Welwyn Athletic Club

Athletics in Welwyn Garden City

By WGCHT/James Parrett

Name: Chris B

Subject: Welwyn Athletic Club

Duration: 6:43

Interview Date: c2016

Chris B talks first about being on a committee running sports days in the late 1940s, till 1953 when they decided to form Welwyn Athletic Club. Then he explains how in 1958 they spoke to the council about opening a running track, which lead to the start of Gosling Stadium in Welwyn Garden City. Chris mentions Ann Jenner and John Wenk, both of whom trained in Gosling Stadium and went on to run in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Finally he describes how Welwyn Athletic Club merged with another local club to form the the Verlea Athletics Club, which merged with another Hertfordshire Athletics club in 2002 to form the Herts Phoenix Athletics Club.

This page was added on 10/11/2016.

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  • I remember running for Welwyn Athletics Club from 1967 as it merged with the City of St Albans Club to become Verlea AC. I was 17. Colours were a blue top with a white diagonal stripe. There were a group of teenage runners and we had a first rate youth cross country team trained by a really enthusiastic guy called, Graham Brown. Made good use not only of the stadium but of some of the painfully long hills in WGC – is it Digswell Road, and in the nearby woods. Competed in a league against clubs across the northern Home Counties. Moved on in 1969 to go to college and had dilemma of maintaining my running (as a senior) and studying and having a social / romantic life. Running lost out. Was truly fortunate to have benefited from the wonderful Gosling Stadium facilities. One of the last events was taking part in the Welwyn Half Marathon in 1969, which ended with a lap of the track. I remember the relief of that final 400m in that really beautifully set stadium and it’s track.

    By Martin Robeson (20/08/2023)
  • Peter MacKenzie Dyer is my dad. He’s 93, still very much alive and lives in Shropshire. He’s swapped his running shoes for a high-tech step-counting watch. So far this year he’s up to a million and a half! There’s life in the old dog yet.

    By Julian Dyer (30/07/2022)
  • I’m a Highgate Harriers and in he early 60’s assisted the Welwyn runner Peter Mackenzie -dyer in the London to Brighton road race. Very exciting at the time I think he finished 4th and also 6th a year later. Does any member remember him I wonder.

    By Richard Cox (05/04/2021)
  • I ran with John Wenk and Michael Staines (Wilbur). There appears to be photos of both of them on this page but I am unable to call them up.
    Roy Taylor

    By Roy Taylor (25/02/2021)
  • John Wenk119.jpg
    This is a photo of John training at Gosling stadium, before it was fully developed.

    By Derek McFarlane (12/08/2020)
  • I belonged to Welwyn Athletic Club from about 1961 to 1963. I was a slightly underpowered discus thrower and Sid Coleman was my trainer. It was a very happy place. I would ride there every Sunday morning from where I lived near Hoddesdon and Ware. A school friend called Rob Surendra introduced me. He was an excellent sprinter with a very powerful build and we trained together a lot. We each managed to get to the Schools National Athletic Championships at Chelmsford in ’62 or ’63 (I can’t quite recall). We would see Janet Simpson training. John Greasley would turn up and Sid used to lambast him because he could throw without a run up as far as he could with one. Sometimes Ken Day, another great javelin thrower, would come along, and then you could watch the best two javelin throwers in the UK in action. Sid taught me to throw the hammer, which is a singularly beautiful event to compete in. For me it ended when I went to university, to find that the other discus thrower there had just come 2nd in the Asian Games, Dinshaw Irani was his name. I lent him my precious Adidas track shoes and after a few throws he split the uppers from the soles. I remember the clubhouse, it had a good set of Olympic weights. A cyclist called Chris Church used to train there. He rapidly became very good with the weights. They were super times and I treasure them.

    By Jon Duke (31/07/2020)
  • img115.jpg
    Mike (Wilber) Stains training at the stadium-1960’s

    By Derek McFarlane (05/08/2019)
  • It’s nice to hear from Harry Wilson’s relation, It was always fun to “train” under ‘. “Wil’s”- Good Happy times.

    By Derek McFarlane (16/07/2019)
  • The last time that I meet John Wenk was in Toronto Canada, in the late 60’s & I still have a photo of him training. (somewhere in my loft!!)

    By Derek McFarlane (03/04/2019)
  • It was nice to hear Chris mention my uncle Harry Wilson, who was dedicated to athletics throughout his life.

    By Richard Wilson (28/02/2018)