The appeal launched by St Mary’s University, Twickenham earlier this month to the local, alumni and athletics communities for photographs of its old running track, which was replaced with a floodlit synthetic track in 2004/05 has produced an excellent response.
All of the photographs received by St Mary’s are being added to the University archive.
Andrew Reid-Smith Head of Department for Sport St. Marys said “On behalf of Sport St Mary’s I’d like to thank everyone who sent us their photographs. All of them have enhanced our archive and we’re very grateful for the support.
“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. Professor 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”.