The time is set – the place appointed
Look up – a sea of faces gazing down
The applause and cheers reverberate around
To create that cacophony of sound
That patters like the rain – upon the pane
A fire is spreading its way around the British Isles. It has captured the imagination of the people everywhere and it is spreading a kind of fever, both before it and in its wake. Where ever it goes, alongside the athletics enthusiasts, people who have previously had little or no interest in sport are turning out into the streets in their thousands, to welcome it, and cheer it on its way.
When I was at grammar school in the 1960s, I loved all sport. I was strong, with lots of energy, and as they say, it was a 'no-brainer' that I would be involved in every sport going. In an all girls school, it was so easy to take every opportunity offered. We hardly had any male teachers and certainly not for PE. It's funny but I don't remember any of the PE teachers but I do remember loving being part of a team.
Sporting Stories writes: Don Shelley's running career in North Staffordshire is worthy of a book in itself, starting as it did in 1954 when he won an inter-schools cross-country race and ending in 2010 when he finally retired from active sports administration. In between Don ran for the RAF, was secretary for the Michelin Sports & Social Club, founded the British Marathon Runners Club and the North Staffs Road Runners Association. In 1980 he became the first National Marathon Coach.
You stand once again at the starting line
Waiting for the games to commence
You’ve been here many times before
Yet you must race again and again
Sporting Stories writes: Tom Brennan is a former Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent and was instrumental in developing sports facilities in the city. He also founded the city’s Sports Personality of the Year awards. At 82 he’s still active in championing sport in the city. We’re grateful to Anthony Bunn for capturing in this piece some of what makes Tom such a powerful advocate for Stoke-on-Trent.
Emma Jackson is one of Stoke on Trent’s outstanding athletes, who has represented England at 800m in every age group. She was the fastest junior in the world in 2007 and in that year also won a silver medal at the European Junior Championships. In 2011 she reached the semi-finals of the World Championships and after a spell out with injury has recently represented England again at an international meet.