My running journey began in 1996, when aged thirty-four I decided to go for a short run. Little did I know that, like Phileas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days, my journey would take me the equivalent of round the world in miles. Exactly where the final mile of the 24,901 miles I covered I can’t be sure, but it was somewhere in or near Stoke-on-Trent.
Authors and Performers Glenn Martin James and Angela Marie James work regularly in schools with children, staging workshops on every subject from Vikings to the Spitfire. In Summer 2016 they embarked on a Tour of North Staffs with their Creative Kids Workshops, and devoted some special sessions to Sports and the Olympics, to tie in to the fact that Stoke-on-Trent was 2016’s City of Sport.
Running has never come naturally to me, despite my will to try. My attempts started as a kid during Primary School, where I had a go at joining the after school cross country club. I turned up, nervous, in my little black pumps, shiny blue shorts and White t shirt. I felt ready. Cross country was slower than sprinting, so surely I'd be ok at this. How wrong could I be?! It seemed all the sporty people were also good at this and I immediately fell to the back of the group. I was embarrassed and made to feel upset and rubbish at all the other kids jibes at the 'fat kid having a go'. I never went back!
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.
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.
My name is Joey and I am 37 years old. I moved to Staffordshire in 2000 prior to attending university to study for a business degree. My passion for sport has been limited until somebody encouraged me to join the North Staffs Special Olympics. I have been an athlete with the Special Olympics for 2 years and I take part in athletics and badminton.
As Stoke on Trent celebrates European City of Sport, Jonathan Pace – Head of Sports Development & Active Lifestyles at Staffordshire University, tells us what sport means to him...
Having been asked to write a piece for The Sentinel, I immediately phoned my dad.
I tend to share all of my good news stories with him. I also tend to use it as a way of showing off. My dad is, you see, a massive local sports supporter, and has been all his life.
Mowenna Hastings is a wheelchair basketball player, introduced to the game by her mother Tink, who helps coach the Stoke Spitfires team. Mo is an outstanding and passionate player who has just broken into the top level, representing Great Britain in an international competition earlier this year (2016).
Changing our attitude to helping people change will change lives. It will create lives. It will change attitudes.
It will create a city to be prouder of. It will create a city to aspire to.
Do it now. Plan, inspire, develop, play, cheer, encourage, motivate.
My three words to describe our home; Concentrated undiscovered potential.
The game always starts with a sharp whistle blast
from the ref - the boss – all-powerful, all-knowing.
An accurate boot propels the ball high
One team waits tensely, the other gets going
Sporting Stories writes: Ken Rushton is a much-respected and honoured member of the sports community in North Staffordshire and beyond. Ken continues to contribute a huge amount to the local running scene, not least as the race director of the iconic Potters ‘Arf half marathon, held on the second Sunday in June each year.
I'm 80 years old now and fit as a fiddle! How have I maintained my level of health and fitness? Well, it's a long story...a lifetime of perseverance really.
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.
I moved to Stoke on Trent in 2009 (I married a local) and found that life in my new home was enjoyable but not really conducive to my health and wellbeing. I was much more sedentary than I'd been whilst living in London, doing very little exercise and gaining weight. I couldn't even run for a bus and the 10 minute walk from my house to the shops became an ever growing challenge. By November 2010 I knew it was time for a change... Working on the mantra of eat less, exercise more, I changed my diet, switched to a smaller dinner plate and started using the exercise bike that had been gathering dust in my garage.
I really didn’t like sport at school, I was terrible at football, shocking at athletics and disinterested in just about every other sport. My sports journey started through Scouts; there I was introduced to a wide range of (to me) more exciting sports like grass skiing (which I hated), orienteering, climbing, hiking and an assortment of water sports. At the time only hiking really ‘stuck’ and for most of my youth you would find me trudging across Dartmoor with a big pack preparing for one long distance walking event or another.
Jean Gough is the daughter of Sir Stanley Matthews, and patron of the Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation. She has very generously shared this article (previously published on the Foundation’s web site) and some photos from the family’s photo albums as a very personal insight into Sir Stanley, the family man.
Male and female
Young and old
Small and large
They all run
It just had to be 72
Unlike most football fans, I can’t really remember my first Stoke game. My first clear memories of watching us were against Middlesbrough at Vale Park and then having a season ticket in 1977 in the Butler Street Stand. Relegation, inevitably, soon followed.
The third Saturday in January saw me do my very first parkrun. parkrun (no capitalisation apparently) is a brilliant concept: simple, inclusive and global in its reach. Its simplicity is its great strength – you register online on the parkrun site to get a unique barcode, turn up at 9.00 am on a Saturday at a location which has a parkrun (nearly 800 worldwide – Hanley is currently the only one in Stoke-on-Trent) and run a timed 5k.