club sessions. He, with his wife, Marian, would aim to do a race every weekend if possible, and would always look for a race when they went on holiday. They’ve run from the Sidmouth 10k in Devon to the Dyce Half Marathon near Aberdeen, and many points in between. The Oxford Town and Gown 10k, and the Durham one, as well as the Donkey Brae 10k at Aberdour, 10ks at Morecambe and Blackpool in the west, and the tough East Hull 20 in the east in preparation for his first London Marathon in 2004, are among some of them. He’s actually done the London Marathon twice, as well as the Great North Run 5 times, in the days when you automatically got a place for next year if you ran one year. No massive ballots in those days! He was a regular at the Brass Monkey Half Marathon at York, and has done the Thirsk 10 several times, as well as being on the organising committee for a year or two. The Great Langdale Christmas Pudding 10k became a favourite, as did another Cumbrian race, the Ravenstonedale 10k, a quirky, friendly, village race. One very wet year, the roads were flooded in places, and slower runners were almost hypothermic by the finish! A bowl of warming soup after the race was very welcome.

After he did his first park run, this too became a fairly regular slot on the calendar and he clocked up 100 last year, frustrated now that they, along with all other races, are suspended for the time being at least. Fountains Abbey was the favourite, but he has also done park runs in Scotland – Aberdeen and Stonehaven – as well as 2 or 3 in Australia.

Rob Burn’s virtual races this year continue the race theme, covering the Club Championship, and Ian has done most of those, tabulating the results for the club each time. You can be sure that once this pandemic is over, Ian will be back out racing again – heading in particular to New Marske Harriers flat road races in the Redcar area, as well as Fountains Abbey!

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