Major events such as the English National Cross Country Championships
are an ideal meeting point for old competitive rivals, and also for grand reunions,
so the recent event held at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park proved to be no exception.
It not only marked the meeting up of two stalwarts of the sport,
it also reunited two of Britain’s Marathon Champions,
who also both deservedly hold a Presidential office,
by virtue of their respective achievements.
The Presentation area at the Championships was indeed honoured by presence
of former Olympic Marathon Silver Medallist Basil Heatley,
also one time British Marathon record holder,
and Morpeth legend, and former Commonwealth Games
Marathon Champion Jim Alder, who currently is
President of his hometown club.
Heatley, who finished second to the great Abebe Bikila in Tokyo in 1964,
is currently serving his term as President of the English Cross Country Association,
and was on hand to make the days presentations, which included
Morpeth Harriers Silver medal winning Senior Men’s squad.
Whilst Alder was very pleased to witness his clubs on the day success,
he was also elated to meet up with a great rival from his own era,
a holder of similar achievements, and someone for whom he has great mutual respect.
Heatley has another connection with Morpeth Harriers,
in that his beloved daughter Sarah competed briefly for the club
when she lived in the North East at the beginning of the current century.
Basil Heatley’s entire club career was spent with Coventry Godiva,
who were also blessed to have Alder’s other Marathon rival Bill Adcocks
and legendary International 5,000metre Champion Dave Moorcroft in their ranks.
Jim and Basil are both pictured above exchanging their greetings
at the Presentation area in Nottingham on Saturday 25th February.