St Mary’s University, Twickenham has launched an appeal to the local community for photographs of its old running track, which was replaced with a floodlit synthetic track in 2004/05.
Andrew Reid-Smith Head of Sport at St Marys said, “The old track was laid in the 1960s, it was made of melted tyres and tarmac and was the first artificial track in the country. Prof Dick Fisher was the driving force behind the development of the modern track, which was put in place in partnership with the London Marathon and Sport England.”
“The old track was used by several world class athletes who studied at St Mary’s including Dave Bedford, Gordon Pirie, John Bicourt and a visiting Emil Zatopek. George Gandy who went on to be the UK National Endurance Coach, would also have been here during this period whilst he trained to be a PE teacher.”
“The new track has supported a large number of nations preparing for Olympic and World Championships and has been trained on by numerous world stars of athletics including Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Vivian Cheruiyot, Sonia O’Sullivan, Jo Pavey and Nick Willis. In addition, the St Mary’s Endurance Performance Centre has helped develop numerous Team GB internationals, all of them students, including Andrew Osagie, Steph Twell, Andy Vernon, Charlotte Purdue, Charlie Da’Vall Grice, Adelle Tracey, Elliot Giles and others. Alongside this, thousands of school children use the track to access weekly athletics coaching from our highly-qualified students through our SIMMSport programme, as members of St Mary’s Richmond AC and for school sport days and the annual Borough sport day”.
“It’s an iconic venue but after recently searching for photographs of the old track we realised that we had little record of it.”
“We’d like to appeal to anyone, who has lived close to the University, trained, visited or watched their children take part in athletics on the running track before 2004/05 to come forward and if they have any photographs that they could share with us for our own use then we’d be very grateful.”
Any photographs can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.